Trip Guide: Siquijor in Less than 24 Hours


Feared for its voodoo-ish reputation in the past, Siquijor is overcoming the stigma, slowly becoming a popular side trip from a Dumaguete, Cebu or Bohol getaway. I got a chance to roam around the unassuming island and experience its real charm — the unspoiled wonders that stories of sorcery and supernatural have covered for a long time.

I Love Siquijor

If you're visiting Dumaguete and have less than 24 hours or an overnight to spend in Siquijor, this travel guide might help.


From Manila to Siquijor via Dumaguete

Flying from Manila to Dumaguete City takes about an hour. From Sibulan Airport, hop on a tricycle going to the city port then take a ferry bound for Siquijor. Travel time is 2 hours (slow ferry) or 1 hour (fast craft). Fare is around 100-200 Pesos. Ferry's departure time and fare varies so its better to call the shipping line of choice ahead of your trip. This post might help.

Tip: Brace yourself for that fast craft. Chances are, ferry staff will close the windows due to the disturbed waves that crashes against the hull until the ship decelerates. With thin air and speed of boat combined, you might set foot with your world and tummy turned upside down and burst! Trust me, I did.

READ ALSO: Itinerary: Interesting Spots In and Around Dumaguete City


Where to Stay

Palm Village Guesthouse

Palm Village Guesthouse hosted our overnight stay in Siquijor. They fetched us from Siquijor port and traveled around 30 minutes aboard a tricycle to reach their beachfront accommodation in San Juan.

Palm Village's rooms

The humble home stay has three cozy rooms, each equipped with comfort room, kitchen and WiFi. If you're down for a cheap and just a decent stay, I recommend Palm Village. You came for the island not for the bed, anyway. Plus, they have a great beachfront. When we arrived, my buddy suddenly wanted to skip the tour and just stay there all day.

Palm Village's beachfront

Address: Brgy. Lala-o, San Juan, Siquijor (around 30 minutes from Siquijor port; just 2 minutes from downtown San Juan)
Room Rates: Starts at 1000 Pesos. Check discounted deals here.
Contact: (+63) 0915-488-6869
Facebook page: Palm Village Siquijor

If Palm Village didn't get your fancy, check other hotels here at discounted rates:



Wandering Around for a Day

Multicabs, locally called as easyride, and tricycles line up near Siquijor port while local drivers wait for tourists' arrival. For couples or solo travelers, motorcycling is a great option to wander around. Exploring Siquijor for a day costs around 400-500 Pesos (motorcycle) or 1000-1500 Pesos (tricycle and easyride). As always, price varies depending on your haggling skills, but please, locals depend on you for a living so HAGGLE WITH A HEART!

Foreign couple on a motorbike

Our host allowed us to use their mini truck for an additional cost that doesn't hurt the bank. Conquering the island's highways and byways on a truck rear gave us that one-of-a-kind Siquijor road trip!

1. Capilay Spring Park

Located along the road just across commercial establishments and San Juan's municipal hall, Capilay Spring Park is easy to find not only because of its location but for the colorful edges of its lengthy swimming pool as well. Locals concreted a natural flowing spring, surrounded it with manicured garden and amenities to serve as the town's public plaza.

Capilay Spring Park's swimming pool

Capilay's deep green pool is clear with its bottom visible but it didn't seem inviting to jump in. Nevertheless, it still worth a snap. Activities to do at the park includes picnic, swimming, engaging in water sports and taking water rides.

Capilay Spring Park

Address: San Juan, Siquijor (downtown)
Environmental fee: 20 Pesos for adults, 10 Pesos for children aged 13 and below
Swimming fee: 50 Pesos; imposed only to those swimming from 6 PM to 10 PM

2. Lugnason Falls (Zodiac Falls Adventure Eco-park)

Lugnason Falls

A 1.5-kilometer nature trail in San Juan features a series of twelve water cascades. Nestled within a bushy forest, the waterfalls named after the signs of zodiac differ in height, depth and shape of the naturally formed walls where the waters flow through. There's even a teeny-tiny stream that made it to the Magic 12 and you'll wonder how it did. Lugnason Falls (or Aquarius Falls) is the grandest and dive-able among these cascades though we did not witness its grandeur as it was dried up and barely trickle during our visit.

