A horror to face, a challenge to travel the unknown. Siquijor is well known for witchcraft and the dark arts of magic. So I am here to investigate; is it true or just a rumor. What is your secret Siquijor? There is nothing scary about visiting Siquijor, the scariest part is actually leaving the place knowing that fernweh will kick in as soon as you board that ferry.
The investigation started with the last trip of the barge from Dumaguete port at 6:00 pm. The anxiety lasted for 2 hours, then finally the port of Siquijor welcomed us. I guess from the time I stepped my foot in Siquijor I was instantly hexed! From an anxious traveler to an excited one; from fearing the unknown enchantment to being captivated by its raw beauty.
My eyes were drawn to the heavens and I witnessed the blanket of stars as if it is just over my head. And the beach, just adjacent to the port whispers “come take a swim” but the night is dark and I still need to drop my bags and catch dinner.
Woke up early, feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the day. With just a few hours I think the jinx is kicking in, all because after riding for good 30 minutes I believe I am… you guess it… LOST!!!
THE ENCHANTED BALETE TREE
I am in a motorcycle strolling around Siquijor and looking for a Balete Tree that is living for more than a century. The Enchanted Balete Tree is really amazing that you will find your senses not wanting to leave.
Did I mention the fishes that gnaw your feet scraping dead skin cells? If not, then I tell you that I believe they are the one begging you to stay. If not for my will to see majestic falls I think the branches already wrapped me to stay with the tree forever.
SAN ISIDRO PARISH
A Neoclassical Church built in 1884 a National Historical Landmark since 1984 and was declared as a National Cultural Treasure since 2012. This church made of sea stones and wood is remarkably a treasure without a doubt.
Roaming within the vicinity of the church I found myself in front of a grotto with a big tree at the backdrop and pews facing an altar.
The convent is assumed to be the oldest and largest in Asia. It now houses a museum that shows religious artifacts from the century ago and backward.
This without a doubt is the most prominent falls on the Island. It features 3 tiers of falls with cool and refreshing cascade and pools which waters share the shade of emerald and turquoise.
Try a Tarzan-swing and go for a jump!
OUR LADY OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
Situated in the town of Maria, eerie stories, fact or fiction but they say that Sta. Rita or also known as “Black Mary” of this church is said to be the patron saint of the witches of Siquijor. I cannot draw a conclusion but certainly, this is one for the mystery books. What they told me was normally Sta. Rita’s depiction normally holds roses and crucifix but this one holds a skull and holds the crucifix slanted giving an impression of an inverted cross. It is really eerie that I wasn’t able to take a picture of it.
SALAGDOONG FOREST RESERVE
I am a fan of a man-made forest because it shows how people actually care about the environment and how they put an effort to save it from further destruction. This stretch of road is surrounded by Molave trees. The forest reserve is not that thick yet but it already treats someone traversing towards Salagdoong Beach a cool and shady road.
Possibly the best beach around if you want to treat yourself but on a strict budget. Salagdoong beach is so clean and clear that you can swim with fishes. There is a cliff that offers a bird’s eye view of the resort.
Need an adrenaline rush? Then a 40+ feet cliff jump is for you to try.
After all this day’s activity, I spent the rest of the day at The Baha Ba’r it is a nice cozy place where food that is actually good and ambiance is superb! The night also featured fire dancing and music which is a total delight. Certainly, a nice treat to cap the day!
Eggs, bread, and soup for breakfast and I am ready to face another day. I still can’t get-over the peaceful feeling I felt walking down the road unaccompanied in the middle of the night. Strange as it seems but it was one of the few moments where I can be immovable and vulnerable at the same time.
This time I asked a guide to tour me around the other spots as I need the luxury of not being lost so that I will not be late for my flight back to Manila from Dumaguete.
Located conveniently along the Circumferential road, Capilay Spring is your usual community park where one can actually swim for a minimal fee. It is a nice place to chill out but not really inviting to swim in, nevertheless, it is a good place to just lax and have a picnic.
The highest point in Siquijor. I was fortunate enough to have the summit for myself for an hour to relax and meditate. It feels surreal, the feeling of satisfaction is over the roof and I can say that this is one of the moment that I am home: being alone with nature.
The mountain also features a park but it remains deserted all year round except for Holy Week. The place is really eerie but calming.
It is murky and it was really dark, I am alone in this unfamiliar place and with nothing but the flashlight from my phone.
The pain from yesterday’s injury seared to my nerves and I am starting to realize how crazy I am. I decided then to abort and just return next time I visit Siquijor.
Unspoiled, raw, peaceful and clean beach! I never thought that a place could exist but here I am standing in the midst of serenity. A fellow solo traveler became an immediate friend and we decided to spend lunch and sharing stories of adventures. It is a fact that in this world where we travel we are never traveling alone.
Since we are both strangers to the area we took a shot on a road-side advertisement that leads us to a newly built establishment called U Story. It was a highly recommendable place to eat and unwind. It is a laid-back and comfortable place.
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI CHURCH
To finish my journey I visited the church at Siquijor town proper. It is hard to imagine why a very religious place can be associated with witchcraft and wizardry. In fact what I observed is that the people of Siquijor are churchgoers.
Isn’t it a wonderful sight to have a church welcome you after arriving at the port and bestowing a blessing before you leave?
Just like that my time to explore this island-province came to a close. The mystery still yet to be solved. My hesitation before my travel here is definitely pointless because this place is a piece of paradise. The people are awesome, the food is great, the place is clean. Siquijor is my favorite destination so far as it satisfies my wandering soul to find a piece of home in a strange land.
A lot of Siquijor’s visitors only stay for a few hours, traveling from Dumaguete early in the morning and going back before dusk. I can definitely say that they are missing a lot of things that Siquijor has to offer. I was deeply entangled that I want to stay more but everything has an end to start a new journey; nonetheless, a piece of my heart will forever yearn for my eventual return. Am I a victim of Siquijor Syndrome? I can’t tell, but if so; I am definitely happy to be one of the infected!
Where to Stay?
Where to Eat?
The food is relatively cheaper from other places but accommodation is a little bit pricier compared to other places I visited.
A fancy meal ranges from 190-300 Pesos.
Usual meals from food stalls are 35-50 Pesos.
Accommodation rate starts from 700 Pesos for fan rooms up to 1400 for airconditioned rooms.
Motorcycle rental costs 350 Pesos per day and 250 Pesos worth of gas is enough to tour you around the island.
An option to rent a motorcycle and hire a driver to be your guide starts at 900 Pesos per day.
Most of the attractions are free to visit if there is an entrance fee it will not be over 50 Pesos.
Overall a safe budget of 3500 is more than enough for 2days and 2 nights for a solo traveler. This budget includes the 400 Pesos ferry transportation from Dumaguete and back.
Though Siquijor is a small province and someone can easily explore the area it is highly advisable to plan your itinerary ahead and make adjustments as you are exploring and enjoying the area. So cheer up there is nothing scary about visiting Siquijor, the scariest part is actually leaving the place knowing that fernweh will kick in as soon as you board that ferry.