March 17 – 18, 2011
Day 1: LARENA, ENRIQUE VILLANUEVA, MARIA
a Lunch@ Chicken Ati-atihan
b Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
c Hotel Agripino, Salagdoong Beach Resort
Day 2: LAZI, SAN JUAN
e San Isidro Labrador Convent and Museum, San Isidro Labrador Church
f Waterfalls Jumping 101 @ Cambugahay Falls
g Century – old Balete Tree
h Capilay Spring Park
i Coral Cay Resort & Dive Shop
j DepEd Training Center
h Dinner @ Cocogrove Beach Resort
– Breakfast @ Kamalig’s
– Cakes and tea @Sans Rival
sla del Fuego, with its glorious beauté au naturel after this experience, has just moved up the top of my list of the Visayas‘–maybe even the Philipines‘–best-kept secrets. I’d have to admit though that what had actually lured me into going on this trip, with my twisted fascination for the occult, were the curious tales and folk lores of mambabarangs, habaks, oracions, etc…(shamans/witches, amulets, incantations, etc…) told by the yayas’ of my childhood. However, with just a tad bit of disappointment, any supernatural experience during our travel through the island was nil. Although I would still agree that the Island does have magic.
With Siquijor’s lush green forests, long stretches of white-sand beaches, arbitrary springs across the island, mystical waterfalls, pieces of well-guarded history and interesting caves, enchantment is sure to happen to any traveler to Siquijor. Sprinkle that up with a dash of the unassuming Siquijoranons’ warmth, sincerity and friendliness, and voila! The spell is definitely cast. Just like it has cast it on me.
I wanted to make special mention of how accommodating and sincere our reception was by the people of Siquijor. More than twice, we witnessed unchoreographed instances of their kindness. As we shopped for provisions at Larena’s Poblacion, we randomly asked and consulted the locals about getting around the island and got very helpful responses. Another time, at Salagdoong Beach Resort, a tourist had left his digital camera on the table by the beach. The caretakers made efforts to ask each of the resort’s guests if it was theirs. And finally, at the Siquijor port where we were about to set out for home, our driver/guide/bodyguard/photographer Kuya Allen, whom we only met on the island through one of the caretakers of Salagdoong Beach Resort, waited with us in the drizzle while we lined up for our tickets. He could’ve left us being that we had already paid him for his assistance and his services were no longer needed. But he chose to stay and see us board the boat with his own eyes.
So to Siquijor and to the Siquijoranons, Thank you very much.
How we got there:
With Cebu City as a starting point, we got to the Cebu City South Bus Terminal and go on a 2 – 3 hour Ceres Bus bound for Dumaguete at 6am and got off at Oslob Port in Santander (It’s named Oslob but it’s already within Santander boundaries). We boarded the Oslob to Larena Super Shuttle Ferry (This is a new route, so sometimes trips are cancelled so you should check with Super Shuttle Ferry first before going this route) with our breakfast-less tummies screaming Hunger over the 2-hour bumpy ride.
Getting around the Island:
We went on this trip without any prior arrangements as to our means of transportation around the island but this fact never became a hindrance and was never an issue thanks to the people of Siquijor who made it almost effortless to get information. Transportation is in the form of tricycles, multicabs/jeeps (termed ‘easy-rides’) and motorcycles (referred to, as ‘habal-habal’). You can also rent the cute little customized jeeps (pix above) for about Php800.00 for 8 hours from the main resorts on the Island. Special shout-outs go to Kuya Allen who drove us around the island of Siquijor and it’s entire 72 kilometer circumferential road whilst multitasking as our guide/bodyguard/photographer.
Getting back home:
So this would be the most exciting part to cap off the journey: we woke up about 4:30 am and got to packing up. We were to catch the 6:00 am Delta trip but when we got to the Siquijor Port, the Delta trips were all cancelled being that the vessel had some technical trouble. So the only option was Oceanjet except that the line was getting longer by the minute and the next trip was going to be in the evening and all of us needed to get home already. By some stroke of luck, our group of seven were the last to be given our tickets which shortly thereafter had us literally racing to the port to board the vessel. To top it all off, the weather wasn’t being too nice with huge waves tossing the fastcraft about. We had to endure a gruelling 45 minutes until we reached Dumaguete queasy and heaving huge sighs of relief whilefighting off the desire to kiss solid ground.
We had our fill of breakfast at Kamalig’s and took some pictures around the port area. We took some time to chill over peppermint tea, apple pies and chocolate monsters at Sans Rival and bought some Sylvannas to take home. Finally, we boarded our homebound Dumaguete to Cebu Ceres bus.
– ATMs are located only in the municipality of Larena. So before starting your adventure, make sure you have enough cash, unless if you’re staying at the snazzier hotels/beach resorts on the Island who have no issues with accepting credit cards.
– Draft a schedule and plan your stops for the day so you can squeeze in as much activities as possible.
- Magic Islands – Siquijor, Philippines (travelpod.com)
- Certifiable – Dumaguete, Philippines (travelpod.com)
- My Daily Wuht?! 031211 (paintandfootprints.wordpress.com)
- Fuego!!! (godzillasamaynila.wordpress.com)
- The Best Worst Nature Experiences in 140 Characters (thedailygreen.com)
- I will have an enchilada, hold the rocks – Dumaguete, Philippines (travelpod.com)
*pictures courtesy of Eloisa Flores (SLR takes) and Ethan Belotindos