Positioned on the Central Visayas Area of the Philippines, Siquijor is domestically often known as ‘Esla del Fuego’, or the island of fireplace, not due to a raging volcano like I initially thought, however due to its mystical fireflies.
“Whenever you see them out, you recognize there’s magic round,” mentioned Noel, an area who generously supplied to take me to a healer on the island, which can be known as the ‘mystical island’ and even ‘Siquihorror’ by locals because of the shamanism and witchcraft that Siquijor is understood for.
That night time as we sat within the open air karaoke bar, simply having belted out Katy Perry’s California Gurls and the Eagles’ Lodge California — two songs I can’t appear to flee as a Californian in Southeast Asia — the ability went out all around the island and the celebs, and the fireflies, got here out to play.
There’s one thing in regards to the vibe on Siquijor, a mix of white and black magic, the yin and the yang. There’s a sense of eeriness and intrigue to it, and to go to with out connecting a bit to the religious facet of the island can be lacking out on what makes Siquijor so enchanting.
In addition to the waterfalls, the attractive corals, the caves, the large tree, and the white sand seashores.
So this information has a little bit little bit of each. Departing from the ferry terminal, these are a few of the finest experiences and Siquijor vacationer spots so as:
Paliton is definitely Siquijor’s most well-known seaside, and for those who’re staying in San Juan like most guests, you gained’t be too removed from right here.
The seaside’s most well-known and putting characteristic is the road of coconut palms alongside the seaside. It’s additionally well-known for snorkeling and its pretty white sand. Even throughout excessive season, it isn’t very crowded. Be certain that to discover past simply the realm close to the place you park. You’ll must spherical a couple of bends on foot in direction of your proper, if dealing with the water, to seek out these timber.
Professional tip: Try the timing of the tides earlier than you go and attempt to go throughout excessive tide. There are sea urchins and jellyfish within the grasses which can make it a little bit of a minefield throughout low tide.
San Juan is the place you’ll discover many of the guesthouses, resorts, dive outlets, eating places, and bars. It’s the place nearly everybody stays after they go to Siquijor for 2 huge causes: It’s west-facing so that you get a implausible sundown, and it has white sand seashores.
Take a stroll in any path round 5pm and watch as golden hour unfolds right into a fiery sundown with Negros and Apo Island within the distance.
Century Previous Balete Tree
This ‘century previous’ tree is definitely nearer to 400 years previous, and is a lot greater than meets the attention. As soon as a spot for sacred rituals, the spring below the tree is now a fish spa and love potion vendor, principally to draw guests to what would in any other case simply be one thing most individuals cross proper on by with out realizing the importance of this tree to Siquijor.
Noel informed me that the fairy who was beforehand accountable for the tree was indignant. Periodically, youngsters would go lacking across the space after which present up days later, having been taken into the spirit world by the tree. Today there’s a brand new chief fairy on the town – Louie – who is a little more benevolent.
Whether or not this all feels like hocus pocus or not, one factor was plain to me as I edited this picture – elements of it regarded like they’d been oddly misplaced, disappeared, or airbrushed in, though it was .RAW straight from the digicam. I’m nonetheless a bit confused however I’m chalking it as much as Louie’s antics. I hope this picture did him proud in the long run.
Noel laughed and requested what I considered Lagaan, anticipating that I might have been underwhelmed, once I informed him it’s the primary place I visited in Siquijor.
I really cherished it! It’s not as huge or fashionable as a few of the different waterfalls, however that additionally makes it quite a bit much less crowded. There’s a rope swing, a pure ‘slide’ (which you’ll see behind me within the picture above), some cool caves behind the water’s veil, and a little bit climb-through. It prices 50 pesos to go to plus 10 to park the bike. A bit wealthy contemplating Cambugahay is simply 10 pesos however nonetheless, we’re solely speaking a couple of greenback.
Cambugahay is a three-tiered waterfall with three giant lagoons. The aquamarine colour, the refreshing water temperature on a sizzling day, and the best way the falls gently cascade over caves and light-weight brown rocks make it clear why that is the most well-liked spot on the island. It’s simply as magical as Siquijor itself.