Sagittarius Falls, one of the 12 Zodiac Falls
Naturally-formed rock formation
Cancer Falls, one of the 12 Zodiac Falls
Kiddie guides at Lugnason Falls

Trekking that ends on a rural neighborhood takes about 20-30 minutes. Zodiac Falls' eco-trail is still under development, its undergoing progress depends on volunteers and donations.

Address: San Juan, Siquijor
Entrance fee: FREE; quoting from their slogan, "Nature should always be free to enjoy together".
Guide fee: It's up to you. It would take a generous heart to tip those schooling kids that welcomes and guides tourists from the jump-off.

3. Old Balete Tree

Siquijor's old and enchanted balete tree

Balete trees star in local folklores around the country as a dwelling place of supernatural beings. So it's no surprise that the mystic island of Siquijor has its own version of the myth. Under the shade of Lazi's old and "enchanted" tree is a wide, concreted basin where large and small tilapia fishes swim and feed on every foot dipped into the cold waters.

Huge balete tree of Lazi, Siquijor
Fish spa under the balete tree

It's not the balete itself that scares on a broad daylight but the seemingly sharp teeth of aggressive fishes that tickle.

Address: Siquijor Circumferential Road, Lazi, Siquijor
Entrance: 5 Pesos

4. Lazi Church and Convent

Lazi Church

According to the National Historical Commission marker plastered on its wall, Augustinian Recollect priests established Lazi Church under the patronage of San Isidro Labrador in 1857 (hence also known as San Isidro Labrador Church). Located along a quiet, acacia-laden street in Lazi, its rustic fa├žade and interiors adds a charm to the church's location that presents a rural feel.

Accolades:
Declared as a National Historical Landmark in 1984
Declared as a National Cultural Treasure in 2012
UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee under the group "Baroque Churches of the Philippines (extension)"

Lazi Church's facade
Lazi Church's interior

Across the church is the convent distinguished for being the oldest and once considered as the largest convent in Asia. Built thirty years after the church, the rickety building houses a school and a museum, but the artifacts were completely moved somewhere else during our visit to give way for its preemptive restoration. Nevertheless, the silence and mustiness of the empty Lazi Convent spoke of Siquijor's rich heritage.

Lazi Convent
Lazi Convent's grand staircase
Lazi Convent's hallway

Address: Lazi, Siquijor
Entrance fee: NONE

5. Cambugahay Falls

Cambugahay Falls

Its three equally stunning levels of water cascades hidden within a verdant jungle is the never-to-miss when in Siquijor. Cambugahay's top-most waterfall offers not just the most picturesque cascade but also an exhilarating activity for everyone to try. Get some adrenaline through the Tarzan swing without worrying of getting your feet hurt upon falling into its deep light green basin. Unlike most waterfalls whose floors were covered with sharp-edged rocks, Cambugahay's is blanketed mostly with fine sand.

Cambugahay Falls' second cascade
My buddy while taking off at Tarzan swing
A local swinging like Tarzan at Cambugahay Falls

A mini-cave lies behind the cascades of the third waterfall. You may ask the local guides on the vicinity to take you there.

Cambugahay Falls' mini cave

Reaching the three-tier waterfalls requires a five-minute knee-jerking descent through established stairs; prepare for the more challenging ascent going back. Tourists are not allowed to visit from 5:30 PM to 7:00 AM.

