I just got home from an adventure trip in the Island of Siquijor, the third smallest province in the Philippines. With this trip, I have officially visited all the provinces of Central Visayas or Region 7. Yey! Hurray!
I was with my siblings Kenneth and Nicko, and boyfriend Titus aka Field Trip Boy. You can head over to his blog for a man’s point of view on our trip. I am sure he has something to say especially about riding fast craft for island travels. LOL.
Conquering Siquijor – Adventurers and Trippers
Preparation for our trip was haphazard at best. Did not book any resort in Siquijor but yes I did call ahead and inquired from some resorts and hotels in the mystical island. The only top tourist spots I know beforehand were the Bulo-Bulo Folk Healing, the Lazi Convent and the Cambuhagay Falls. I only ‘discovered’ the rest of the popular tourist destinations when we got there. I also did not do intensive research as I usually do when long vacation breaks are coming up. But I am happy to note that this Siquijor adventure trip turned out well, no, scratch that, it turned out to be a kick-ass vacation adventure despite the bara bara preparation and the fact that we got stranded in Negros Oriental on the way home. Thanks to Typhoon Ofel, I have another post coming up about the art of handling being stranded haha. 😆
Anyhow, I guess I made the best decision when I bought an Olympus Tough T-320 underwater camera a day before the trip. It was good move considering that my dear old Spunky is a goner. He can’t focus on sceneries and people shots but is very good capturing food and macro shots. But can’t blame him, Spunky has been used and abused especially when I become Cebu-based. I blame my siblings and the multitude of shots of our dog Kulas. So a new camera was long in order. Hopefully soon, I will have enough extra funds to buy a DSLR. I want that so I can take more beautiful vacation pics to share with you all heheh. Heyyy, I am accepting donation in case you are kind hearted hahahha. Anyhow, I am again getting off tangent with the story, soweee.
Note: It’s always better to call the reservation desk to inquire or to book your Siquijor accommodation. Per my experience, most Siquijor hotels and resorts don’t reply to your email queries except for a handful like Club Marmarine, JJ Backpacker’s Village, Hambilica SeaView. Kudos to these resorts!
We ended up staying in Salagdo-ong Beach Resort. You can also find Hotel Agripino in the Salagdoong complex. They by the way don’t reply to emails nor to text, you really have to call them. It’s a government owned and manage resort facility so probably they don’t have text load allowance. Although it’s a curious thing why they don’t reply back to emails when in fact there is wifi connectivity in the hotel lobby where the reservation desk was located. Oh well.
So where is Siquijor Island located on the Philippine Map?
Zero in your eyes on the Visayas Group of Islands in the middle of the Philippine Archipelago. The tiny island colored blue, that’s the island province of Siquijor. It’s a neighbor of Cebu. =)
Crystal clear water and finest white sand at Salagdoong Beach Resort
What amazed me about Siquijor is its long stretch of white sand beaches especially in Maria where Salagdoong was located and of course in the pier area. Fine white sand will great you as you disembark from your fast ferry or the big boats. And as you do your tour, you can’t help but humanga sa ganda ng place. Almost everywhere, the coastal towns boast of powdery white sand, amazing!
This welcomes you to the Island of Fire!
Many Filipinos especially those from the Visayan islands and Mindanao provinces have this ‘fear’ or ‘apprehension’ of traveling to Siquijor because of its reputation as the center of voodoo, folk healings, mandadaot, mananambal, shamans, albularyo in the country. But when we were there, I did not feel afraid nor suspicious of our surrounding. The island is mysterious yes but wonderful, beautiful.
Witness the bulo -bulo healer with a patient
But we did notice that most towns in the islands that we’ve passed seem deserted. Exceptions of course are the major commercial centers like Siquijor City, the province capital and in Larena, the commercial hub as well as Enrique Villanueva. It led my brother to remark during our countryside coastal tour “Where are all the people in Siquijor?” We city folks are so used to human congestion that it seem odd to us not to find thousands of people converging everywhere Hehe.
Fresh water meets sea water at Guiwanon Spring Park
What disappointed me about this trip is that I did not see fireflies. I was soooo looking forward to seeing the beautiful flying insects blanketing the trees in the forests and illuminating the night with their twinkling lights. 🙁 I thought we can find fireflies everywhere in the island, considering that Siquijor is dubbed as “Isla del Fuego” or the “Island of Fire”. It was the Spanish conquistadors who gave this nicknamed and tag because when they first beheld this Visayan island, they were mystified with the presence and multitude of fireflies covering Siquijor.
