Where: Isla de Fuego ~ Siquijor Island
Who: Mr & Mrs Wanderlust
When: August 2015
What: Explore the mystical and beautiful island of Siquijor
Siquijor is an island province in Central Visayas region. It is the third smallest province in the country (after Camiguin and Batanes). The province is also commonly associated with mystic traditions, beliefs and even home to a few of the countries' feared mythical creatures.
The Spaniards in 16th century called the island "Isla de Fuego" or Island of Fire because according to historical records, when Spanish explorers passed by the island, it was giving an eerie fire like glow, which was due to huge swarms of fireflies that gathered in the many Molave trees on the island.
**There are no airports in the island province, and can only be accessed via ferry, or sea craft.
Nearest airport is Dumaguete City.
Coming from Dumaguete airport, you can charter a tricycle or ride a jeep to Dumaguete city port, where you can purchase tickets for either a fast craft (45minutes - 1hr), or a RoRo ferry (1hr 30mins or more). Trips all available daily with few hours interval, (as early as 5am and as late as 7pm).
There are also trips to Siquijor, from Cebu, Dapitan and Bohol. But may take more time as Dumaguete city is the closest.
***PROTIP: You can buy tickets in advance if it is a holiday or a peak season to avoid any delays or disappointment.
Also make sure that you will be going to Siquijor City and not to Larena (unless your accommodation is located within the area).
The province of Siquijor offers many places to accommodate its visitors. It has resorts, hotel, hostels and inns available for different price range.
Mr & Mrs Wanderlust's Review
Coco Grove Beach Resort
+ Very nice and big resort with 3 swimming pools, 2 restaurants, Game rooms, Art studio etc.
+ Resort has complete amenities, and free use of usual water activities (paddle, kayak etc.)
+ Also offers water activities such as Hobbie Kat, glass bottom boat, banana boat (NOT FREE)
+ Rooms are spacious and complete with TV and A/C with toilet and shower
+ Restaurant has great view of beach and good food too.
+ Offers Free WIFI but only on limited spots on the resort (hotel lobby, frontdesk, restaurant)
+ Has a nice marine reef sanctuary just a few meters from the rooms
+ Resort staff are very helpful
- The only issue is that we don't have cellphone signal at all on our room! (Only on select locations)
- The resort is too big for you to fully explore and enjoy all of its facilities
- The shower floor isn't lowered enough that when you take a bath, the whole bathroom floor will be wet.
Price: $$$ 4-6,000PHP for 2
Service: 5 star - Service & staff, from front desk to waitress were very helpful and nice.
Facilities & Amenities: 4.8 star - Cozy rooms, complete facilities, multiple pools and activities to do.
Restaurant (foods): 4.9 star - Couple of restaurants in resort, has nice view of beach and good food.
Bar: 4.9 - Has few selection of wine, and booze and has cool beer too.
Overall: 4.88 /5 star
1. See the old Balete Tree - 400+ year old supposedly mystical and eerie balete tree covered in roots and vines which has a mini pond that has doctor fish (the ones that cleans your feet by sucking and biting on dead skin cells) are also naturally present just below the big tree which makes it more enchanting.
2. Go to the island's view point - After seeing the balete tree and on the way to the next attraction, heading east you would pass by a high point in the island where you can have a really nice view of the beach from afar, and also the beautiful landscape of the enchanting that you are standing on.
3. Lazi Church and San Isidro Labrador Convent - Just accross of Lazi Church is the biggest and one of the oldest convents in the Philippines, the Spanish completed its construction in 1894 and was declared a historical landmark by the country's historical commission.
4. Cambugahay Falls - Pictured above is a very beautiful 3 tiered waterfalls outside of Lazi. Great for swimming, you can jump on one tier of the falls, and there is also a rope that would allow you to do a tarzan jump into the water.
5. Jump the cliff of Salagdoong Beach - Local's favorite and great for swimming, boasts a light blue and crystal clear water and has a 7 meter (23 feet) and 10 meter (32 feet) diving spots for your daily dose of rush.
6. Kagusan Beach - Noted for its picturesque seascape and rock formations.
7. Siquijor Beach - several white sand beach resorts dot the coastal areas.
8. Visit the Cang-Isok Old House - Built in the mid 1800s, this is the oldest standing house in Siquijor. It is made of bamboo and "tugas" or molave and shows that it has withstood all the storms after centuries of being there. It was also the former residence of Gov. Enrique Villanueva which was also the name of the town.
