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Mystery and Revelation of Siquijor Island | Dodging the Travel Tradition






My trip to Siquijor was the fulfillment of my curiosity about the mysterious island. I was simply intrigued why some people have reservations in visiting the place known as the Island of Fire. 

Despite of its grandeur and beauty, the island is embraced with dozens of superstitions, incantations, potions and magic. It was this mystery that made the island worthy of visiting by some hardcore believers as they just want to have a share of  magic that lurks within. In my case, I simply want to discover the best of the natural resources Siquijor received from the Great Creator.


Traveling to Siquijor is definitely easy as numbers of flights and ports are available going to Dumaguete. But coming from my place in Mindanao, the trip  was quite challenging.

My Unfortunate "Fortunate" Trip  (Butuan-Cebu-Dumaguete-Siquijor)

I had to endure a full 8-hour night travel from San Miguel, Surigao del Sur to Butuan City to catch my 2:30 pm flight to Cebu since there was no direct flight to Dumaguete coming from Butuan City.  

In Cebu, we went first to  SM Cebu to have our lunch at 4pm . After that, we took a jeepney with the route sign of 01H that passed by the South Bus Terminal Station. It was an unfortunate day that we missed the second to the last bus trip bound for  Dumaguete City by  mere 20 minutes. Then worst came when the dispatcher announced that the last trip to Dumaguete was cancelled. 

I was about to give up but the “Bogart the explorer” in me resurfaced to find alternatives. Instead of weeping on my misfortunes, I took the bus going to Bato via Lilo-an. We arrived in Lilo-an at 9:00 pm and the bus conductor said we have just missed the last ferry going to Dumaguete. My knees were shaking in disappointment but I did not give up and asked the driver if there are another ports available near the vicinity.  

Luckily, I discovered the Bato- Tampi LCT route leaving at 10:00pm that is operated by Maayo Shipping Co. Arriving at Tampi. alighting from the ship I spotted an aircon Ceres Bus bound for Dumaguete City and took the opportunity to ride on it with a minimum fare of Php 70.00.

In Dumaguete City, there was some kind of festival happening and I was told it was the founding anniversary of Siliman University. We hang around with others visitors and met some locals, made some chat and exchanged stories on some of our travel experiences. Then suddenly I noticed it was almost midnight  so we decided to have a simple dinner in one of the resto bars near the pier. 

Since it was already dawn, we decided not to sleep in a hotel or lodge anymore and went directly to the port terminal station. We paid Php 15.00 each for the terminal fee and silently took a short nap in one side of the facility. Luckily I had my convertible pillow with me, making my nap easier and comfortable.  The terminal was Wi-fi ready and I got easily connected. After a few updates on my social media, I finally decided to sleep.

A New Hope in Dumaguete

After the sun had risen, we made a little wash up in the terminal's very clean comfort room. My Php 15.00 was really worth it and it had took care of me  for all of my morning rituals (am that kuripot). How I wish all the public comfort rooms are as well maintained as the CR in Dumaguete's terminal port.

While waiting for our 9:00 am trip to Siquijor, we wandered around the beautiful boulevard of the city. 

Strolling down, something captured my eyes. It was  a “unique” set of chairs installed in one of the stores in the boulevard known as Hoy Lugaw that sells pinoy local congee (lugaw) and  mami. 

I admire the creativity of the owner as the establishment looks  authentic, eye-catching and environment-friendly type of business. Due to my fascination, we sit and ordered a bowl of lugaw which was quite expensive for Php 40.00. There was nothing much special about their lugaw. It was just an ordinary lugaw  with little  chunks of chicken on it. Nevertheless, it was worth a try as I Support the Filipino Entrepreneurs!

After a bowl of congee, I got curious on how the city looked like during day light . We wandered around the city proper and  we spotted the century old cathedral. 

There was a mass that day ( it was Sunday)  and we decided to sit for a while to hear the Gospel of the Lord. Beside the church lies the old bell tower. I braved to enter the tower to see the belfy and how the city appear from above. The view was magnificent as I can see the sun's rays touching the  peeping summit of Mount Talinis from a thick fog seen from afar.

The tower  incurred dozens of repair as seen on the cement pasted on the walls. The relic had been there for century and quite an artifact already. The sad part was there are lot of vandalism on the walls of the tower and even the bells weren’t spared. 



I bet this place has been  the usual hang out or tambayan for quite a long time among the local youth of Dumaguete. Without any security guards or lock on its door , people can do whatever they want . Sad to know  that proper preservation was not laid in place for this historical artifact. I hope that the NHI or even the LGU implement some mitigation to prevent this to its  total demise.


Island of Fire: The First Encounter 

We went back to the terminal and boarded the fast craft Delta bound for Siquijor. The fare was Php 160.00. The travel from Dumaguete to Siquijor Port took only  less than an hour. Stepping out in the sand of Siquijor for the first time, I was awed to see the grand shore of the island. I kept my eagerness and excitement contained but deep inside I wanted to run and jump into its  clear blue water with pure white  sugar-like sand. But I need to reserve my energy  for my primary purpose in the island. 




Tour Guide in Siquijor

Leaving the port, we were mobbed by dozens of tricycle drivers offering their tour guide services or simply transporting us to our chosen resort. Some even offered places to stay in case you still don't have any reservations made. Since I left  my (student) driver's license intentionally, I did not rent a motorcycle for safety and liability anticipation. 