Established stairs going to Cambugahay

Address: Siquijor Circumferential Road, Lazi, Siquijor
Entrance fee: NONE
Guide fee: NONE; but it would be nice to tip those who would help you feel like Tarzan for a while.
Parking fee: 30 Pesos (PUJ, Truck, Multicab); 20 Pesos (Tricycle); 10 Pesos (Motorcycle)

6. Salagdoong Beach Resort

Turquoise waters of Salagdoong

Salagdoong Beach Resort boasts off its creamy shores and the gigantic coral rock perched along its shoreline. In harmony with lush trees on top of the rock formation are spacious gazebo, a man-made slide directly dropping into the open sea and two concrete diving platforms set at 35 feet and 20 feet above the turquoise waters — amenities that's perfect for everyone wanting a good adrenaline rush. If the sea's on low tide however, taking a leap from the lower diving podium or letting yourself slip on the slide is not allowed.

Huge rock formation of Salagdoong Beach
Man-made slide at Salagdoong Beach

The huge coral rock bisects the shore creating a twin beach — the shorter one resembles a mini cove. Other amenities include a cafe, concrete table cottages, a swimming pool, and lodging rooms.

Salagdoong's cove-like beach
Salagdoong's concrete table cottages

Address: Brgy. Olang, Maria, Siquijor
Entrance fees: 25 Pesos (Adults); 20 Pesos (Children)
Parking fee: 35 Pesos (Mini Bus, Van, PUJ, Multicab, Private vehicles); 25 Pesos (Tricycle); 20 Pesos (Motorcycle)

7. Cang-isok House

Cang-isok House

Cang-isok House is the oldest surviving house in Siquijor island. Seemingly ravaged yet standing still, it was said that the house on stilt was built more than a hundred years ago. Interestingly enough, retired PBA player and comedian Bonel Balingit once resided here according to our local guide.

Cang-isok House

Located on a piece of land between the shore and the highway, I just took a few snaps of the house while at the back of our truck. If you have the luxury of time, it's good to check the house and see up close how the wooden structure stood the challenges that time and nature imposed.

Address: Brgy. Libo, Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor
Entrance fee: NONE

8. Larena Triad Restaurant and Bakeshop

View of Siquijor coastline from Larena Triad

True to their slogan, The Best View of Siquijor, Larena Triad is the perfect spot in the island to sing The Carpenters' Top of the World while savoring a cup of coffee or a hearty meal. (Who else has that song in mind when on a high place with a fascinating vista below?)

Larena Triad's dome-shaped eating area
Larena Triad's bar

It isn't just the view of Siquijor's coastline and the cafe's huge dome-shaped eating area that delight the guests but the array of tasty treats they offer as well. Their full-packed menu of fritters, pastas, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, sizzlers, cakes, healthy salads, refreshments, coffees, wines and liquors makes Larena Triad the ideal destination to end the day in Siquijor. Imagine yourself on top, savoring your late afternoon merienda while the sun lowers itself behind the horizon.

One of Larena Triad's sandwiches

Price starts at 100 Pesos.
Address: Within 3 barangays in Larena, Siquijor (Nonoc, Cangbagsa and Cang-alias), hence the name "Triad"
Contact: (+63) 0906-338-3890 / (035) 377-2236 / masayon_m@yahoo.com.ph

9. Siquijor Church

Siquijor Church

Not to get confused with the church in Lazi, the one dubbed as "Siquijor Church" is the structure located near the port — the one that welcomes everyone in the island. Completed around 1830s, the church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi might be the oldest church in Siquijor.

Siquijor Church's bell tower

Siquijor Church's bell tower stands few meters away from the church. Presently surrounded with modern structures, the bell tower showcases how it withstood the test of time.

*We visited the church the next morning, before boarding the earliest ferry bound for Dumaguete.

Address: Sta. Fe Street, Siquijor, Siquijor
Entrance fee: NONE

Some reasons to go back...

A day's not enough to check all attractions Siquijor has to offer. It's a lesson learned and a point to consider should plans of revisiting the island province sets in. Some destinations we weren't able to visit that you might want to include on your itinerary:

Paliton Beach
Tubod Marine Sanctuary
Cantabon Cave
Kanheron Ranch
Mt. Bandilaan National Park

Or do you know other destinations in Siquijor that's worth a glimpse? Share it and let everyone know the enchanting beauty of the so-called mystic island!

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