Islands and Beaches
"Voodoo Island" Siquijor: What Makes Siquijor More Enchanting Beyond The Magic & Sorcery
Tess Flores | Jul 11, 2017
Siquijor, located in the Central Visayas region, is the third smallest province in the Philippines. It used to be a sub-province of Negros Oriental and only became an independent province on the year 1971. Once called as the Island of Fire, Siquijor is known for its mystic traditions up to now which is said to have helped its tourism industry grow.
Being known as such, an island of magic and sorcery, Siquijor has both attracted and repulsed visitors through the years. And with the word sorcery, what else comes to mind upon hearing that? -- the old folks performing rituals while singing incantations, voodoo dolls, potion-making, and different kinds of healing oils made from weird ingredients like plant leaves or roots, or insects
But aside from all of that, there are many other things which make Siquijor far more magical. Want to know more? Then keep reading!
How To Get There:
Coming from Manila, our group booked the flight to Dumaguete - Sibulan airport via Cebu Pacific Air. And of course, we booked it way ahead when the price is cheap. Cebu Pacific often offers seat sale for domestic destinations all year round, you just have to be vigilant of it. PAL also flies to Dumaguete. Our flight was scheduled 7 AM and we arrived on Sibulan airport around 8:25 AM. From the Sibulan airport, you can choose from tricycle, taxi, or van to take you or your group to Sibulan port. Since the six of us can fit on a tricycle, we chose it as it is the cheapest option for 150 Php. It took us about 30 minutes tricycle ride to Sibulan port.
We bought ferry tickets from OceanJet, booth is located outside the port. They have daily schedule of trips from Dumaguete to Siquijor and back.
Dumaguete - Siquijor
- 7:20 AM
- 9:40 AM
- 12:30 PM
- 4:00 PM
Siquijor - Dumaguete
- 8:30 AM
- 11:00 AM
- 1:40 PM
- 5:10 PM
Fare costs 230 Php for tourist class and 380 Php for business class. Surely you know which one we bought. We took the 9:40 AM trip and arrive on Siquijor at around 10:30 AM. Siquijor has one of the cleanest and most organized port I've been so far. Beach just outside the port is already enticing.
For the list of other ferry schedules and fares, check out HappyPhilippines.org page.
What Siquijor Has Offered Us In A Day
Since we have pre-arranged tour, someone's already waiting for us at the port. Before this trip, we spent time looking for the cheapest tour package we can get since our schedule only allows us technically just half a day to explore the island. The tour packages for groups usually ranged from 2000 to 4000 Php for 8 hours depending on your chosen means of transportation. Choices are tricycle, van, or multi-cab. If you know how to ride a motorbike, you can also rent one.
Most solo travelers who knows how to ride usually choose this option. We took the multi-cab, with Kuya Dennis as our driver/tour guide, for 1800 Php. Still cheaper than most of what we've searched. You may contact him at 09361107863. I won't be putting his name and contact number here if his service was something not worth recommending.
We checked-in at Casa Royal Beach Front Resort. A room for six costs us 3000 Php for a night.
There are lots of accommodations in Siquijor. You can choose from affordable backpacking inns to various hotels depending on your preference and/or budget. If you think Casa Royal fits your choice, here's the contact number: 09177009097.
Our Siquijor road trip started after we had lunch. First stop: Paliton Beach in San Juan. It is indeed one of the most stunning beaches in the island despite not being maintained or developed yet. With the fine white sands, serene blue waters, people chilling under the swaying coconut tree shades, Paliton Beach is like Siquijor's mini Boracay.
Since we wanted to make the most of the remaining time and explore more in the island, we did not stay that long there. Kuya Dennis then drove us to Capilay Spring Park, a spring pool in the city, also in San Juan.
There was a group of kids enjoying a plunge in the pool when we arrived. The spring park is surrounded by large trees which provide shades to visitors. You have to pay 30 Php before using the spring pool. We skipped the swimming part, took few photos, then on to next destination: the century-old enchanted balete tree located in the municipality of Lazi.
This balete tree is believed to be over 400 years old. And it has a fish spa on a natural spring at its base. How wondrous is that!
We paid an entrance fee of 10 Php then enjoyed having our feet cleaned by the doctor fishes. The fishes there are uncommonly bigger, and not all are doctor fish. There are some cichlid fishes, locally known as Tilapia. And they are not only swimming there but also biting our feet. How weird is that, thinking that we eat tilapia...
There are also souvenir shops around the location.
With the rejuvenated feet, we're on the road again. This time to a church, the San Isidro Labrador Parish Church or simply the Lazi Church and Convent. It is known to be one of the oldest churches in the island, also located in the municipality of Lazi.
Also in Lazi, we had a stop-over at this road with an amazing overlooking view.
After taking tons of pictures, we hit the road again to one of the must-visit spots in Siquijor, the Cambugahay Falls. This is also under the municipality of Lazi.
There, we paid a total of 80 Php for parking fee and guide before taking the 135 stone steps down to the falls.
Cambugahay Falls has three levels. Visitors try cliff-jumping, just know first where are the safe spots to do that to avoid accidents. For 20 Php (locals) and 30 Php (foreigners), you can also try using a vine and be like Tarzan as you jump to the waters for as long as you want.
Here's where we stayed the longest before we headed to another known beach in the island, the Salagdoong Beach in Maria.
On the way there, you'll pass through Salagdoong Forest Reserve. It is a man-made molave forest. You can only imagine fairies and other mystical creatures residing there.
For a fee of Php 30 each, Salagdoong beach offers, not just the chill beach vibe, but also thrills for the adrenaline junkies out there. You can try cliff-jumping, slide your way down to the waters, or try both.
From there, Kuya Dennis then took us to the Boulevard in Talingting, Enrique Villanueva. We just have a quick stop-over, took few photos there, as it was already nearing sunset and we still have a spot to visit.
Then we went to Guiwanon Spring Park last, a marine and mangrove sanctuary located at the capital of Siquijor which is also named Siquijor. It has an entrance fee of 10 Php. The park has elevated wooden pathways and rentable cottages for those who want to stay overnight.
And that's how we toured Siquijor Island for just a day, got hypnotized and fell in love with it for more or less 1700 Php (excluding airfare and food expenses). We know we missed a lot of spots but those are our reasons to be back. We might as well try visiting a healer next time.