If anything should be added in your island destination this summer then it should be Siquijor Island. Right at the heart of Central Visayas lies this tropical heaven, with settled crystal water, uninterrupted scenery and a calm atmosphere, perfect for everyone’s summer getaway.
Dumaguete to Siquijor
We took a 10Am trip via Montenegro Shipping lines and arrived safely at Siquijor port. There are a lot of shipping lines to choose from and you can get the earliest trip which starts at 5:35Am and the last trip at 5Pm please be mindful of your return dates and time since the schedule of trips vice versa varies.
Regular fare would cost you about 100php to 175php (one way) depending on which liners you opt to take, with a short one travel you wouldn’t notice the time when you get there.
Here’s a quick link of schedule of trips going to siquijor: http://www.siquijordirectory.com/ferryshipping.html
Mystical Island of Siqiujor
Siquijor Island was once colonized by Spain and called the Island “Isla de Fuego” (“Island of Fire”) due to the glow of fireflies that would gather nightly. As some would say that the Island is also well known for its supernatural healing and sorcery, potions and other bewitching crafts; we were up to discover more hidden secrets of this Island.
The Island can be toured by day, though we opted to stay for the night since we needed to catch another ferry going to Bohol after our stay in Siquijor. Upon our arrival there were already tricycle drivers who offered to tour us around the island and take us to our resort.
We negotiated with our driver and agreed to terms of 1,500php (4 pax ) with Kuya Romeo, prices may differ depending on the arrangement.
He drove us all around the island for a day and picked us up the next day on our way back to the port. It’s always best to ask drivers for direction, tourist spots and places to eat and other things you may need to visit, such as ATM, sari-sari stores, they know everything, locals in the area are very helpful and you can just easily find your way around the Island as the community is not that threatening.
If you’re doing a solo trip you can opt to rent a Motorbike and also you can take a Jeepney ride for 15php but that would limit you from going from one place to another.
Places to visit in Siquijor
1st sight not to miss upon touchdown on the Island is the St Francis of Assisi church, that view exactly welcomed us in Siquijor, sources would say that churches in the Island are one of the country’s oldest and largest spiritual structures.
Then there’s the St. Isidore Farmer church in the northern part of the island in the town of Lazi. The church is surrounded with acacia trees which made it more appealing to those who are visiting, with a closer look you will notice that the church is made of coral stones and hard wood, the floors were made of wooden tiles.
Places like this have a lot of stories to tell about our history and it’s pretty neat how they were able to preserve it all through this years, brings a nostalgic feeling as you enter the sanctuary.
Enchanted Balete Tree and Fish Spa
The Balete tree will give you the chills like in a scene in a horror movie, it was eerie to take some photos, but we did so anyway. It’s creepy at 1st glance but once you get to observe the whole figure of the trunks and vines that surrounds it, it’s still creepy haha
For maintaining the cleanliness and enchantment of the place we were asked to pay 5php as an environmental fee, in return you can then get your feet into the pool full of fishes. Other fish spa in the city are expensive so if you happen to passed by this place do take your feet to some short session with the fishes.
There’s a nearby store that sells amulets, charms, love potions and other concoctions and pasalubongs; though I was more interested to look for a faith healer.
(Disclaimer: not that we would try to use the love potion, but just for the sake of buying, our way of showing support to the local community )
One of the main tourist attractions is the Cambugahay falls, just about a few minutes’ walk from the main road and you will be greeted by the inviting blue waters. Don’t miss to take a plunge once you get there and do the tarzan swing.
You really have to have that good grip on the rope and also are ready to let go with perfect timing. Not to brag but it was pretty easy, yet exciting for first timers like me.
They also have the 2nd and 3rd falls just a few steps on the upper part where you can also do some cliff dive; it’s not as deep as the 1st falls though, and the water is clean, clear, cold and fresh.
Just ask the guide as to where the best diving spot is since there are shallow areas as well, just to stay cautious. We gave our tour guide a tip since he went to the trouble in showing the way and also making sure our other stuff is secured and right where it was when we left it.
We were advised that the way was steep going to the 3rd falls, so we dared not to proceed since we were also a bit tired from taking numerous dives from the 1st and 2nd falls.
We were having so much fun that we didn’t noticed the time, so we decided to cap our day by catching the sunset at the beach.
Touring around the island takes about 25 to 35mins trip to get from one spot to another, the island itself is peaceful, no signs of busyness in a fully paved street. Along the way you can see numerous resorts located at the beach front and small community residing near the beach as well.
We were just in time to catch the sunset at Salgdoong Beach Resort, we also decided to stay in for the night, room rates range from 900 to 2,00php. For those who are just planning to drop by for a day trip they have cottages that cost about 150php to 300hp. The resort has it’s own restaurant, sine we were all tired from the tour, we decided to order some food in the resto and just enjoy the view along the beach.
At the end of the day we were just all tired and wanted to sit in silence as the waves speaks to us, there’s this therapeutic power that the beach can do to you, takes away all the negativity and brings in so much lightness in your own soul.
Electricity runs out by 6pm till 9pm, we took advantage of that time to just be at the beach under the reggae full moon.
Now you might ask why did we chose to stay at Salagdoong Beach resort, asides from its crystal clear water open beach and remarkable view, the resort is well known for its cliff diving spots.
Rowdy youngsters would go to this resort and throw their fears away and shout “geronimo” as they jump off the cliff.
There are 2 diving platforms, one is about 10 meters high and the other is 20 meters or so depending on the tide of the water.
For those with a light heart this sport might not be good for you, but If I may ask, when was the last time you did something for the 1st time?
With so much peer pressure we all took a dive that day from the 20meters platform, i could imagine my whole life flashing back as i jumped. Some of us took awhile to make our dive, it was a ” I want to get out of myself” feeling, yet at the end of the day we wanted to leave the island with a “&%$@)*%$!#^^&^!!! I’m glad I did that ” feeling.
But that was definitely one for the books, we crossed out one from our bucket list that day, and will be jumping more cliffs this summer of 2016.
Places to stay in the Island
Most resorts are situated at the beach front as some travelers would really prefer a nice view over a comfortable bed or so. For more options on where to stay when in the island, click on this link:
Additional Travel Tips:
- On our trip to Cambugahay falls we left our bags and other stuff in the tricycle, people our honest and can be trusted there so throw your worries away, also we didn’t lose anything during the whole trip.
- There are small sari-sari stores and karenderia just along the main road and near the port as well, again, asked your local driver about it, they know more than we think
- Electricity is turned off by 6pm to 9pm on the Island.
- You can bring your own food and drinks when checking in in any Resort
- At around 4 or 5pm the road seems to look empty and quiet as the locals retire early
- Book your reservations in advance since its peak season during summer time
Wherever your feet may lead you this summer, don’t expect everyone to understand every choices that you make. You see, I realized that life is an adventure, and those who are hungry to learn and be better and be brave – I urge you to travel, near or far, meet and learn from people from all walks of life, wherever you go, never ever stop learning new things. – Coach Ella
Location: Siquijor Island, Philippines
Travel Date: October 2015
Photo contribution from my travel buddy EJ Ricopuerto