I’ve always loved the month of December because of the special occasions we celebrate — Christmas, my dad’s birthday, year-end gatherings, and in a few days, New Year’s Eve. The month is brimming with activities and people are in high spirits.
This year’s festive season has been all the more special because of a trip I had with my sisters. (fondly, the Sizzums 🙂 ) About a week ago, we had an all-siblings trip in Siquijor! It was all fun and adventure as we spent 4 days and 3 nights on the island (thanks, mom and dad for the consent!).
Siquijor is a province located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It’s known to be a mystical island, surrounded by stories of enchantments and witchcraft. I don’t know much about those stories but what I do know – and what we were able to experience – is that Siquijor is a beautiful island that boasts of white-sand beaches, captivating attractions and friendly people. In this post, I wrote about the 10 tourist attractions we visited.
Hello, Siquijor! (1st Day)
To get to Siquijor, we flew from Manila to Dumaguete. Once in Dumaguete, we rented a van to take us to the port. We arrived at the port just in time for the 10 AM ferry trip.
After about an hour of travelling by boat, we finally reached Siquijor! The first thing I noticed as we got off the ferry was the blue-green color of the water. I then concluded that if the water by the port is this clean, the beaches must be beautiful!
That time, typhoon Urduja was traversing Visayas so the weather wasn’t really welcoming. Thankfully, the dismal weather only lasted for a day. By the next days, we were enjoying the sun and the cool breezy air. It was perfect.
We stayed at Casa Royal Beach Front and we spent the next hours catching up on sleep and charging up for tomorrow’s tour.
Ready for the Adventures (2nd day)
Start of our tour! For our first-day tour, we hired Mang Fely, the tricycle driver who fetched us from Siquijor port, to tour us around the island by tricycle. For the rate of P1,200 for 4 persons, we got to visit Capilay Spring Park, the Old Enchanted Balete Tree, Lazi Church and Convent, Cambugahay Falls and Salagdoong Beach.
1. Capilay Spring Park
Our first stop was Capilay Spring Park. The park has a huge pool of cool spring water. When I heard that we’re visiting a spring park, I thought we’d be checking out a spring within a forest. But this body of water is in the middle of the town plaza which is neat. You’d easily think it’s a normal swimming pool but don’t be fooled, for this spring is a natural one. There are also lots of trees surrounding the pool which can give you the relaxation and quiet that you need for a nice dip.
2. Old Enchanted Balete Tree
When we say Balete, thoughts of kapre and white lady instantly come to my mind. These stem from the scary stories I hear that involve this type of tree. The Old Enchanted Balete Tree in Lazi, Siquijor is said to be 400 years old and has its own share of enchanting folktales. Today though, it’s more of a famous stopover for tourists who want to unwind by having a fish spa.
It was my first time to try this type of spa. Dipping my feet was scary at first especially when I saw big fish about to chip dead skin off my feet. Haha. But it turned out that they’re gentler than the small fish. After a while, I got used to the tickles.
3. Lazi Church
Our next stop was the San Isidro Labrador Parish Church or more commonly known as the Lazi Church. Built in 1884 by Filipino artisans and under the supervision of the Augustinian Recollects, the Lazi Church is one of the oldest churches on the island of Siquijor. Wow. And when we talk about old structures here in the Philippines, we usually think of architecture reminiscent of the Spanish era, which always piques interest.
4. Lazi Convent
Just opposite the Lazi Church is the Lazi Convent. Having its own historical value, the convent was built in 1891 and is one of the biggest in the country.
Both the Lazi Church and Convent were declared National Historical Landmarks.
5. Cambugahay Falls
Time to get wet! About two kilometers from Lazi Church and Convent is the Cambugahay Falls. The falls is one of the most popular attractions in Siquijor. It’s three-tiered, each level unique on its own. As we were walking 135 steps down the stairs, the sound of the falls became louder and soon, picturesque bluish water came into sight. I suddenly got excited to swim!
And how do people usually start swimming here? By swinging from a rope and plunging straight into the water! My sisters and I took turns doing this and we felt like Tarzan. We also had a thrilling time swimming to the back of the falls.
6. Salagdoong Beach
Our last stop for the day was Salagdoong Beach which has cliff diving as its main attraction. Climb a 35-foot cliff and slide your way into the water or jump off high diving platforms! Gulp. The diving platforms were 20 and 35 feet high. I’ve done cliff diving in Boracay (20 ft. high, I think) before but I didn’t have the guts to do it again. Haha.
