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S Had Me At Hello

“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.

Posted 4 years, 11 months ago at 7:47 pm.

49 comments

49 Replies

  1. Ang ganda! Gusto ko din mapuntahan yan.. Buti pa si Guyito nakapunta na jan.. Hihi 😀

  2. Uwi ka muna at mag-spend ng summer dito 🙂

  3. oh wow… makes me really feel even prouder of my beloved Pinas and then at the same time I feel bad that I am not able to visit as much places in the Philippines when I was still there. Banyaga sa sariling bayan – that’s me!

    Spanish Pinay

  4. Hi SP! The Philippines is just waiting, and she willalways be happy to embrace you when you come and visit again. There is a lot of time to explore Pinas 😉

  5. A certified wanderlust. I’ll have to backread and see the other places you’ve been to. Never been to Siquijor. I was in Dumaguete a few years ago and my friends were planning to go and see Siquijor. It always remained a plan. Your post is very encouraging: you portrayed the island in a different light. Maupay ini para sa mga lalag, Ms. N. Hi to Guyito.

  6. Were you in Dumaguete for a writing workshop in Siliman? 🙂

    Damo nga salamat. Diri makaharadok ak post kay di man ngay-an makaharadok didto 😉 Hi liwat kuno sa im bagaw ni Guyito. Ngan salamat kay Ms.N ak dinhi para sa imo hehehe

  7. Hahaha! Bakaning man kay nag-istorya kit sa writing workshop. It was job related, it but had nothing to do with the famous workshops of SU. Siyempre, Ms. N. gad. Maupay man gihapon an sinusugad nga secret. Haha! Maupay nga kulop.

  8. lovely photos, miss n. dan and i went to this island a couple of years go. the serenity is bewitching! 🙂

  9. Thanks, Kikit! Indeed, bewitching! What gave chill to my spine while I was there was not the rumors about the island but the fear that someday the island may become another abused and touristy destination. Wag sana.

  10. Hi Ms. N, the last time I visited Siquijor was during the Holy Week, and it was quite an experience regarding their traditions.

    Love the mangroves shot.

    I am from Dumaguete, and I hoped you had a wonderful visit of the City of Gentle People!

  11. Mommy Ebie, I would have loved to witness the Good Friday traditions of the healers in the island.

    Taga-Dumaguete ka po pala. I sure had a great time there. Hope to be back soon!

  12. buti si stufftoy (sino nga iyan?) sinama mo…ako hindi! hehehe

  13. Si Guyito yan, Empi. Si Guyito ang isinama ko kasi libre lagi ang pamasahe niya hehehe

  14. buti pa si guyito oh, pa-chill chill lang! may guyita na ba sya? hihi

  15. hahaha! wala, Jayvie. Wala siyang Guyita. Mana siya sa akin, walang Mr. N hahaha!

  16. Totoo nga na mangkukulam ang Siquijor. Mangkukulam sa ganda ng tanawin.

    Akalain mo ‘yon, si Guyito..pumapasyal na din.

  17. “Totoo nga na mangkukulam ang Siquijor. Mangkukulam sa ganda ng tanawin.”>>>Like! Like! Like!

    Opo, pasyalero na rin siya. At super nag-i-enjoy siya sa biyahe. Siguro simula ngayon, ang pangalan niya’y magiging Guyito Biyahero 😉

  18. May nakapagsabi sa akin na kaya daw pinalaganap ang chismis na maraming mangkukulam sa Siquijor ay dahil pinoprotektahan ng mga tao dito ang magagandang tanawin nila, na yaman nila. Ayaw nilang ma-pollute. Mukhang naniniwala na ako sa chismis na ‘to!

  19. Malamang, Salbe, malamang hindi nga tsismis yan kundi katotohanan talaga 🙂 Dahil kung ako naman taga-Siquijor, pangangalagan ko ang isla ko sa abot ng aking makakaya.

  20. .. just beautiful! ngayon ko lang nakita si guyito, pakilala mo naman ako sa kanya. 😀

  21. Thanks, Rob! Hi daw sabi ni Guyito 🙂

  22. kainggit naman si guyito buti pa siya nakapapasyal. aabangan ko ang next trip ni guyito. teka ms n bakit almost lang?bat di natuloy ang pagkayak ni guyito?

  23. Ang next trip ni Guyito ay sa Mindanao, Jaid 😉 Di siya nag-kayak kasi bigat daw yung sagwan, mas malaki pa sa kanya hehehe

  24. hello, Nortehanon,

    kainaman ang ganda! ang ganda pati ng pagkakwento mo, bukod sa kahali-halinang pictures. hala, ba’t ako andito habang ika’y andyan sa ganyan kagandang lugar? ^^ naman…

    pasaway si guyito, laging nak-posing ng husay – he seems to be enjoying his summer, the brat. ^_^ maligayang tag-araw! 🙂

  25. Hello rin sa ‘yo 🙂

    Maraming salamat po sa nakakataba ng damdamin na mga salita. Hmn, wala naman po yun sa kung nasaan tayo 😀

    Nangiti ako sa “brat” si Guyito. Sabi po niya, maligayang tag-araw din sa ‘yo!

  26. wow, its so beautiful there! wish I can go there too!

  27. Hi Dinah! Go na! Dami namang promo plane fares eh 😉

  28. Seemed like you had a great trip in Siquijor. You made me change my mind regarding the witches and Guyito’s picture on the kayak really made me want to visit the place. I love the color of the water.

