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Siquijor – Discovering Philippines’ “Isla del Fuego”

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In and Around Siquijor

Being the 32nd province on my personal list of 81 must-go provinces in the Philippines, Siquijor is an enchantment on its own. This island province was nicknamed “Isla del Fuego” by the Spaniards as it gave glow coming from the fireflies living on molave trees that was once plenty in the place. The island province also gained its reputation as the haven for witchcraft and sorcery – which sparked the interest of visitors. More to that, I can attest that Siquijor is more to witchcraft. It is a place where nature and people blend well together and that it is one of the quietest places I have been so far. Here are some of the sights you should see and things you should do #WhenInSiquijor.

See alsoSiquijor Travel Guide: Getting to the Island of Fire

Travel Guide to Siquijor | Turista Boy

St. Francis de Assisi Church / Siquijor Bell Tower

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One of the more popular destinations in the island, the St. Francis de Assisi Church a.k.a. Siquijor Church, and its ages-old Bell Tower is one of the first tourist spots that can be visited in Siquijor. Founded in 1783, this church is one of the religious centers in the municipality of Siquijor. It is also where you will find the “Welcome to Siquijor” sign that is worth your social media posts! The coral stone church is also believed to be the oldest on the island. It is also a few steps away from the Siquijor Port once you step into the island.

Paliton Beach

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One of many beaches in Siquijor, Paliton Beach is one of the most pristine. This white sand-cladded beach is similar to that of the wand sand of Boracay. Unfortunately, when we went there, the shoreline was full of debris and it was a timely high tide. Paliton Beach is best visited during the -ber months and the Summer season. Talk about basking under the sun!

Capilay Spring Park

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This tourist spot is a surprise for me as it is not seen in most travel blogs that I have read prior to visiting Siquijor. This Spring Park is quite simple and is easily accessible as it is only located near the circumferential road. The Spring Park is open to everyone and it features a lake (where I am not sure if you are allowed to swim) and some cottages in which people can relax in. Capilay Spring Park is perfect for nature lovers as it is surrounded by rich flora.

Campalanas Enchanted Century-old Balete Tree and Fish Spa

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One of the oldest banyan trees in the Philippines, this 400-year-old Balete Tree in the municipality of Lazi also has a freshwater spring emanating from its roots and a Fish Spa surrounding the tree itself. As enormous as the one I have visited in the province of Aurora before, this Balete Tree is so mystical that it gives me quite an eerie feeling when we visited. The goosebumps made me feel that the tree itself has something to tell to its visitors.

Hapitan Broomstick Challenge

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If you are a wizard at heart or if you are a fantasy-savvy person, this place is for you. Though not a big park where people can stay and linger, but The Hapitan Broomstick Challenge will tickle your imagination. As the island of Siquijor is known to be a haven for witchcraft and sorcery, this tourist spot added a spice to that reputation – by riding a broomstick! This is a very unusual tourist spot to go and fun at the same time! It is definitely a must-try. (The photographers are experts in taking your photos, too!)

San Isidro Labrador (Lazi) Church and Lazi Convent

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The San Isidro Labrador a.k.a. Lazi Church and its equally old equivalent, the Lazi Convent, is one of the main attractions in the municipality of Lazi. Founded in 1857, this neoclassical architecture church is built on stone and hardwood and was commissioned by the National Historical Institute as a National Historical Treasure. The Lazi Convent, too, is one of the largest convents in the Philippines and one of the largest and oldest in Asia to date. If you are lucky enough, a priest can tour you around the Convent and the Church’s premises. Take note though that picture-taking is strictly prohibited when touring inside the convent.

Cambugahay Falls

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One of the most sought-after destinations in Siquijor, the Cambugahay Falls in Lazi is never to be missed. The pristine blue waters of the cascading falls makes it more heavenly to visit. You will have to take 135 steps before reaching the falls down below. Did I mention that Siquijor is not Siquijor if you have not been to Cambugahay Falls? Yes, it definitely is! You can actually try jumping into the water by hanging through a rope like Tarzan and plunge into its lagoon – talk about adrenaline rush! This is one of Siquijor’s main highlights.

Salagdoong Beach

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One of the more popular beaches in the island province, Salagdoong Beach is a place to behold! The serene landscape of the beach and the whisper of the wind makes it more relaxing. What’s more interesting is that people get to enjoy the torquise-colored waters and the coves that define paradise. There is also an added cliff diving attraction for the ones who want an adrenaline rush! Cottages and rooms are also for rent for those who wish to stay longer and witness the beauty of this landscape.

Guiwanon Spring Park

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I have been to several mangrove parks in the Philippines but this mangrove forest is one for the books. The uniquely designed Guiwanon Spring Park allows its visitors to be much closer to nature. With guided wooden stilts that surround the park, you can also get to see a panoramic view of the pristine blue ocean. This preservation area is managed by the fisher folks in the area and is considered to be one of the prime spots in Siquijor.

Kanheron Ranch

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This is your not-so-typical Ranch as it will lead you to the Wild, Wild West. The Kanheron Ranch is a living tribute to the Siquijodnon Sakadas who risked their lives in Hawaii during the mid-20th century. “Kanheron” which means “Kanhi ug Karon” or “Then and Now,” the Ranch showcases the ingenuity of its local workers who come to bring about the past and enriching its history for the present generation. I will be posting a more detailed blog about Kanheron soon.

 

Other Places you can visit:

Larena Watchtower (Larena)

Marelle’s Underwater Museum

Siquijor Provincial Capitol

The Big Belly Burger and Breakfast

Sammy’z Pizza

Pizza Piz

M’s Place

Ang Dapog ni Nanay Carmen

El Monte

 

Where we ate:

Bellview Kuzzina Bar

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One of the high-end restaurants in Siquijor, the Bellview Restaurant has a strategic location as it overlooks the Siquijor Belltower and is just adjacent to the St. Francis de Assisi Church. The restaurant offers a wide array of Filipino and European dishes that suits the class and elegance of the whole restaurant.

