Behold the mystique island paradise of the Southern Visayas region—Siquijor. An island full of nature’s pristine bounty and beauty, captivating marine treasures and serene views. This island garnered and still wears its title being the “Isla del Fuego” or the Island of Fire dubbed by the Spanish explorers dating back 1565 during Miguel Lopez de Legaspi’s expidition. The island was observed by the Spaniards to have noticeable orb-like glow from fireflies from its virgin forest trees thus, they tagged it the island of fire. Despite its magnificence, few local tourists reached this island due to local folk tales about superstitions and eerie mysteries about supernatural beings guarding the island. Good news is the island offers absolute and quality virgin landscapes since a few tourists reached the island and overcrowding is never an issue.
To get to Siquijor, our team departed from Cebu City to Lilo-an, Santander Port via bus and waited for a ferry to transport the bus were riding on to Dumaguete. Along the way, you also witness scenic views of the southern part of Cebu before bidding a momentous goodbye to the metro. From Dumaguete, an hour of ferry ride needs to be taken to reach the destination and while waiting, you can take a brief stroll at Dumaguete’s Boardwalk as it is near the port. From a distance, you can easily spot the island because of its lush green forest, glimmering blue waters and enthralling white sands. The route we took was longer but it is the easiest and cheapest way of getting there. In addition, you can also catch a ferry ride direct from Cebu to Larena, Siquijor thru Lite Ferries, However, the ship departs 01:00 PM every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and arrives at 11:30 PM same day.
After leaving the port, one of the oldest churches greet you, not only that, you can also dine at a few dining establishments nearby or charter a motorbike to get you to destinations you can stop by while staying in the island.
The team cruised along scenic views and stopped at a few spots along the road which runs beside the islands coastline. The road trip alone is enough to invite you to take a dip in the white sand beaches. There are a lot of resorts and inns in the island which you can easily spot and the team decided to pick The Sylvia as our hideaway. The Sylvia is offering a cozy, comfortable and affordable quality accommodation. In addition, this place allows you to play billiards indoor and a great array of delectable meals. No wonder it received an average of 4.8 rating in google reviews.
In San Juan, Siquijor, lies a majestic waterfall where you can spend a few hours bathing at the waterfall’s basin-like pool. The Lugnason Fall’s water is clear even if it is a rainy day and you can enjoy the spot as it is somehow hidden from the main road by trees and greeneries.
The team decided to relax and have a pleasant fish spa treatment after a soothing waterfall bathe at The Century Old Balete Tree in Lazi, Siquijor. It is noticeable that many tourists from all over the world visit this place as it is one of the most visited destination in the island. The tree is more than 400 years old to date and has a spring the seems to plume from the base of its roots to the man-made pool where the friendly fishes reside. There are a variety of fishes in the pool and all you must do is to sit and dip your feet in the pool and these little creatures will do the tickling spa treatment you deserve. The treatment is said to help exfoliate dead skin cells in your feet and stimulate nerves in your feet while the fishes enjoy a snack.
Then the team drove a few kilometers to the municipality of Lazi where we travelled back in time by visiting the San Isidro Labrador Church which first opened in 1884. The church has been well preserved and from the outside you will feel being a time traveler and imagine how the early church-goers look like and what they might be wearing that time. It is also noticeable to see the stones used as walls of the church and the old wooden windows and doors that are still functional. Inside the church, you’ll see a high ceiling common in neoclassical architecture. The floor is made of hard wood specifically and meticulously tiled and have been kept in good condition throughout the years.
Another destination you shouldn’t miss is Cambugahay Falls, which is in the mountainous side of Lazi, Siquijor. Unlike the first waterfall, this waterfall offer a flawless swimming pool wider than Lugnason Falls it is impeccably cleaner and bluer. It is also hidden from the main highway by a thick rainforest-like foliage and trees. To get to the site, you need to walk down a slightly steep hill. It is also safe to traverse the hill as it has sturdy stairs made from stone and concrete. The destination garnered an average 4.5 stars rating from those who swam and enjoyed the destination.
Salagdoong Forest Reserve in Maria, Siquijor is a 202.15 hectare wide, man-made forest showcasing tall Molave trees and other varieties not only giving shade to the area but also a new home for animal species in the island. It would be a long trail if you decide to walk across the forest to the shoreline but you won’t feel the distance as the place is cool and serene. A quick fact, Salagdoong is believed to have originated from the line Salag sa Doong which means Nest of the Doong bird.
Time to hit the beach after being enthralled by the thick man-made forest, thus, we reached Salagdoong Beach Resort & Hotel Agripino. This is a beach that you shouldn’t dare miss when visiting Siquijor as it offers a rich marine and forest views. You get a blooming view of the forests, Cliffs with diving boards and benches for sight-seeing, white sand beach and a crystal-clear water imbued with rich marine life that’s perfect for snorkeling. This beach resort is usually crowded during day time thus, if you need to eat at their local restaurant you need to order ahead of time as they have a huge number of diners. If you wish to stay in the resort you can stay at Hotel Agripino just a few steps away from the shore. This hotel doesn’t offer much but if you are already in the place you would really use the room as a safety box for your belongings while you spend the day in the beach.
There are a lot more to see in Siquijor, like the Cantabon Cave and several resorts with varying amenities and services. Moreover, a day or two in the island invites you to stay and leave all your worries behind and simply be thankful about nature’s beauty and bounty.