  29. I sure had a great time, Sey. Dalawin mo rin and Siquijor 😉

  30. ooohh! so you’ve been to my father’s birthplace! i’ve been to the island of fire (Siquijor) so many times, during vacation, when school’s out, even if we live in the southern part of the country, we made sure that my siblings and i spend our summer in Lazi! there, my grandpa would teach us Mathematics! ugghhh! but we had so much fun then! the last time i went there, i tagged along my little boy, my grandparents were so happy to see their first-ever apo! thanks so much for describing Siquijor in such beautiful ways! thanks for dropping by my blog too! and oh, that Guyito… he’s/she’s a cutie! 🙂

  31. Hi Hazel,
    Happy to have a Siquijoanon here 😉 Those sure are great memories with your grandfather. Can relate with your story about Mathematics lol.

    Guyito says thank you for telling him he’s acutie. He’s flattered 🙂

  32. lovely place for a vacay. I feel pride for Siquijor with their paved roads, I hope more roads will be built for Philippines provinces. It is a sign of progress.

  33. Yeah, I had also hoped for it when I wasin Siquijor, Carla.Sa probinsya ko kasi, marami pang hindi magagandang roads.

    Salamat sa muling pagbisia, Carla. Na-miss kita 😉

  34. Haha, katuwa si Guyito, nakakapasyal na, binabati pa ng lahat, kainggit…hahaha!

    Kaya pala naipo-promote na Siquijor ngayon, ganda na ng lugar, ganda pa ng daan, ayos! Sana makarating din ako dyan, hay kelan kaya? Kelangan maghagilap ng promo fare…hehe.

  35. Hehehe nag-i-enjoy si Guyito sa mga greetings.

    Yes, maganda ang lugar at sana ay ma-maintain na ganun. I feared for abuse of the environment when I was there, but I am hoping that the people of Siquijor will not let it happen.

    Maraming promos naman eh. Abang ka ng promoto Dumaguete. It’s easier and more convenient than going the Cebu route.

  36. Miss N! Ang galing mo naman mag-relay ng istorya.. parang gusto ko tuloy puntahan yung convent. Do you know if it’s still a functioning convent today?

    I envy your travels. Enjoy your summer!!

  37. Inang! Na-miss po kita! Salamat sa muling pagdalaw. Puntahan mo po yung convent, though parang hindi na siya convent ngayon.School na siya (yun ang nakita ko sa karatulang nakakabit doon).

    I am enjoying summer, Inang. I really am kahit na nga sobrang init hehehe

  38. Ang ganda ng S at iyong photos Miss N. Kumpleto pa sa istorya. Someday kapag redi na akong mag-travel dyan ay babalikan ko ang iyong mga post. Salamat for sharing. God Bless!

  39. Hi Lolo Jem, yes, the island is really beautiful. WHen you go back to the Philippines, you should visit Siquijor. God bless, too, Lolo Jem.

  40. Siquijor’s port is one of the prettiest small ports I’ve seen in Pinas. Another is Bantayan port. I miss S!

  41. Hi Gay,
    I haven’t been to Bantayan but I’ve been planning to. And I hope I could also visit Camotes.

    Thanks for the visit.

  42. Wow – what paradise you live in! Lovely shots.

  43. Thanks for the visit and for your kind words, Ladyfi. Yes, I do live in paradise.Well, my home country is paradise to me 😉

  44. A wonderful country you are living in! =) And the color of the sea, so beautiful! Many lovely photos! 🙂 And a gorgeous fall, oh it would be great fun to take a bath there, or only to watch the water fall itself! 🙂

  45. Indeed, Viola. My country is beautiful 🙂 And yours, too!

  46. Wow, great pictures Miss N! And it seems you were in a row, being able to visit I all those places in a day… Naghabal-habal lang kayo?

    I have been longing to visit Siquijor again… Been there in 2007… Medyo matagal na… And the travel was quite tiring – we had to be in Oslob by 6AM (meaning leaving Cebu by around 3AM)… In Dumaguete by 7AM, then in Siquijor by around 10AM… We rode the usual 2-hour boat…

    Sunsets there are spectacular lalo na kung nasa taas ka ng bundok… Sadly though, ako lang ang photographer sa grupo, and when I requested to stop, hindi ako napagbigyan kasi nagmamadali… Hay… The more I appreciate how unencumbered it is to travel alone… But I digress… Hehehe….

    At feel na feel ni Guyito ang summer heat!

  47. Thanks, Mark! It was too hot I feared I might get migraine attacks so we took a tricycle. Good thing is that there is now available tariff rates sa isang maliit na office just right outside the port.

    Bisita na uli sa Siquijor, Mark. She is waiting for you. Masarap kumuha ng pictures dun. If only we weren’t in a hurry. I promised myself I would visit the province again and stay there for a few days.

    Cebu rin and entry point namin. We had to complete out mission in Cebu first then we proceeded to Dumaguete. We decided to visit S on the next day.

    Napa-smile ako sa experience mo about being with people na hindi photographer. Siguro sadyang mahirap maintindihan ng iba yung itch na nararamdaman ng fingers to click the shutter:) Yung habang nagmamadali sila,ikaw naman gusto mo slow down muna para makuhanan ang kung anong nakita mong interesting.

    Yes, feel na feel niya ang summer.Nagka-sunburn siya hahaha!

  48. you and mark share the same gift.

  49. 🙂 Siguro nga po.Salamat. Mas magaling si Mark sa akin at mas matiyaga at mas maraming oras para kumuha ng litrato haha!


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