Coastal Day Tour of Siquijor: Third Stop, Day 2
In every place, island or province that I visit for the first time, there is that area and single moment that eclipses all others as the best and most wonderful. In Siquijor, I found it when we alight from our tricycle tour and behold the island’s centuries old giant Balete Tree.
I was beyond amazed; I was speechless looking at this HUGE TREE in front of us. It was like huge, gigantic, big, BIG!!! Its leaves were reaching out, straining themselves to catch the early morning sun rays while the tree’s branches, roots and vines cling to each other defying anyone who will try to unravel them.
The balete tree stands there, demanding you to look at her in all her encompassing glory. The whole area was silent as if saying that her majesty does not want to be disturbed by the troubles of men. That has been so for hundreds of years, hoping that will be so for many more.
The locals claimed the area to be enchanted and I believe that. I was under its spell within just a few second.
‘Wow!’ ‘Wow!’ ‘Wow!’ my heart and eyes can’t believe how wonderful it looks. I literally run from the roadside to get nearer to the Balete and the cold spring that flows on the ground near its feet. I was the first one there and the first one to dip my toes on its inviting waters. As soon as my feet hit the water, tiny fishes rushed, swam towards my waiting feet. Only a few tried to nibbled my toes and many of them seem content circling my feet, swimming by the side, checking out this thing that creates ripples on their waters and dares to disturb their sanctuary.
Fish spa ba eto?
I’m hoping the tiny fishes were happy that I was there at that moment because it was definitely the best leg of our trip for me. The balete tree with its cold spring and tiny fishes was the best welcome I’ve experienced in Siquijor!
Now, if we got there at dusk, I’d probably have a slightly different reaction hahah.
As a youngster, I devoured pages of Pinoy komiks especially those fantasy series. Balete trees are prominent figures in many stories and if there is a huge tree, what do we expect next? A kapre.
Is there a kapre residing in Siquijor’s famous old tree? I leave it to your imagination hehe.
I relish in hearing stories of Not Like Ours and Philippine mythical creatures like duwende, diwata, engkanto and even the scary ones like manananggal, tikbalang, sigbin, aswang and such. But I am not brave. Truth be told when I watch horror movies, on scary scenes I shut my eyes and scream for someone to tell me what is happening on the screen. Coward. Haha.
Anyhow, it would have been awesome to just laze there for the day. To talk to some locals and hear the stories involving this gigantic balete that get pass on from one man to the next, from one generation to the next. Siquijor’s balete tree have witnessed the passing of centuries, with a tree that old, there’s got to be interesting stories waiting to be told and shared. Sadly, we had to go as there were still many tourist spots to cover for our coastal day tour.
Down the road, I hope to be back again. When that happens, I’ll make sure I won’t be in a hurry. I’ll take my sweet time staying under the shade and protection of Siquijor’s enchanted balete tree. To dip my toes to play with the fishes and to enjoy the clear waters of the cold spring one more time, that would be joy!
Siquijor is one province in the Philippines tagged as a haven of mysticism and a scary place, a place of the unknown. This I think is one of the major reasons why lots of Filipinos do not venture to this Visayan Island. We’ve met more foreign tourists on the road and in the various tourist spots during our vacation compared to Pinoys like us. But what many people do not know and one that I strongly believe is that Siquijor is a tourism gem just waiting to be polished and marketed right.
Kids mesmerized with the fishes swimming in the cold spring
etong naka gray na bata medyo seryoso haha
I don’t know for how many years Siquijor will still wait to become a premier island destination in the Philippines. I’m hoping there is a change of tide soon and Filipinos will no longer avoid this island. Siquijor is beautiful and has so much to offer to guests, visitors and travelers both foreign and local.
In this day and age when fewer people believe in mythical creatures, in santilmo, bakunawa and such mysticism, I am confident that Siquijor’s time to shine will come. This island province can rise up to the occasion to become one of the best places to take your vacation in the Philippines. It will take community involvement and strong tourism program from the national and local government. This island will make it big on the tourism front; I feel it in my guts. Just hoping progress will not erode the charm of this island province and the character of its people. Or maybe mysticism is really part of the charm?
If that is so, I tell you now, come to the island of fire before thousands of tourists realize the countless natural wonders, beautiful spots and adventures that await visitors to the island. Visit now before thousands comes in droves and push prices up! Siquijor is a tourism gem just bidding its time. If you are worried about the cost of travelling, know that your Siquijor vacation need not be grand and expensive; in fact you can make it cheap by backpacking and/or choosing to stay in affordable accommodations. Get to this island, make this province your next trip destination. You won’t regret it!
Quick Facts about the Balete Tree of Isla del Fuego
- It’s beside the road. As in! Or maybe ten steps or less.
- There is no entrance fee but there is a donation box. Don’t forget to drop in to show your appreciation and to help with the maintenance of this wonderful spot in Siquijor.
- There is a nearby maliit na sari sari store selling sitsirya (chips, biscuits, candies etc) just in case you get hungry or wants to have an impromptu picnic by the cold spring. Just manage your expectation as the snack choices are limited.
- This famous tourist destination in Siquijor might be crowded during weekends and holidays.
- You can swim on its clear cold spring. I wanted to!
- You can find the water source at the foot of the tree. The local who was there when we arrived said that the spring source is deep especially near the roots but the cemented part is not deep. If you don’t know how to swim, it’s best to stay in the mid portion of the pool. Do you see that bend on the pool in one of the pics above? That area is safe for kids as its shallow; your kids can play with the fishes and swim too!
Check out our next Siquijor destination after the Balete Tree: Bulo Bulo Healing and Nanay Conching or the previous post: Just Arrived in Siquijor, Sojourn to Capilay Spring and Water Park.
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