ILIGAN CITY – MINDANAO
Often regarded as the island of thousand witchcraft activities, the boundaries of Siquijor are either loved or feared. Long before the stunning postcards of white sand beaches and thick forest of this silent island were stories of creepy rituals and black magic, driving away unbrave travellers including me. But when you have so much itch to explore places and meet locals, no fear can ever move you, even the thought of possibly being around the presence of “mangkukulam” on a full moon – well, they say.
For 2,500 airline ticket, my best travel mates Lady Christine and Coleen have geared up *not with bawang but our pieces of bags and camera as we, once again, head to another adventure and seek of truth.
Siquijor, where would I start telling everyone how beautiful you are?
The island at a glance may look a bit like the rest we’ve been – clean and natural. But as our tricycle traveled us to each and every edges, we slowly discovered a paradise masked by the tall trees and green rice fields.
Siquijor island is a home not of witches but beautiful, almost surreal, turquoise beach water. It’s a home not of racing jeepneys but bicycles and motorbikes. An island that preserves simplicity of living and family ties – an island far to be feared.
Siquijor is not populated. No food chains – famous Jollibee and McDonalds aren’t there. No shopping malls and absolutely no drinking bars. Churches are evenly distributed in the island. You could still see homes from strong bamboo sticks and nipa alongside the well-paved roads. Beach water – beautiful. Locals? Even more beautiful – you see them farm or fish.
The place is one of the most beautiful islands I’ve visited in this country. And here’s more to tell you why:
1. The rich vast forest.
The island is wrapped with different shades of trees – even the ones that have lived for over 500 years.
This balete tree alongside the road of Larena is one of the most popular attractions in Siquijor. Apart from being obviously old, the bottom of the thick intertwining trunks is the home of playful small fishes. One could just lay lazy on the side and have their feet being played by the colorful tiny swimmers.
The water is cold and fresh. It’s not deep but something about the cloudy bottom is scary. See it yourself when you visit Siquijor.
See how this huge tree had made us all feel so small?
2. Convents and Churches
One thing about the island is sure – it is a home of beautiful churches.
Just across the Lazi convent is an old church which was constructed in mid 1800s by Augustinian recollects. The church structure looks so calm and still while the trimmed grass is an absolute beauty.
The area is so peaceful. You hear the birds and the gentle local conversations, very laid-back. Siquijodnons are Bisayans and they are very warm and friendly.
3. The Foods
Who would thought that inside this silent island are foods as good as those in metro? You can still have a share of delicious vegetables and meat dishes served hot and well-presented.
You can have a meal for as low as Php120 including a cold drink or coffee. For seafoods, you can get them for Php120 per serve.
For this tasty grilled squid – it was worth the Php150 for our hungry tummy and excited tongue. Foods are fantastic in the island. Clean water is never a problem.
For all those wandering for a good restaurant – you can never find one in Siquijor. Just as you imagine a fine dine with wines and private butler, I hope you consider a dinner, barefoot on the seaside much more beautiful and romantic or even this hot soft bread alongside the road – more fun for Php5 each!
4. The Oldest House in Siquijor – Cang-Isok House
Old and dull as it looks but this house is nearly 200 years old. It has battled a hundred storm and faced strong waves a thousand time yet it stood strong. The Cang-Isok house, popular for being the oldest house in the island was built in 1800s.
Due to age and environmental damage, the roof was rebuilt but the family chose to keep the other parts intact. Situated just a few steps from the main road – this century-old house can either stun you or bring you a different feeling. I walked into the other side, my curious eyes laid closely to the old weak posts and wall – they all seemed fine and normal but we did not stay long.
5. The Cambugahay Waterfalls
What makes this trip extra fun was this short stop to Cambugahay waterfalls. I once thought of white-sanded beaches and “rots rots daw na mangkukulam” about Siquijor – never of waterfalls. I wasn’t expecting that there is one in the island.
The water is clean and clear – the green color is very inviting. The mix of warm and cold is perfect for anyone to plunge or soak all day long. I would agree to return here for an all-day swim though I missed the jump that Lady did repeatedly.
The sound of the dropping water can put you to sleep. The trees are all fresh and soothing. As I sit down under the cool shade to see my friends all having fun, I was also enjoying the ripe sinegwelas I bought for Php10 from a local child – it was a good time.
6. The Hot Spring and Marine Sanctuary
“Naa na ta Ma’am”, the tricycle stopped into the side of the road that looks so ordinary. “Subay lang mo anang dalan, diri lang ko maghulat”. And yeah, we followed the wooden path and what welcomed us was a very relaxing and beautiful seaside view.
Each of these steps will guide you going to a small eatery house with karaoke. If not of the noise from the big speaker box, I could have just lived here all my life. Covered by the seaweeds are tiny fishes and sea urchins.
The distant view of the sleeping mountains and green bakawans are all so relaxing. So this is the Guiwanon Spring Park – a place you should never miss in Siquijor.
We spent our last hours in this hot spring – the one I remembered the most. The entire place can make you feel the real magic of nature working for us – it is extraordinary! The water coming from the ocean and the spring makes it a good mix of hot and cold. The uneven bottom is sandy. You lay here surrounded by bakawans, hear the water rush from the shore, feel the warm water – it was heaven for a minute.
Guiwanon spring park also offers overnight accommodations for Php750. If you think about being extra romantic to your special someone, the place can do the work for you.
7. The Beach
I don’t have the words to describe Siquijor beach water – I just had that feeling of being able to reach my dream place and I am extremely impressed. I couldn’t say a thing.
Water so clean – sand so soft. The stretch of white sand reminds me of why I love to be in the shore so much.
Every island has its own beauty to surprise you and Siquijor has done me a lot of surprising. I would give it 10 stars for being so beautiful.
I’ve never seen a water as clear and clean as this – the mix of blue and turquoise green was WOW! Climp jumping is perfect here. I never tried. I am not a master of swimming but Lady!
Friends Friends Friends!
Yes, you see them most on my travels – I am dependent on this two! They are the best to walk me through the places I am excited to go. Coleen and Balingling – you know I love you both and my kisses and hugs are all for you.
Siquijor is mystical that it makes you think how nature could blend so well into this small land. I had my days and I have my camera to prove that the place is more than the witches and magics we think about Siquijor. I am a lover of nature – head over heels inlove with beaches and Siquijor had made me do a bit more.
Siquijor is my 2nd best island in the Philippines and will be so excited to return here.
Stayed at: –
Transportation: Plane, Ferry and Tricycle
Enjoyed most: the entire of Spring Park experience
Missed: CLIFF JUMP *sobber
Overall Impression: 9 Stars