Since none of us four were brave enough to cliff dive that high, we left the activity to the bolder ones and swam to the other side of the sea where bamboo rafts and unicorn floats awaited. Ah, that’s more like it. #titas
Be sure to wear swimming shoes because the shallow part of the water is full of rocks and corals.
A Mix of Chill and Thrill (3rd Day)
The next day, we had our tour via mini van. Our tour (P1,500) comprised of visits to Mt. Bandilaan, Cantabon Cave, Lugnason Falls and Paliton Beach.
7. Mt. Bandilaan Mountain View Park
From Casa Royal Beach Front, we travelled for 30 minutes to Mt. Bandilaan Mountain View Park. Upon arriving, we made our way up to the viewing decks. We were the only visitors at that time so we had the viewing decks to ourselves. Mang Rudy, our tour driver, told us that people usually flock to the mountain during Holy Week and that it’s a nice time to be there as marching bands and parades liven up the place.
After checking out the view, we rode the van and moved to a higher viewing deck. This time, we had to climb a steel tower to check the scenery past obscuring trees. The height was enough to induce acrophobia. Haha. But seeing the view made the climb worthwhile.
8. Cantabon Cave
After the chill Mountain View Park came the action-packed Cantabon Cave. This was one challenging activity! We trekked the whole 800-meter long cave — and back — crouching, ducking low-hanging rocks (wearing helmets is required) and slipping into tiny spaces in the process. It was arduous but exhilarating.
Expect a wet tour in Cantabon Cave. The path near the entrance was just damp but as we explored deeper into the cave, it became wetter and soon we were walking through running water, mini waterfalls and the most wonderful part of it all – a mini swimming pool! The limestones and rock formations were also sights to behold. We had to stop every now and then to take pictures. Haha.
I highly advise you to wear swimming clothes and rubber footwear when exploring this cave so you won’t have to worry about getting your clothes wet and muddy. Don’t be like me who was clueless and who wore white maong shorts.
9. Lugnason Falls
I’ve seen a couple of waterfalls before but didn’t have the opportunity to swim in any of it. So I was happy that I got to do it (twice!) for the first time in Siquijor. By the time we reached Lugnason Falls though, I was already tired from the trek we had in Cantabon Cave but the waterfall was so inviting it would be a shame not to have a swim.
In Cambugahay Falls, I’m not sure if people can jump from the top of the falls because I didn’t see anyone doing it. But you can definitely do it here in Lugnason Falls. It was fun watching some locals jump off and do stunts.
10. Paliton Beach
Indeed, Siquijor has beautiful beaches. The sand was white and the water aquamarine and clear. The last beach that we had the pleasure of chilling at was Paliton Beach. Locals and visitors alike dub it as the Little Boracay because of the long stretch of fine white-sand beach, the line of palm trees and the clear blue water.
We arrived at Paliton Beach at around 3 PM but it wasn’t scorching hot, to our delight, so we settled to a spot and let the time pass and just admired the view.
Because of the notion that Siquijor is home to many sorcerers, some people may have second thoughts on visiting the place. To be honest, because of this popular belief, I was more careful of my actions while touring the place. Wouldn’t want anybody getting upset for any reason, you know. Same with my sisters.
But conceptions aside, people were actually nice and helpful. Like when one night, when my sisters and I had trouble getting back to our resort because there wasn’t any tricycle in sight anymore, a man on his motorbike helped us get a ride by going back to the way he came and went back to us escorting a tricycle. Or when we attended the Sunday mass but couldn’t see available seats anymore, an old man gave up his so all four of us could share one bench. Those were some of the nice gestures we experienced.
So the beautiful sights, the nice people, the bonding moments with my sisters and the adventures! – these made my stay in Siquijor wonderfully memorable. 🙂
[Video: Our Siquijor Trip]
Tour via tricycle (4 persons) – P1,200
Old Enchanted Balete Tree
fish spa – P10
swing (unlimited) – P20
parking/entrance fee – P115
bamboo raft – P50/person
float – P200/person
Tour via mini van – 1,500
first 3 persons for P500 (with 2 tour guides), additional fee of P100 each for 3 persons and above
helmet w/ light – P30
foreigner – P20
Filipino – P10