TRAVEL: The Mystical Island of Siquijor (8/2-8/3/16)

We admittingly found out about Siquijor because of a YouTube video we watched. We fell in love with two of the island’s destinations, and decided we had to see it for ourselves. Siquijor is the second smallest island province in the Philippines. You can circle around the island in a motorbike in approximately four hours. We spent three days and four nights on this island, which was an abundant amount of time. Before coming here, we talked to some locals in Cebu about going to Siquijor. Turns out the island is known for being “magical” and has a reputation to be the island of voodoo magic. I took that with a grain of salt and wanted to see what the island was about myself. 


The boys and I spent our entire first day just relaxing and recuperating from all the activities we have been doing. The next day, we set off to see the island’s treasures. 

The Century Old Balete Tree

About four centuries old, this tree has withstood the test of time, much like a lot of things you’ll find on this island. The tree is about 400 years old, and there’s a fish spa located right in front. The fish loved Josh’s feet, Alvin was a little freaked out by the bigger fish, and I was terrified at the thought of fish nibbling at my feet. A lot of the tourists there seemed to enjoy it though, and the locals were excited that a lot of people were there to visit. Although I didn’t enjoy the fish, I did make the most adorable new friend! One of the locals working in the shop had a baby monkey wearing a tiny blue shirt. I asked if I could see it, and they let me hold him. Needless to say, I absolutely fell in love with the little guy. 



The Lazi Convent

This is another one of the island’s treasures that has withstood the test of time. The large, old church was built in the 1800s by the Spaniards. By the looks of it, mass is still held there till this day. The church had a certain aura that made the hairs in the back of my neck stand up. People were trying to sell us candles in the front, but there was nowhere to light the candle and say a prayer in the inside. A little boy with no shoes greeted us as we entered the church. He led us upstairs, through a nearly broken staircase up to the dusty attic-like area where the bell tower was. Very old and broken, I was afraid the floor would collapse any second. I went to bed still thinking about how strange the church and aura was. I talked to my mom and she said maybe there were “spirits” lingering still. I wouldn’t be surprised. 


Cambugahay Falls

This was our #1 destination spot here in Siquijor. Cambugahay Falls is like a little gem hidden within the island. It’s located very close to the church and is very easy to find. After walking down a few flights of man-made stone stairs, we found ourselves greeted by locals who guided us through the falls. There are three levels to the falls, the top being the most abundantly flowing with water and lush scenery. At the top is also a giant swing made of wood that lunges you into the pool of water. The locals help you grab on and swing into the water. While it’s fun to watch the locals flip and do tricks into the water, it’s also fun to watch tourists belly flop themselves into the water. The falls are beautiful, mystical, and the water is so cool and clean to swim in. Seeing these falls is definitely going to be one of the highlights of my trip. 



Salagdoong Beach
 

This is the island’s most popular beach. When we went, the water was blue and the tide was high. It’s not comparable to the beaches of Palawan or Boracay, but what makes this beach really cool is the diving platform built on a cliff in the middle of the beach. Josh jumped off the highest platform right away. Me on the the other hand, started staring down at the water for way too long. Nerves started to kick in and it seemed like we were up on that platform forever. The local boys would run of the platform and do flips like it was nothing. Finally, I decided to jump off the shorter platform, irritated with myself that I had waited so long to do it, but happy I finally did.

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St. Francis of Assisi
 

One of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church is St. Francis of Assisi. I was really excited to visit this church because the book I’m reading called There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, has St. Francis’s prayer on the back. His prayer is also one of my favorite songs to sing at church on Sunday: 

Where there is hatred, let me show love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is undying t self that we are born to eternal life.

The church was beautiful and antique, as most churches built in the 1800s are. It had the usual big altar crested in gold paint with saints and Mama Mary on both sides of the church. 
On our last day there, Josh and I drove around the island the explore the coast. On our way to Lugnason Falls, we rode through what was more inland countryside and were greeted by almost every person we passed by. We drove through lush green and beautiful fields of rice patties. We didn’t get to see any falls, but the scenery, sunset, and view of the coast was worth it. 


On our last day there, Josh and I drove around the island the explore the coast. On our way to Lugnason Falls, we rode through what was more inland countryside and were greeted by almost every person we passed by. We drove through lush green and beautiful fields of rice patties. We didn’t get to see any falls, but the scenery, sunset, and view of the coast was worth it. 


Three full days was definitely enough time for us to be on the island. Siquijor is an island that someone could get around in about one day and see almost everything the island has to offer. Although I did get a small case of island fever, I loved our accommodation, The Bruce, and the time we all got to stay and rest there. Alvin laid in a hammock for hours every day, Josh spent a lot of time reading, and I finally got in some yoga time. I guess it’s just God or the universe’s way of giving us the time we needed to rest for our next adventure, Bali! 



My Tips for Visiting Siquijor: 

*Come after rainy season. We came in the middle of rainy season, but because Siquijor doesn’t get hit with too much rain as oppose to the other nearby islands, there wasn’t a huge abundance of water at the waterfalls. Rainy season falls from the beginning of July until the end of August. Cambugahay Falls was still epic, but other falls we tried visiting like Lugnason Falls had no water at all. Also, the tide was very low, leaving black seaweed all over what are usually white sandy beaches with clear blue water. 

*Motorbike is the best way to transport yourself. Of course, you can try and take a tricycle, but there aren’t as many around as there usually are in bigger cities. The island is small and doesn’t see too many tourists. Lucky for me, the boys both learned to ride motorbikes. Try riding a scooter or motorbike, or makes friends with a local who will be willing to take you around the island for a day or two.

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