There are rope swings and platforms to sit back on in addition to bamboo rafts on every degree of the falls. There’s additionally loads of room for swimming, although you’ll should share it with lots of people until you’re strategic along with your timing. I visited twice, as soon as round 11am and as soon as at 7am, and I’m positive you’ll be able to guess once I had the higher expertise. There was nearly no one else once I went early. Having these waterfalls all to your self is a deal with and a half!
I extremely advocate the kinilaw or tuna sisig for lunch at El Monte in Lazi afterwards. I’m nonetheless dreaming of it. Say hello to the (now) notorious Noel if he’s there sporting his cowboy hat.
Driving and Mangroves
A part of the enjoyment of Siquijor is driving a bike via it. The roads are principally clean and good to drive on and there’s hardly any site visitors. The few vehicles and motorbikes I did encounter had been conscientious, a pleasant distinction to the considerably aggravating roads and impolite huge vehicles on Lombok the week earlier than.
Even for those who’ve by no means pushed a bike earlier than, Siquijor is an efficient place to be taught. Leases run at 350 pesos per day together with a helmet. Something larger is a vacationer worth and you’ll haggle it down. You possibly can lease them in San Juan, Lazi, or immediately from the port.
Pictured above are some mangroves alongside the 15-minute drive from Lazi, the place the falls had been, to the subsequent spot, Salagdoong Seashore. Noel was shocked I used to be that excited a couple of bunch of mangroves however as he demonstrated along with his lack of enthusiasm about Lagaan Falls, it clearly takes quite a bit to impress him.
Salagdoong Seashore and Cliff Leap
Salagdoong Seashore is one other fan favourite and whereas not as attractive because the seashores of San Juan, it has two cliff jumps, one which’s 20 toes (6 meters) and one which’s 35 toes (11 meters) excessive, relying on the tide after all.
I did them each and the taller one is unquestionably extra enjoyable! Simply run and leap as a substitute of peering over and making an attempt to resolve whether or not you need to do it or not. I wouldn’t have been capable of if I hadn’t simply hurled myself over with out excited about it an excessive amount of.
The leap and seaside are a part of a resort. Entrance is 60 pesos with a obligatory Pink Cross donation included.
Search a Healer
As talked about within the intro, Siquijor is stuffed with healers and witches. Need to forged a curse on somebody? Siquijor is your house. Need to acquire a love potion? Look no additional.
If you’d like this expertise, the very first thing to do is speak to an area for those who can. See if you will get her or him to carry you to somebody reputable. Noel’s cousin is a healer, and I kindly requested him to assist me with an sickness I used to be affected by. After inserting two crystals in a glass of water and chanting over them and the crown of my head, he informed me to drink, and to imagine. That final half was vital. Sadly I nonetheless wanted one other spherical of antibiotics afterwards however it was nonetheless a cool expertise.
I spoke with one other traveler who did a smoke clearing ritual in the midst of the island with a people healer, which he gave me a reasonably excited evaluation of. You could find them here if it pursuits you.
Apo Island is the hotspot for those who’re into sea turtles. It’s additionally house to attractive corals and over 650 species of fish. You’ll discover loads of dive outlets in San Juan that can fortunately take you out on a day journey, or you’ll be able to really keep on the island and the price of dives drops significantly.
Most individuals keep in San Juan after they go to Siquijor, although I believe it’s finest damaged up into two areas, including in Lazi. There’s a variety of choices relying in your price range on Siquijor, although I can extremely advocate Xylla guesthouse for a pleasant clear place to remain in Lazi and Glamping Siquijor (pictured within the star picture above) for San Juan. Each are simple on the price range and a pleasant worth for a non-public room on the island.
You possibly can get $25 off your booking at both on booking.com with this coupon.
I hope this information helped you to attach not solely with the attractive locations in Siquijor, however the mystical facet of the island as effectively. It has a soul to it that you just simply can’t get to know until you go digging a little bit deeper. The entire spots talked about above are included on this Google Map in your reference:
On a private notice, I additionally completely adored the native friendliness. Children had been at all times saying hello, as had been the adults, smiling huge, real smiles and calling out heat greetings. It’s onerous to not fall in love with a spot like that, isn’t it?