Maybe we were on the wrong side of the island where there is little to no fireflies? Maybe firefly colonies are dwindling because of progress and development? I hope not. I hope they are there somewhere just waiting for the perfect opportunity to reveal themselves. Maybe I was not supposed to see them during this trip, so someday I will come back. Yah, maybe somewhere down the road, I’ll be back to witness and see the elusive fireflies of Siquijor…
I love the Enchanted Balete Tree with its Cold Spring and Little Fishes
This is by the way just an overview of our trip. To read more of our experience visiting the Island of Magic, Healing, and Fire, please CLICK ON any of the links at the end of this blog post for more story telling whathaveyous. 🙂
Come Visit Siquior Island!
These are the Top 10 Popular Sites and Tourists Activities in Siquijor based on what we experienced. Nope not one of these are hidden or secret, it’s part of package you can avail when you contract their tourist tricycles waiting at the port. Government regulated these tours with tariffs and rules, and your driver / tourist guide will offer you a choice between Coastal Towns Tour and a Mountain Tour which includes the famous caves like Cantabon Cave. You can go for both tours if you have enough time and money, which we didn’t have hehe so we’ve chosen to explore the coastal towns and attractions. =)
Other option would be to contact a travel agency specializing in Siquijor Tours but that might be more expensive compared to doing a DIY Siquijor tour.
If you want to really go cheap, go for backpacking to save on funds. Don’t forget to bring your backpacking essentials like tent, flashlight, provisions, hammock etc. As for us, we can’t go for hardcore backpacking / camping; I have my ‘delicate’ siblings with me hehe.
Blue waters at Cambuhagay Falls
Popular Tourists Destinations in Siquijor
- Visiting Centuries Old Churches from the San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent in Lazi, St Francis of Assissi Church in Siquijor Siquijor, Our Lady of Divine Providence in Maria, St Vincent De Ferrer Bell Tower in Larena and more.
- Nanay Conching Bulo-Bulo healing and ritual.
- Lazi Church and Convent
- Cambuhagay Falls
- Salagdoong Beach – Part 1 Room and Facilities REVIEW // Part 2 PICTURES on Salagdoong!!!
- Capilay Spring Park
- Enchanted Balete Tree
- Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
- Guiwanon Spring Park
- Cang-Isok Old House
*Please click the tourist spot above to go to the main post about it.
Trip Itinerary for Siquijor.: these are the tourist spots we visited
The map highlights the tourist spots we’ve visited during the countryside tour, the towns of the province is encircled.
Related posts to our October 2012 vacation:
Will still be writing these post, just noting the list here to remind me of the topics to write about for this major 2012 trip haha. Please bear with me. Those in ‘blue’ means the post is up and you can click it!
Traveling to Siquijor – Bus rides and Fast Crafts Schedules
Oslob Stopover – Leg One to Siquijor Trip
Traipsing through Dumaguete
Rediscovering Valencia: Back to Our (Maternal) Roots
So there, this long blog post is just an overview. =)
Hope you’ll be inspired to go and explore Siquijor! If you have been to this island, please leave your tips and thoughts on the comment section below. Share your Siquijor experience and adventure with us by clicking what you think from the blue buttons below. Like It? Share It!
Lakbay Diva says
will do the top 10 destinations!
Cille Anne says
dwin you should! now na! go to Siquijor and have a bike tour and visit all the best spots! \o/
p.s. on another note, list of top attractions wins! \o/
Your post made me decide to visit Siquijor. It actually the 2nd time if madayon. I was there on official business before so no exciting
Cille Anne says
Yey! That’s one vote for Siquijor!!!
And I agree ‘official business’ will prevent you from truly enjoying the sights and sound of a place =) Hope you’ll discover more reasons to love Siquijor when you go back there for leisure =)
Sheila Wailan Faycan says
Me and my travel buddies arrange a trip every year and we haven’t been to any places in the Visayas Region yet (as a group). We are looking at Guimaras but Siquijor seems more like an interesting place to go – despite of course of the hear says about you know (aswang, etc.). Is it a recommended place to go with kids? Kinda scared here. LOL! Just checking out places instead of ending up in Boracay.
Cille Anne says
Hi Sheila, I really, really recommend Siquijor for families, friends who are after adventure and loves unbeaten path.
Kids will love it too especially the beaches (heavenly!) but one thing that you have to consider is that there is no Jollibee and other fastfood joints in this province, if the kids are picky Siquijor might not be perfect for the group.
Also there is no direct flight so your group will have to pass by Dumaguete, it’s going to be a 2 in 1 trip (means more awesome places!) but more expense.
I have been to Guimaras too, If I have to go on a repeat trip – I’ll go for Siquijor. But in your case the kids are the swing vote. =)
p.s. Siquijor is very welcoming, one of my favorite places. =)
Beware….fatal accidents…with motorbikes and trycycles in Siquijor…