If you are planning to visit some quality places in the Philippines, on this holiday season, add Siquijor in your list. I asked my friend Ayun, what are the best places to visit in Siquijor? as he visited the same last year.
Below are some locations he told us not to miss.
Most elderly Filipinos believe that the island is home of manananggals and mangkukulams. The island had a reputation of being mysterious, elders warned that those who go to the island never come back. As soon as you see the island, you’ll know that they were right. Once you experience the island paradise you’ll never want to leave.
Getting to Siquijor is a bit of a challenge since it’s only accessible by sea. From Manila, A word of caution though: you’ll want to consider motion sickness medicine prior to boarding the ferry since the whole journey lasts about an hour.
Since he was part of a group travel service, everything had already been taken care of. However, if you’re planning a visit to the island, it has a variety of resorts fit for different kinds of tourists. The staff there is also extremely friendly.
As the third smallest province in the country, you could very well visit a majority of the island’s tourist spots in a single day. However, he highly discourages that since you’ll definitely need quite a while to fully enjoy the sights. He recommends taking at least three days to enjoy the island.
For regular tourists, there are tricycles for hire and scooters for rent around the island. If you’re in a big group we suggest booking a tour package with your resort.
Since Siquijor is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the country, most of its tourist spots are the pristine beaches. One of the most well known is Salagdoon Beach with its turquoise waters and white sand. You’ll want to visit this beach in the afternoon during high tide to experience diving in its waters.
Centuries-Old Balete Tree
Nothing is more mystical and supernatural in Filipino mythology than the Balete tree. Widely believed to house spirits, it’s no wonder that the tree is often revered and respected especially in the provinces. Siquijor’s centuries-old Balete Tree is no exception. When visiting the tree make sure to wear slippers or easy to remove footwear to experience the fish spa underneath its shade. Afterwards, you can buy souvenirs at the shops beside it, or enjoy a snack at the nearby restaurant.
San Isidro Labrador Parish (Lazi Church)
The San Isidro Labrador Parish, or most commonly known as the Lazi Church is a sight to behold. The church was first built in 1857, but the current structure is from 1882 and was constructed with a mixture of sea stones and wood. The church is among the few remaining grand Spanish churches in the Philippines and has been called one of the best in the country. The church was also declared a national cultural treasure by the National Museum in 2001. Stop by to take in the architecture and maybe say a little prayer while you’re at it.
If you’re going to Siquijor, don’t forget to embrace its spiritual vibes. If you want a tourist experience of the mystical side, be sure to drop by Hapitanan cafe and take a picture with their flying broomstick. After posing for the picture you can have some light snacks by the cafe or buy your souvenirs from them. You can even buy some potions from them, though be careful what you wish for.
Apart from the gorgeous beaches all around the island, the most untouched forests also house some of the island’s greatest secrets. Among these is Cambugahay Falls, small waterfalls whose clean and clear waters are perfect for a swim, don’t forgot to take your shampoo for swimmers and swim caps. If you’re adventurous, be sure to try the Tarzan swings. Otherwise, just stay for a nice refreshing dip in the water.
Siquijor is not all about nature. The island is also home to some of the oldest churches in the country. Some of these churches retain their Spanish elements and are still being used to this day. One of the largest and oldest in the is the Lazi Convent and Church. The Lazi Convent used to house the Augustinian Recollects and was one of the largest in Asia during its heyday. Now the structure houses the Siquijor Heritage Museum which features old religious artefacts.
After seeing his photographs I can say that Siquijor is definitely one of the most gorgeous islands that you ever visit.