Whenever I hear of Siquijor, the first thing I would think of in an instant are witchcraft, black magic and mystical traditions. I couldn't blame myself on this prejudice, this stereotype is the reason why even neighboring townsmen does not favor spending some time in this eerily silent island.
We took the guts and went on to prove that Siquijor is worthy to be a destination not just for the brave souls but to anyone who takes pleasure in nature.
I was clueless about what a few days in Siquijor would be like. Other than the unique picturesque scenes that I picked up from Instagram, nothing is ever really told about what the town is all about. When our boat from Dumaguete docked on the port of Siquijor, we were greeted by wonderful people. It was getting dark when we arrived so we need to rush and find ourselves a place to stay.
We took the service of a tricycle driver named Glenn who then became our tour guide, he led us to a number of resorts until we found shelter in Charisma Resort, sharing a dormitory with a bunch of other backpackers.
Since it was dinner time, we took a moment to go out of the hotel, wandered a couple of minutes in this placid town until we retreated back to the resort with the conclusion that there is nowhere to dine after seven in the evening.
All we could hear were the sound of crickets, bats and occasional motorcycles traversing the long roads. There were street lights, but the light beaming from the moon overpowered any brightness coming from the surface of the town.
Luckily, the resort had a restaurant so we we decided to dine here instead. After being fueled up, we spent some time by the seaside on a hammock tied to the coconut tree, such an ideal set up of a paradise.
Waking up the following morning was not too tiresome because we were definitely excited to explore the entire island. We woke up and head on to the shore to divulge in some breakfast.
Glenn picked us at the resort about eight in the morning with his tricycle, the Filipino version of Tuk Tuk. I didn't really mind asking about today's itinerary. He seemed to be well rounded about the island having been born and raised as a local, I didn't want to spoil any surprise that I would get as soon as I see our destination. I wanted it to be as candid as possible.
We had long rides in between stop overs and the road continued until the eyes can reach, it would have been really difficult had we had troubles along the way because we were far away from the town center and all I can see were either vegetation or a paved road.
Siquijor is an old and rural town considered to be fifth income class but surprisingly has one of the highest literacy rates in the country. It's culture is deep rooted from the Spanish era and reflections of those remain alive up to the present.
There's always horror stories paired with Balete Trees and I didn't bother asking if there were any on our first destination. They call it the Enchanted Tree which appears to be standing on the foot of a spring, as if it is the one producing the water that flows on it.
The locals thought it was a great idea to bring in live fishes on the spring and turn it as a foot spa. It is a great idea, I suppose, if they chose smaller fishes than having huge Tilapias swim around. I was too afraid to dip in my foot for the fear that the Tilapias might turn out to be Piranhas, aside from the fact that I was still nursing a wound on my foot. There are no reported casualties up to this day so I assume it is safe.
My fascination with water is something I can not express enough with words and having to be near one gives me such a bliss, let alone spend a fun activity with it. Cambugahay Falls gave me a check on the bucket list.
It has a series of small waterfalls and at the foot of it is a rope tied to one of the old trees. I couldn't resist holding on to the rope made of thick vines a couple of times and splashed my way like Tarzan. That was such a place to be.
Just when lunchtime is about to tick, we hit the road again until we reached Salagdoong Beach where white sand was enveloped among large rock formations. I'm thankful that the water was low that time so the cliff jump was not permitted, otherwise, I would have had to jump for the sake of experience.
The greenery was just refreshing, the blue water was just so pristine and inviting that we went swimming around the deep water surrounding the islets. It was just perfect for those instagram-worthy snaps.
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Our already-tanned skin was already burned but we still spent some time bumming on the shore over a bottle of iced cold beer. It was a fleeting moment that you just can't help but admire life.
When we were back on the road, we got to pass by what seemed to be Siquijor's delicacy, Pan Bisaya (Bisaya Bread). It was a small hut alongside the road which served as the town's "cafe" to enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite of some pastries. I am a lover of pastries so a stop over was necessary.
When our tummy was happy, we went on and drove to the Guiwanon Spring Park, which by the name suggests is a Mangrove sanctuary.
It presented itself like a setting where Peter Pan leaves, it had a treehouse which I believe can be rented for overnight stays. This spot gave such a view of the sunset that it felt so relaxing to stay still and breathe fresh air.
I soon learned that most of the resorts and land areas in Siquijor are owned by foreigners who married Filipinas. What's more disheartening is that foreign visitors get to experience how majestic this island is before the Filipinos. Apparently, we are too reluctant to step on the shores of this spectacular town because of the hearsays that makes Siquijor infamous. While I may not prove that those stories aren't true, it shouldn't stop us from discovering what is ours. As long as we do no harm to others, no harm can be done to us. Besides, to me the only magic this island has is the natural wonders it posses and the tranquility it gives.
The Wander Dan Note:
- Book your day tour and driver with Glenn Rubio at + 63 917 579 7671.
- Bring enough cash as their are limited ATM machines in the island and only a few establishments accept credit card.
- There are a number of bars and cafes around San Juan, it is preferred to stay in this area.