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What To Do on a Day Trip in Siquijor?

Siquijor

If I’d be given the chance to stay overnight in Siquijor, I would. Due to the limited time that I had, however, I decided to do a day trip. Believe me, if you’re the kind of traveler who’s looking for a laid back and chill place away from the stressful city, Siquijor is the perfect spot for you.

A tiny island in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, Siquijor is famous for being a mysterious world of witchcraft. You’ve probably heard of stories, or watched documentaries about the island being associated with witchcraft, thus probably one of the reasons why Siquijor remains to be off the beaten path of majority of local and international travelers.

Siquijor was my first stop on my 4-day and 3-night travel around Negros Oriental and its nearby island. There’s a direct flight from Manila to Dumaguete which I booked using Traveloka. I got an early morning flight and asked the flying fish hostel in Dumaguete if I could leave my bag because it would be a hassle to bring all of them while traveling around the island. Gladly, they agreed.

From the hostel, I asked the tricycle driver to take me to Dumaguete Port (PHP10) which is about a 10-minute drive. I got the first trip at 8:30 am of Aleson shipping line. Travel time was one hour and 30 minutes. Fair was PHP100 for non-AC and PHP120 for an air-conditioned cabin.

Upon setting foot on Siquijor island, I felt the same vibes I experienced on Bantayan island in Cebu. The scene was relaxing, life was simple, and the port was quiet and uncrowded.

I hired Kuya Rosalito, a habal-habal driver, to tour me around the island. You may contact him through 0935-115-1151.

I didn’t want to limit my time in every place I visited, but since Siquijor is small, one of the smallest islands of the Philippines, I finished visiting famous spots in only three hours.

 

siquijor church

 

First stop was St. Francis of Assisi Church or simply Siquijor Church to locals. The “I love Siquijor” landmark is also in front of it.  Positioned to welcome travelers arriving at the Siquijor Pier, the St. Francis of Assisi church has stood firm for centuries since its construction during the Spanish colonization in 1795-1831.  It was a bit dark inside the church. The decors were minimal. There were few religious images and chandeliers.  Its nave is made of ornate yellow tiles which I find attractive. Its walls and ceiling are painted white, showing the simplicity of the church.

Second destination was Paliton beach, located 15 minutes away from the church. It is dubbed as Siquijor’s Little Boracay. We passed through a narrow road leading to the coast. Kuya Rosalito parked his motorcycle and told me that I could swim or stroll around the beach and he would just wait for me under the shade of tall coconut trees.

There were no establishments around the area. A group was sitting on a mat on the sand. It’s a private property, but staying in the area is free of charge. I went ahead and explored the pretty white sand beach with crystal-clear waters. Given the chance, I would stay longer and swim. Paliton beach is way better than the Salagdoong beach. It was extremely hot that time though, so I suggest visiting it before sunset.

 

Paliton Beach

 

Four kilometers away from Paliton beach is Capilay’s Spring Park which I skipped. It’s a park in the heart of San Juan town. There’s a vast pool at the center, pavilions, and benches. The park is also surrounded by trees. There is nothing to do, but I noticed that there are some restaurants and local eateries. I suggest trying their local cuisine.

Another place that I wish I could stay longer at was the fish spa at the Old Enchanted Balete Tree. Forget about the folklore and horror stories about the Balete Tree or Fig tree. The 400-year old tree is probably the oldest and the biggest in the Philippines. There are lots of huge branches and vines. I could hear the amazing sound of birds and bats coming from around the area. A spring coming from its base flows straight into the man-made pool. There are lots of big and small fish, ready to give you a fish spa for only PHP10. Souvenir items are also available.

 

Balete Tree

 

We also visited San Isidro Labrador, a church and convent. There was a funeral when we arrived, so I didn’t take any photo inside the church to give respect to the mourners. The convent and the museum were in front of the church, but the museum was closed that day. If you’re a fan of old churches and museums, this should be in your itinerary.

My ultimate favorite is Cambugahay Falls. I was fortunate that I went there in the lean season (November), so there were few people. Going to the falls was a bit challenging since it took me almost a hundred steps going down. But it was all worth it. I would include this falls in one of my top five falls in the Philippines. Tinuy-an falls is number one. It’s a three-tiered clean and light turquoise waterfalls. I spent most of my time at the last basin or the third tier where I did countless Tarzan swings. I swear it was addicting. I paid PHP20 for unlimited swings. Awesome, right?