Joel’s Lechon Manok

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Just in front of the Bellview restaurant is the Joel’s Lechon Manok Restaurant. Not your typical Filipino “karinderya” or eatery, they serve large portion servings that would really delight your tummy! I was surprised because they really serve a lot! It is like our breakfast that day would be good until lunch! They serve almost all the famous Filipino dishes you know, and of course, do not miss their famous Lechon Manok!

 

Where we stayed:

The Swiss Stars Hostel

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One of the budget-friendly accommodations in Siquijor, this Fil-European-inspired hostel is also one of the simplest. This quaint hostel is just near the road and is easily accessible to and from the places of interest. What I have only noticed here is that some of their rooms are not cleaned well but the rooms are spacious, no doubt. Plus, their WiFi connectivity makes you connected (still) to the rest of the world while discovering Siquijor. There are also food selections included in their services if you want to fully experience a European kind of dish.

 

Verdict: 10/10

St. Francis of Assisi Church - Siquijor | Turista Boy

Mystical and simple – these are the words I will use to describe Siquijor. Having been to this island for the first time, I have seen so much that I think I left my heart there (looking for a reason to come back!) This small island in the heart of the Visayas is a place not to be ignored and should put more tourist attention to. Talk about sustainable and responsible tourism, Siquijor is one of the cleanest provinces I have ever been to. If I have a chance to go back and feature Siquijor again, I would not be having second thoughts. This peaceful province is what simplicity at its best is all about.

 

Sample Itinerary and Expenses

Siquijor (Siquijor)

Spot / Restaurant / Activity:

Travel Time:

ETA:

ETD:

Possible Expenses:

Remarks:

DAY 1 p.m.

Siquijor Pier

(Siquijor)

1650

(from Dumaguete City)

*Check in at The Swiss Stars Hostel*

1650 – 1655

1655

1715

705.60

(352.80 each)

Freshen up

St. Francis de Assisi Church / Siquijor Belltower

1715 – 1720

1720

1745

FREE

“Welcome to Siquijor”

Bellview Kuzzina Bar

1745 – 1750

1750

1830

280

(Depends on your order)

Dinner

0630 – 2200 (Daily)

OPTIONAL / If you have extra time:

Siquijor Provincial Capitol

FREE

Marelle’s Underwater World Museum

50 (student entrance)

100 (adult entrance)

(0700 – 2200: Museum, Gift Shop, Restaurant)

+63 905 221 6651

The Big Belly Burger and Breakfast

100 – 150

Breakfast / Dinner

0900 – 2100 (Daily)

DAY 2

Beach Bumming

Early morning

(sunrise)

Optional

Joel’s Lechon Manok

0730 – 0735

0735

0815

90

(Depends on your order)

Breakfast

(Across Bellview Kuzzina Bar)

TRICYCLE TOUR

Paliton Beach

0815 – 0825

0825

0845

FREE

Best to go during summer

Capilay Spring Park

0845 – 0900

0900

0920

Environmental Fee

20 (Adults)

10 (Kids)

50 (Night Swimming)

Campalanas Enchanted Century-old Balete Tree and Fish Spa

0920 – 0930

0930

1015

10 (entrance)

260 (souvenirs; depends on items bought)

0600 – 1800 (Daily)

Hapitan Broom Stick Challenge

1015 – 1025

1025

1115

20 (Donation; depends)

20 (Snacks)

San Isidro Labrador (Lazi) Church / Lazi Convent

1115 – 1130

1130

1215

20

(convent entrance fee)

Cambugahay Falls

1215 – 1230

1230

1345

100 (life vest rental)

20 (fee per swing platform; unlimited tries; 50 for foreigners)

15 (snacks at entrance)

20 (parking)

100 (tour guide donation; depends)

0700 – 1730 (Daily)

Salagdoong Beach

1345 – 1400

1400

1430

30 (entrance fee)

25 (parking fee)

*Side trip to the Oldest House in Siquijor*

 

Optional

Guiwanon Spring Park

1430 – 1445

1445

1530

10 (entrance fee)

 

Kanheron Ranch

1530 – 1545

1545

1630

50 (entrance fee)

(1000 – 2000: M-Th)

(1000 – 0000+1: F)

(0800 – 0000+1: Sat)

(0800 – 2000: Sun)

*Checkout at Swiss Stars Hostel*

1645

1800

 

Freshen up

LARENA, SIQUIJOR – TAGBILARAN, BOHOL

or

SIQUIJOR, SIQUIJOR – DUMAGUETE CITY

1900 – 2200

(Depends on Ferry schedules)

1900

260 (Open Air, RoRo); depends on Ferry Line

50 (Dinner at Larena Port)

17 (Terminal Fee; depends)

 
 

OPTIONAL / If you have extra time:

Sammy’z Pizza / Pizza Piz

100 – 150

1000 – 2200

Ang Dapog ni Nanay Carmen / El Monte

100 – 150

0800 – 1900 (Daily)

TOTAL

(plus Tricycle Tour at P1,000/3 pax)

P 2, 083

 

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  • Siquijor Travel Guide: Getting to the Island of Fire July 29, 2018
    Mystifying as it seems, Siquijor is an island full of wonder that waits to be discovered. Right at the heart of the Visayas, know how you can get here! The post Siquijor Travel Guide: Getting to the Island of Fire appeared first on Turista Boy.
    Aldrick 'chiki' Agpaoa

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