9. See Tulapos Marine Sanctuary- Opened in 1986 the Tulapos marine sanctuary is the largest marine sanctuary in the island and covers around 14 hectares of beach, coral reefs, and mangroves. The spot is really gifted with abundant marine flora and fauna.
10. Mangrove Tree Houses- Within the Tulapos marine sanctuary, interestingly enough there is a complex of tree houses on mangroves. The design is sustainable and environment friendly with the objective of being able to protect the mangroves which is in turn plays an important role in the marine ecosystem of the place.
As seen in the picture / diagram above mangroves play a very important role in the ecosystem. Their organic decomposing leaf litters and droppings are the source of food for the tiniest sea creatures, and in turn allows the other animals in the upper food chain to grow, flourish and multiply. In turn, we humans also benefit as there is abundance of large fishes for food.
(source: University of Waikato NZ)
Below are some more of the attractions that we were not able to see due to time constraints. Photos are not ours, but source is indicated below.
11. Lugnason Falls - another nice waterfalls located near San Juan. Due to time constraints we were unable to experience the attractions to be mentioned below, but if you have more time, you can freely add it to your itinerary.
12. Capilay Spring Park - Located in the center of San Juan, it is a natural spring flowing into a swimming pool. It is also another of the favorites of locals during the weekend.
13. Cantabon Cave - Getting there takes an hour and a half of walking. Registration to the local environment office is required together with an local official guide.
14. Hike Mt. Bandilaan - The highest point in the province of Siquijor, elevation of 628 metres (2,060 ft). And along its way don't be surprised to see religious icons (mostly catholic) such as crosses and statues as it is being used for stations of the cross during Holy Week. And staying true to the island's mystical reputation, healers and psychics also frequent this place especially on Good Friday and Black Saturday of the holy week.
Capilay Spring Park - from senyorita.net
Cantabon Cave - by Ernan Baldomero
Mt. Bandilaan - by Pinoy Mountaineer
***BONUS: (off the beaten path)
14. Try the famous Bolo-Bolo folk healing method - The psychics and faith healers from different parts of the country gather in Siquijor (usually on the top of a secluded and sacred mountain nearby) every holy week for their prayers, rituals, collect amulets (called "anting-anting") for protection, make potions and herbal medicines collected from plants and trees in the nearby forest. You can visit house of local faith healers and psychics by asking your local guides.
"Barang" is Cebuano term of any forms of malign spirit or what we call black magic. Even before the arrival of Spaniards, Filipinos have been practicing this witchcraft or sorcery. Although there is no scientific explanation behind it still, some people believe in this old practice.
In effect, according to local officials of Siquijor, the crime rate is very low because people are afraid that if they do harm to another, the aggrieved party can simply go to a mambabarang and make him not only very sick but also kill him. Which shows that Filipinos are giving importance and respect not just in our tradition and culture but also to our forefathers.
Accommodations - Hostel Bed - PHP 800+
Accommodations - Hotel Room - PHP 2,000 - 5,000++
Accommodations - Family Room PHP 1,800 - 5,000+
Accommodations - Resort Room PHP 3,000 - 8,000+
Dining - Meal at a Resort PHP 350 / pax
Transportation - Ferry Ride (one way Dumaguete - Siquijor) - PHP 160 - 300 (depends if RoRo of fastcraft)
Transportation - 10 min Jeepney Ride PHP 8 - 50 / pax
Transportation - Tricycle Ride Island Tour PHP 1,000 - 1,500
Transportation - Tricycle Ride Mountain Tour PHP 1,200
Transportation - Jeepney Ride Island Tour PHP 2,000
Transportation - 30 min Boat Ride Php 500
Activities - Museum Entrance - Lazi Convent Museum Php 20 / pax
Shopping - Seashell Museum Php 35 and up
Shopping - Souvenir TShirt Php 200 and up
Shopping - Souvenir Items - Maria Pasalubong Center Php 50 and up
Activities - 1 Day hike w/ Guide Php 1,200 Mountain Adventure
Activities - Faith healer / Psychic - (Depends on service, they dont ask for price) PHP200+
Sights & Sounds of Apo Island + Siquijor
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