Backpacking and Beyond · Islands and Isolation · Philippine Gems · Pretty Places · Travel Tales · World Lust

The Magic Of Siquijor

If there’s one thing I always have a hard time writing about, it’s usually about the places that I happen to love. The places that has become an instant favorite– the ones where it took one look for me to fall in love. Prior to blogging, I thought it would be easier to write about those, especially because I have so many wonderful things to say. But it turns out, there are places that are so beautiful it’s so difficult to put into words. Siquijor, a mystical island in the center of the Philippines, is no exception to that. (READ: An Intensive Analysis To Philippines’ Best Islands)

The name itself sounds so whimsical already. Siqujior (see-kee-whore), dubbed as Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) by the Spaniards in the 1500’s, has a certain magic surrounding the entire island. It was called the Island of Fire because back in that era, fireflies were known to light it up entirely, which can be seen illuminating the whole island as the boat approaches it. Imagine that.

Today, there are less fireflies. But the magic still remains.

After what seemed like a 12-hour journey that included a plane, a long bus ride, a couple of jeepney rides, and a ferry ride, it was pure bliss to catch sight of Siquijor’s port. Pristine, turquoise waters embellished the port as local children splashed around it. I’m used to dirty, greasy ports, but this one is an exception. It was clean and inviting, and if I wasn’t carrying a backpack, I would have jumped in myself. Though I was weighed down by my lack of sleep, I had nothing but pure excitement to explore such a beautiful place.

First impressions really do last, because 10 minute into the island and I was already head over heels in love. The harmony between the people and the place itself is indescribable. The perfectly lined up coconut trees goes so well with the beautiful ocean. There is a perfect balance that I can’t quite point my fingers at, but whatever it is, it makes up this peaceful arcadia. There seems to be no trouble, and people seem to have no problems at all. Everyone was kind, polite, warmhearted, and always willing to help. I might even go as far as saying that these might be the nicest community I’ve ever encountered.

Girl, Unspotted -- Siquijor

But here’s the irony. Siquijor has quite a dark reputation. Known as the voodoo island capital of the Philippines, Siquijor is famous for witchcraft and supernatural dark magic. And if I must confess, this is what drew me to journey to this place. This is actually what either attracts or repels visitors in the island. And you know what, it wasn’t hard to see the contrast between beauty and mystery– with old, rummaged graveyards right on the street, while the elaborate blue seas served as the background, I was enthralled and captivated by this island’s otherworldly charm.

It was as bonafide as it could get. There were no franchise stores or chain restaurants. Though the houses and structures are made of cement, they still appeared humble and rustic in their own way. There’s only one high end resort in the island, and I hope they keep it that way. I would hate for this island to become commercialized, ever. I love that they don’t have ATM’s. Or that jeepneys are rare and comes by on a schedule. And that there’s no 7-11 in every corner. Siquijor is completely mesmerizing the way it is. Simple, unpretentious, and almost untouched.

We searched around for evidences of witches and dark magic, but other than a mixture of herbs that serves as potions and souvenirs, we couldn’t find any. Instead, we found stunning tropical beaches. Quiet neighborhoods. Millions of stars in the night sky. A hidden waterfall tucked away in the jungle. The best local ceviche (kilawin) I’ve ever had. And kind, warmhearted people. We’ve been told that we must venture to the mountains if we want to dig deeper, but since we were lacking time, we decided to just indulge in Siquijor’s true beauty.

Truth is, when it comes down to it, there isn’t much to do in this island but to bask in its charm and to immerse in its sceneries. But that’s also what makes the island so precious. It’s so undeveloped and it’s rare to find places like this nowadays. Although it’s still somewhat a hidden gem to most, Siquijor is gradually becoming more known to travelers. But since there is no airport and getting here can be quite a journey, most people prefer to skip it. What a shameful mistake, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t make me happy. Less tourists, more beauty to preserve. So before the island gains even more popularity, I suggest making your way there. But do me a favor, keep it on the down low still.

To get to the island, you may take a flight to Dumaguete. From Dumaguete, hail a jeepney to the port. There are a bunch of ferries that goes to Siquijor, but get there as early as you can because they go on a tight schedule. If I remember correctly, it takes a little over an hour to reach Siquijor. You may also fly to Cebu City and take a bus to Sibulan port to reach Dumaguete.

Girl, Unspotted -- Siquijor

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31 thoughts on “The Magic Of Siquijor

  1. Siquijor is already an enchanted place and you made it more enchanting and mysterious by your use of a filter in your images. It really suited when you took the graveyard, made it more like zombies might appear on it. Very lovely place, it gives back memories whenever I see some picture from the place.


  2. What a beautiful island! I love the beach the most, it looks untouched by civilization. It’s definitely a good place to relax and unwind and just leave the worries the city brings.


  3. What an amazing looking place! I’ve never been to the Philippines, but I think what you say about Siquijor’s unspoilt beauty applies to other parts of the world as well. Activities and entertainment can be fun, but they often mean heavy interference with the natural beauty of a place – with landscapes like these, that would be such a shame! It looks like a perfect place to unplug and just take it all in


  4. Lovely photos! I’m like you – it’s not that easy to write about something you fell in love with. I have many pending travel posts ( lol ) but that’s because I want others to feel and see, even if through my words, how magical a certain place is. Anyways, I have yet to visit Siquijor but I have heard tons of great stories about how beautiful the place is.


  5. Thank you for showing how beautiful Siquijor was. Sometimes its reputation for the occult and mysterious gets in the way for some people. Although for some, this mystery is part of the attraction.


  6. Aaaaah! This makes me sad. I have been planning to go to Siquijor since College, and 10 years after, I still haven’t been there. Envious guy here. 😥 Glad to have read about it here though. Makes me rekindle the dream to visit the place.


  7. This place looks so magical! I can’t believe how clean and clear the water looks! We are thinking about heading to the Philippines when we leave Vietnam and are still sorting through our itinerary. It is great that tis place is still so untouched. The lack of even an ATM says a lot about keeping the masses out for now. Do you know if there is any diving in the area?


  8. Siqujior is so divine, I wish to go there but according to your post the journey there take 12-hour journey that included a plane, a long bus ride, a couple of jeepney rides, and a ferry ride kind of long.


  9. Isn’t it great how locals try to continue with a superstition just to sell silly things to visitors? This place doesn’t seen to need a gimmick. It’s really beautiful on it’s own.


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