Siquijor Best Places To Visit

Siquijor is an island and a province located in the Central Visayas Region. Cebu and Negros are northwest of it, separated by the Cebu (or Bohol) Strait; Bohol is northeast of Siquijor.

Siquijor is the third-smallest of the Philippines’ provinces, with only Camiguin and Batanes being smaller. The island’s coastline runs for 102 kilometres, enclosing a total land area of just 327 square kilometres.

You can comfortably ride a motorbike around the entire island in about two hours, just cruising and taking your time.

San Juan is a coastal town spread out over several kilometres and is where the thick of the action is.  There are plenty of accommodation and restaurant options around here not to mention a near white sand beach.

Siquijor’s Folklore And Legends

The island was called Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) during the Phillippines’ time as a colony of Spain. Siquijor has long had a reputation shrouded in folklore full of superstition and paranormal activity.

For example, the famous 400-year-old Balete tree in Lazi is said to be home to ghosts with rituals being performed within the trunk of the tree. It is this mysticism that is a key component of the island’s tourist appeal.

Furthermore, according to local legends, the island was born in a great storm. Lightning, thunder, and earthquakes heralded the birth of a new island out of the womb of the ocean; this was Siquijor.

While the legend is fanciful, modern science and experience do tie a few shreds of fact to it. This is further verified when you look at the history of neighbouring Camiguin which also has a history of violent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Siquijor’s magical reputation lends it a lurid fascination in the minds of tourists.

The island’s most visitor-friendly magic attractions are the healing festivals centred around the traditional preparation of potions made out of natural materials including tree bark, herbs, roots, and insects.

The festivals include dancing and the singing of incantations.

Most people who live on Siquijor have a deep-rooted respect for their island’s natural environment; this springs in part from the island’s traditional belief systems.

Siquijor is recognised throughout the Philippines for its unique blend of Catholicism and traditional religion. The island’s inhabitants uphold and celebrate this distinctive culture up to the present day.

Siquijor’s Top Tourist Attractions

For such a small island, Siquijor offers many things to see and do. There are numerous impressive natural attractions, including waterfalls, caves, beaches, and the Bandila-an natural park and butterfly sanctuary.

In Lazi, there are a pair of worthwhile natural sights: the 400-year-old Balete tree (as mentioned earlier) and  Cambugahay Falls which is a majestic triple-layer waterfall.

When it comes to beaches, the island’s most popular and beautiful beach is Paliton Beach.

The entire island is surrounded by coral reefs, making it a memorable and popular diving destination for both scuba divers and snorkelers. There are multiple dive operators on Siquijor, offering PADI CMAS, and NAUI dive courses.

Siquijor Island doesn’t have an airport yet, although one is currently under construction at the time of writing. Therefore, Dumaguete is the nearest airport.

Although you could fly into other airports such as Bohol or Cebu, there is no other way to get to Siquijor other than a ferry trip.

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St. Francis of Assisi Parish just near Siquijor seaport

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Tubod Beach at Coco Grove Resort is like a postcard

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Private white sand beach at my friends’ beach house

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Harmony Bay has some of the bluest water you will ever see

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Paliton Beach is Siquijor’s most popular and famous beach

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Cambugahay Falls is Siquijor’s most famous waterfall

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The 400-year-old Balete tree is apparently a dwelling for ghosts

 

 

How to get there

Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific fly to Dumaguete from Manila twice daily with the flight taking just over one hour.

There aren’t many buses in Siquijor so jeepneys are a more than appropriate alternative, and is a cheap way to get around the island.

The trip from Siquijor town to San Juan town costs about ₱20. The drawback when travelling by jeepney is the erratic scheduling; most jeepneys only depart when they are full.

Two different shipping lines (Delta and GL) run multiple daily ferries from Dumaguete to Siquijor, but the Ocean Jet fast ferry is the best. Costs range from ₱120 to ₱250. There is also a car ferry (with a slow two-hour crossing time) operated by Montenegro shipping lines; this costs ₱100.

A multi-island ferry originating from Cebu City reaches Siquijor after stopping in Dumaguete and Tagbilaran. The entire trip takes five hours. This ferry is operated by Ocean Jet. Cost for the full run from Cebu is ₱1300; the passage from Tagbilaran to Siquijor costs ₱900.

Siquijor is ringed with a paved coastal highway and is perfect for motorbikes. Motorbikes can be hired at many points on Siquijor, particularly in San Juan town near the seaport. Costs range between ₱250 and ₱350 per day.

Tricycles can be hired for many Siquijor journeys. The trip from Siquijor town to San Juan town, for instance, usually costs between ₱150 and ₱250. Tricycle drivers congregate close to the pier in Siquijor town. Look for the large board with trip prices posted on it. Most of the drivers like to haggle, so you should consider the posted prices as a lower limit.

Dezza´s Tip

As mentioned earlier, Siquijor is the third-smallest of the Philippines’ provinces so it doesn’t take long to explore it. However, because it is such a beautiful place, I recommend spending at least two nights there so you can really take the place in. There really is such a peaceful and relaxing feel to this island, it’s easy to see why people fall in love with it and don’t want to leave.