The island of fire. That's what the Spaniards used to call Siquijor (pronounced as "see-kee-hor") because it gave off an eerie glow from the swarms of fireflies on the island.
It can also be attributed to its reputation as the "mystic island", with stories of sorcery and witchcraft masking the island for decades. But while there are a handful that shy away from the island because of this, I've always been curious about Siquijor. It's one of the places in the Visayan region that I never had the chance to explore yet.
And contrary to all the spooky stories I've heard, the Siquijor I experienced was tranquil and picturesque. It actually gave me the perfect jumpstart for the summer.
How to get there
There are no direct flights from Manila to Siqujor. So you have to book a flight from Manila to either Dumaguete, Cebu, or Bohol. In our case, we took the Dumaguete route. Then from Dumaguete, we took a 45-minute ferry ride to the island.
|Stopover at Dumaguete City. (Photo by Branden Milla)|
|For a list of all the ferry schedules from Dumaguete to Siquijor, CLICK HERE.|You can arrange for a pick-up at the port with your hotel. If not, there's a tricycle terminal within the perimeters.
We were able to explore the town of San Juan located at the southwestern side of the island. The beautiful thing about Siquijor is it caters both to beach bums and nature lovers.
Now who wouldn't be awed by that sight? The off-white sand gives the shoreline a bright glow accentuating the blue waters.
The beach, though, is more perfect for snorkeling rather than swimming. Aside from the tide being too low for swimming, the area's marine sanctuary is just a few feet away from the shore.
Even during the morning, when the tide is at its lowest, this side of the island can be pretty enchanting.
Located in the nearby town of Lazi, Cambugahay is the most popular waterfalls in the island. It doesn't have a spectacular drop but its waters are so clean and fresh, you'd want to jump in right away.
It has a cascading multi-tiered waterfalls creating many beautiful swimming lagoons. And when we got there, we saw these kids jumping off the falls doing crazy stunts.
My friends and I did some stunts of our own but our poses don't look half as cool as these so I'd rather not post photos :p
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI CHURCH
They began building the church in the late 1700's and finished it in the early 1800's which was the latter part of the Spanish colonization in the Philippines. Stepping inside the church is like traveling back to the time of the friars. You could almost envision Donya Victorina or Maria Clara sitting on one of the pews.
*Donya Victorina and Maria Clara are characters from novel of Jose Rizal, the Philippine's national hero, entitled Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) which was "written to expose the inequities of the Spanish Catholic priesnts and the ruling government" during teh Spanish period.
There was even a sign by the altar which said, "Those who did not wed here cannot receive communion." (Not verbatim)
You can actually tour the whole island within two hours. So when we weren't lounging about by the beach or jumping off waterfalls, we were just strolling around, checking out the sights.
|(Photo by Branden Milla.)|
Where to stay
I highly recommend the Coco Grove Beach Resort. It's not the kind of budget hotel that I usually stay at but the rates are reasonable enough for the wonderful amenities and nice villas. (Blog post about it coming soon!)
|Breakfast at the Coco Grove Beach Resort.|
So if you haven't decided on a summer destination yet, I highly suggest Siquijor. You just might fall in love with the island like I did :)