 

Cambugahay falls

 

All good travel comes to an end. My last destination was Salagdoong beach.  The place is actually a private resort. I paid PHP75 entrance fee for a day tour. One thing I loved about the place was the long and narrow road leading to the gate from the main highway. It got one of the best views ever. It felt like entering a different dimension where tall trees were forming a tunnel.  There’s something magical about being able to pass underneath a lush canopy of trees while surrounded by nature.

It’s a serene and beautiful experience, much better than strolling along other types of roads.

The resort is a bit crowded, although it was lean season. The place is famous for cliff diving, but I didn’t jump. It was a 20-foot dive! The water was inviting, but the height was not. So, I spent my day snorkeling but it wasn’t a good place for that. Almost no fishes near the beach. the wave was a bit strong and it was about to rain. It wasn’t a perfect time. I just spent the day eating and drinking beer at their restaurant.

 

Salagdoong beach

 

Siquijor Island, once famous only for stories about sorcery, is now rising and becoming one of the favorite destinations in Central Visayas. Although, it’s still off the radar of most foreign and local tourists. It had less than 55,000 visitors for the first six months of 2017. I still see it as a blessing. Experiencing its natural and undisturbed charm. If you’re planning to do a central Visayas trip coming from south of Cebu, you can take a 20-minute ferry ride going to Dumaguete and another one hour and 30-minute ride going to Siqujor. This tiny island should be included in your itinerary.

 

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11 comments

  • […] was early morning when I arrived. First order of business was a day trip to Siquijor, then I went back to Dumaguete before dinner. Right on my first night, I fell in love with the […]

  • I’ve never heard of Siquijor Island and didn’t realize that they believe in witches and sorcery in the Philippines. It looks like a lovely island.

    We spent three weeks in the Philippines last year and really loved it. We spent most of our time diving all around Coron.

  • I’m really interested to travel to the Philippines in the near future and although I’d never heard of Siquijor prior to reading your post, I’ll definitely be adding it to my must-visit list! I love finding “off-the-beaten-path” spots that aren’t (yet) overrun with tourists. I’ve got to try the fish spa at the Old Enchanted Balete Tree – I love a good fish spa! It tickles but leaves my feet feeling silky smooth. Thanks for writing!

  • Really interesting, thanks for the introduction to Siquijor – I can’t say I had heard of it before, but I can definitely see the allure! I love places which are off the beaten path and away from the crowds, and this sounds like it’s just it! Paliton beach is beautiful, and I think I would be spending a lot of time at Cambugahay Falls – looks like a lot of fun!

  • Seems like a lovely holiday. The beach and the waterfalls both look amazing. I would have been torn to leave either of the two places. Dipping your legs with those fish around must have been quite an experience too. Enjoyed the read

  • The beaches look beautiful! I can see why you need to go to Siquijor as it looks like a lovely island to visit. I have not made it to the Philippines yet, but this has made me want to go.

  • Siquijor Island looks like heaven, I need to go to the Philippines! This is definitely a spot to go to beyond just one day! Cambugahay Falls looks like an awesome afternoon spot. Be careful about Fish spas!

  • You had me at mysterious world of witchcraft! I haven’t even made it to the Phillipines yet, and I had to google where Siquijor was. Cambugahay Falls caught my eye the most. I absolutely love waterfalls. I wonder if it’s like Xuang Si, where those fish spa fish are also in the water. 20-foot dive? Yes, please!

  • Yes, I’ve read and heard stories about the witchcraft in Siquijor and I was kinda terrified by it. Didn’t you feel anything like that? haha Anyway, Chris and a few common friends of us have been here and you know me, I love beaches so I am definitely coming to visit here. It’s also a good thing that it’s actually close to Cebu and Dumaguete so hitting the latter would be a great idea too! I hope the serenity of this place tho would be forever preserved! Hindi ka ba natakot tumalon dyan sa tubig? haha joke lang, marunong ka lumangoy! Missing you!

  • I had never heard of this island before! But well, when you know the Philippines have 7000 islands, it’s normal we can’t know them all! As a nature lover, I would be interested to see this giant tree you are talking about, and the fish spa is really fun, I got to try it in Kuala Lumpur a few years ago

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