Siquijor (see-kee-whore) isn’t for the basic traveler. Despite intimidating tourists with its reputation on dark magic and witches, it’s also an island that takes courage to travel to. But if you’re considering it, then you must have heard that the true magic of the island isn’t found within the abode of the witches, but instead, it lies within the island itself. It’s a paradise– an untouched one. And before everybody else ruins its authenticity, I suggest you go now.
How To Get To Siquijor
Siquijor is by far my favorite island in the Philippines. But it was a pain in the ass to get to. It didn’t had to be though, and that’s why I’m writing this guide– to make it easier for you.
To avoid longer travel time, here’s what you need to do. Fly into Dumaguete Airport instead of Cebu City. You’ll save a few hours that way. Once you reach Dumaguete, you’ll head into the port and get on one of the ferries to Siquijor. It takes an hour to get there. The trips are limited and lines can get long. So plan ahead to avoid wasting time.
Alternatively, you can fly into Cebu, but it will take longer. From Mactan Airport, you’ll have to take a cab to South Bus Terminal. Take the bus that will bring you to Samboan (Liloan Port). Take a short 20-minute boat ride to Dumaguete, and from there, take a tricycle or a jeep to the other port that will bring you to Siquijor. Obviously the longer route, but if you’re interested in exploring Cebu City first, then this might work just right for you.
One of the best things about Siquijor is its authenticity. There are no chain resorts that lines up the beach unlike the constantly crowded White Beach of Boracay. There is one big hotel though– Coco Grove. The rest of your choices are family owned resorts/inns and they’re pretty damn cheap. We stayed at a brand new one (forgot the name, oops) for 1100php/night for three people. It’s a comfortable room complete with airconditioning and a tv. The best part though is the Henny shots they sold for 60php each.
There are plenty of accommodations you’ll find all over the island. The instant you get out of the ferry, head over the tourist information area for a list of inns and resorts in the island. The popular choices are along the beaches of San Juan and many of them also offer tents and would let you camp in front of the beach.
There are motorbikes for rent all over the island. It’s the cheapest and most convenient option, starting at 350php a day. However, none of us knew how to drive one at the time so we opted for tricycles. Fare depends on where you’re going, but if you’re in it for a tour around the island, it’ll cost you 1k for a day.
If there’s one other thing Siquijor is becoming seeked after by travel thirsty people like me, it’s their beaches. San Juan beach is known for its white sands and clear water, but sadly, we caught it at the wrong time at low tide so I didn’t get to witness its original island charm. Salagdoong Beach on the other hand is gorgeous. It’s a popular one so don’t expect to find it empty and quiet. There’s a cliff jumping area where you could dive into the turquoise blue water (just gorgeous), but I was feeling a bit wussy that afternoon. There are many other beautiful beaches all around the island and I’m sure with your motorbike, you’ll discover unspoiled ones. Even the pier itself is incredibly turquoise and clear!
Aside the pristine beaches that Siquijor boasts of, the island is also blessed with other sites to see that will satiate the nature loving freak in you. Cambugahay Falls, for instance, is a gorgeous waterfall tucked in the middle of the jungle. The swimming hole’s alluring turquoise water will tempt every bit of you to jump in. I loved that there’s a swinging rope that will let you play around tropical style. And as you savor each and every bit of your moment, might as well indulge in a fresh coconut juice as well. Go early though to catch the falls at its best.
Another incredible site not to be missed in Siquijor is the century old banyan tree. Banyan trees, locally known as Balete, are believed to be home of supernatural creatures, specifically dwende (dwarves). Not that the island isn’t mystical enough, but the enchanted setting and the whimsical appearance of the tree itself will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. The bottom of the tree is surrounded in a pool filled with those huge fish that eats dead skin, so you get a free fish spa too. It’s a little iffy in the beginning, but I actually really loved the concept of the fish spa in the end.
What To Eat
Food in Siquijor is relatively cheap. There are resorts that also has restaurants along the beach, but if you’re not too picky, there are also cheaper alternatives all over the island. We stayed near the town center and there’s a bunch of local spots that serves cheap food. Most nights, we ate lechon manok (roasted chicken). For less than 100php, it definitely satiated our hunger and appetite.
But one thing you must not miss in Siquijor is the kilawin in Salagdoong beach! Holy wow. Kilawin is basically the Filipino ceviche but they serve it differently in the Visayas area– it’s a bit milky from the coconut sap that they use. Seriously, it was a new taste that my palate was grateful to know about.
The truth of the matter is, it didn’t feel like I was surrounded with dark magic like Siquijor is known for. Instead of scary witches, I saw warm hearted people with their beauty and kindness radiating contagiously. Instead of frightening nights, I witnessed the most serene starry evenings. And instead of darkness, all I experienced were bright, vivid days.
If you want to research actual dark magic within the island, I was told you’d have to go into the mountains. But other than potions in a bottle sold as souvenirs, that’s pretty much the only hint of dark magic I’ve witnessed. But like I said in the beginning, the island itself is what’s truly magic. You’ll see it before your ferry even docks.
Hey! Are we connected on Facebook yet? Can we connect right now so I can keep you updated with my latest travel tales and hacks?! I aim to inspire and you can find all that goodies on my Instagram and Twitter too. See you there 🙂