Enchanting Siquijor - A journey to the Island of Fire

April 03, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

This is part of a series of posts that highlights our previous travels around the Philippines and Japan.

A look back at our trip to the enchanting island of Siquijor!! 

It's a small island in Central Visayas known for being home to sorcerers, spirits and individuals practicing black magic. Many are afraid to visit the island due to its reputation, but the mystery was in fact the very reason why we decided to visit the island. During Lent no less!! :D

We started our trip in Cebu on a Moundy Thursday in 2012. Me, my girlfriend Sheena, together with a few others drove south to the port of Liloan (southern Cebu) then took a Maayo shipping RORO (Roll-on Roll-off Barge) to Sibulan Negros. It only took about an hour to cross the channel and then a few minutes drive to the port of Dumaguete, where we waited for another RORO to Siquijor. 

This is the RORO (Roll-on Roll-off Barge)  from Liloan Port in Cebu to Sibulan, Negros

Here's our vehicle while we were waiting at the Dumaguete Port.

After a long wait, we were able to board the next RORO, which was probably the last RORO vessel to travel the route before everything closed for the 4 day Lent holiday. 

Here's the passenger area of the second RORO we took

When we arrived in Siquijor, I was quite amazed at how small and rural the town of Larena was, it was quiet and clean, which was very nice and relaxing. We immediately looked around for a place to eat and ended up at a Jo's Chicken Inasal place, just because it was the only one we saw that was open and familiar.

After our meal, we immediately drove south to our accommodation, we booked 2 nights at Hambilica Resort. We planned on spending 5 days in Siquijor but I only booked 2 nights so we could check out other accommodations in the area. I have no photos of Hambilica resort but it's got a nice garden and very personalized service. 

Some flowers from the garden:

While driving around, we noticed a place called Seaview Villas, situated just beside the highway and it was vacant. We checked it out and was able to get a deal for P800/night per villa, I decided to get both villas, the villas were fan only with basic amenities, no room service but we had the whole compound to ourselves. 

Seaview Villas

The beach and the villas... very beautiful

As you can see, even during the 4 day long weekend holiday, we had the beach all to ourselves. The roads were empty too. 

The road towards Salagdoong Beach

Salagdoong Beach,  it's a public beach resort partly managed by the municipal government.

The main attraction at Salagdoong beach are the diving platforms where people can jump directly to the beautiful clear blue water below.

The concrete slides directly into the clear blue water below.

After we jumped at Salagdoong Beach, we then proceeded to the Hidden Beach. It's a few minutes drive away through a beautiful forest like area. It is not open to the public but we went anyway, taking our chances and we're glad we did.

The road to the hidden beach

At the end of this road, we had to park our vehicle and walked about a kilometer or more...

Walking towards the beach

The Hidden beach, not as clean as other areas but it was pretty

After some time at the hidden beach, we headed back to the vehicle and drove to the convent, apparently, this is the biggest wooden structure as well as one of the oldest in the Philippines. It was such a beauty, surrounded by large Acacia Tree with huge canopies.

Next stop was Cambugahay falls, a beautiful cascading waterfall. 

While we were there, I noticed the GF's legs were swollen black like she went through hazing... she jumped at Salagdoong beach a few hours before and landed flat like she was sitting when she hit the water that bruised her legs pretty bad. It was a lot less damaging that it looks though which was the good news. We continued on with out trip.

We heard that there's a ritual at the top of the mountain every lent, so we headed there and see if we could witness some sort of witchcraft of some kind. When we got there, we saw some locals getting ready to make or cook a batch of local potion. It was quite a scene that we've never seen before.

Some also brought prepared loved potions, oil that are said to be beneficial to the body among others...

 

At last, after 2 days of circling around, we reached the town of Siquijor, you will immediately see the historic church around the town plaza.

We also went inside the Assisi High School, it's a very old and historic building just opposite the church.

After we satisfied ourselves exploring Assisi High School and Siquijor Church, we headed back to the villas. Dinner time!

Preparing Dinner... fresh fish! 

Low Tide during Sunset  

I have no idea what kind of fish this is 

Colorful banka along the shore near the villas

Some foreign tourists Another falls, Lugnason Falls

Lugnason Falls

 

A local looking for sea shells during low tide 

    

An unwelcome guest... it was a pretty scary sight

We caught a shrimp right along the shore

There are no supermarket in the island, and as it was lent, no other stores were open either, luckily the local market had some fresh produce and groceries...

We also caught some sea urchins, low tide is a great time to scavenge around the sea grass for some of these, there was very little meat inside each one of them though but it was a great experience.

 

 Another sort of tourist spot in the island is the Capilay Park... it's a fresh water park right in San Juan town center, just across the public market.

While waiting for the boat back to Cebu on our last day, we went up the mountain towards Larena Triad Coffee Shop, a beautiful area with a breathtaking view. The perfect place to end our trip in the Island of Fire. 

 

If you would like to check out more photos from this trip, click here to access the entire album.

The trip was amazing, Siquijor is so close to both Cebu and Dumaguete yet feels so different and relatively distant. It's definitely worth the trip specially if you're into places like old churches, beautiful beaches and amazing waterfalls. Imagine all of them in one tiny island that can be explored in a day... what more can you ask for?

 

 

 


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