“Daddy, Daddy, the water is torquoise! Look, the water is torquoise!”
A little girl’s excitement had woken me up. I had fallen asleep although the ferry ride from Dumaguete was only 45 minutes. I looked out the window but couldn’t see much. Delta Fast Craft’s glass windows were tinted. But the little girl, an American, seemed to be so sure of what she was seeing.
“The water is torquoise! It’s torquoise!” the little girl kept saying.
And she was right. The island’s torquoise waters, placid as a lake that day, greeted us. And as I walked away from the port to haggle with enthusiastic habal-habal drivers, I knew that the island had already cast its spell upon me.
The enchanting Siquijor island beckons to the traveler. It can be reached easily from Dumaguete and Cebu by sea. It has six towns: Siquijor (its capital), San Juan, Maria, Lazi, Larena, and Enrique Villanueva. With just a 75-kilometer circumferential road, most of the province’s attractions can be reached in a day by habal-habal or tricycle. You will notice that Siquijor has good cemented roads.
Start your tour by visiting the shores of Siquijor town. Yes, the capital town of the province is also named Siquijor. (But don’t linger if you are only on a day tour.) It is blessed with lovely beaches and coves.
Proceed to the town of San Juan which is about fifteen kilometers from Siquijor. Its main attraction is the Capilay’s Spring Park where a pool with emerald spring waters is located. Try taking a refreshing dip especially if you are not in a hurry to catch the last ferry trip. It’s free anyway 😉
Just a few minutes ride from Capilay’s Spring Park is the centuries-old Balete tree, considered to be the oldest in the province. Beside it is a small natural pool. Some locals were bathing and washing clothes when we arrived.
From San Juan, ask your driver to take you to Cambugahay Falls in the town of Lazi.
To get to the falls, you have to walk down a series of concrete steps.
Cambugahay falls have three levels. The first level, though lacking in stunning cascade and remarkable drop, is the deepest which makes it excellent for swimming. While we were there, locals were having fun jumping off from nearby trees and diving into the waters.
Go up a little more and you’ll find the other two levels. They are not as deep as the first level but they are still good to photograph. Too bad, I didn’t bring a tripod with me and it was so bright (Photographing falls is ideal on overcast days).
Also in Lazi are two National Historical Shrines: the St. Isidore convent and the parish church.
I have read that this convent is one of the largest built in the colonial times. It was intended as a place for rest and recreation of the friars. It has beautiful windows. I couldn’t help but notice the rusty corrugated roof and admire how the edifice has withstood time. I wondered what stories it would tell me if only the walls could talk 🙂
The parish church of St. Isidore stands proudly amidst stately acacia trees. It is already old but it was built to withstand time. It has thick walls and log posts are embedded in them.
By this time, you must be hungry already. So it is best to proceed to Salagdoong Beach Resort where there’s a simple restaurant. It was very hot when we got there so I immediately ordered for a glass of banana shake. No, make that 2 glasses 🙂
Salagdoong Beach is located in the town of Maria. Though it is being maintained by the provincial government, it is a far cry from other government-maintained beaches I’ve been to. It has nice huts and cabanas. It has a pool. And I noticed there was an ongoing construction of beach cottages.
Enjoy swimming in Salagdoong or rent a kayak. Guyito almost went kayaking. Almost 🙂 Perhaps to celebrate his first out-of-town trip.
No rumors about witches, black magic, and deadly potions should keep one from visiting the island. Siquijor is beautiful, peaceful, and enchanting. It will always cast its spell on all its visitors. And as it did to me, it will also have you even at hello.