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.
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.
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.