Kuya Joam and Me                                                                      Kuya Jingle and his magic tricycle


At the port,  I asked one of the accredited and trusted guides , Kuya Joam,  if he can recommend a package travel guide for a day trip in the island. (He was booked already that day)

Luckily, his friend Kuya Jingle (pronounced as Jin-gol) was free to accompany my trip. I did not hesitate to hire his service as he seem like a kind and trustworthy person and assured me he was also an accredited guide by the local tourism office in Siquijor, showing me  his identification card and municipal tariffs for tour guides (sigurista)

Contact:

Kuya Joam : +63 927.693.2095
Kuya Jingle : +63 915.890.3286


Accommodation in Siquijor

The Royal Cliff Resort

We rode to San Juan to look for a vacant room/resort. I was hoping to stay at Lorna’s End of the World but her place was recently got burned last July 2012. Instead, she made some recommendations like the Czar's, JJ's and Silvia's Place.

But that was just unfortunate as much of those recommended places were booked already since it was a long weekend holiday and a lot of tourists flocked in the island.

But Kuya Jingol, our guide, assured us we can get a nice affordable room in no time. According to him there are lots of lodges and resorts in the island and no need to worry as he will take care of that matter.

We visited a number of resorts and since I wanted my place a little bit away from the crowded area, we decided to take a room at Royal Cliff Resort in San Juan for Php 700.00 good for two occupants.The resort was filled with lots and lots of ornamental plants and was situated in a rocky  but not so elevated cliff fronting a beautiful beach.

The room was non-airconditioned and  no need for one since the ambiance was already "tropical fresh". The room has a small kitchen with a functional refrigerator for your prepared food and brought in beverages. They also have a small veranda where you can simply have some coffee or chat with your friends.


Royal Cliff has only 6 rooms and I was the last guest to fill in the vacant room. Guests were all foreigners coming from Spain, Switzerland and United States. They have chosen the place maybe because of the location and the nice view from the cliff.

There was also a mini bar/restaurant just above the rocky shore where the view of the sunrise and sunset was simply breath taking. There were also stairs leading to the so called "Lover's Cave". The place can be a romantic spot for couple spending quality time watching the raging blue waters of the sea and experiencing the ultimate sunset view in Siquijor.

(Tip for the guys: This can be a perfect venue where you can propose to your girlfriend-just one of the options though )



Places to Visit in Siquijor



Capilay Spring Park


400 Year Old Balete /Park


Lazi’s  Church and Convent


Cambuguhay Waterfalls


Salagdoong Beach


St. Vincent Church


St. Francis de Assisi Church

Getting There

Coming From Manila

Take an early domestic flight going to Dumaguete. At the Sibulan-Dumaguete Airport, take a jeepney or a bus at the highway bound to city proper, minimum fare is Php 20.00. Tricycles are available to take you to the port /pier. At the pier, there are a number of ferry boat operators you can choose from. The fast craft “Delta” going to Siquijor charge Php 160.00 for one way. The travel will take you an hour going to Siquijor Port.

Coming from Cebu

If there are no direct flights to Dumaguete in your place, take the flight bound for Cebu . From Cebu airport, you can take a taxi going to the South Terminal Bus Station.  Take a bus bound to Dumaguete, the last trip is 6:00 pm but I suggest to take the earlier trip as sometimes they do cancel the last trip with unknown reason.

Coming from North Mindanao

There are also ferry boats in Dipolog and Dapitan that leaves at night bound to Dumaguete and vice versa. Check their schedule here.

Alternative Route


Alternative 1.

If you missed the bus bound to Dumaguete or you are in a rush, you can take the Bato via Lilo-an. At Lilao-an Port there are ferry ( Delta) bound directly to Larena Siquijor or you can take the ferry bound to Dumaguete if you plan to visit the city first.

Alternative 2.

If there are no ferry boat in Lilo-an bound to Larena, take the pump boat (Php35.00 +10.00) or ferry (  Php 62.00+10.00 ) bound to Sibulan and from there you can take a jeepney bound to  Dumaguete.

Alternative 3.

Worst case scenario: If you missed the last trip in Lilo-an, head towards Bato port . There is an LCT bound to Tampi. The fare is Php 160.00 as well. In Tampi, take a bus, jeepney or tricycle bound to Dumaguete.


Ideal  Itinerary  and Budget Projection 
( BUTUAN-CEBU-DUMAGUETE-SIQUIJOR)

Just a reference for your future trips. Disregard items that are not applicable to your tailored trip.

Sched
Activity/Destination

Cost
Aug. 24 (Friday)
BXU –CEBU-CAMOTES-CEBU


Taxi/Terminal
190


Breakfast
75
9:00-10:00
Cebu to Danao
Van/bus
100
10:00-12:00
Danao-Camotes
Ferry
205
12:00-1:00p
Lunch
Carenderia
100
12:00-4:00
Tour Camotes
Habal habal
500/2 v.v.
4:00-6:00
Camotes –Danao
Ferry
205
6:00-7:00p
Danao-Cebu
Van/Bus
100
7:00-8:00p
Dinner
Mall(Ayala/SM/Carinderia)
150
8:00-onwards
Hotel /Jamming/socials
Sugbutel
250

1875-250=1625
Aug.25 (Saturday)
CEBU –SIQUIJOR-COASTAL TOUR-OVERNIGHT
2:30-3:30a
To South bus terminal
Taxi
100
3:30-7:30
Cebu-Dumaguete Bus
Ceres Bus
300
7:30-7:45
Dumaguete-to port
Tricycle
15
8:00-9:00
Port- Siquijor
Ferry
160
9:00
Check in @hotel/rest lunch
Salagdoong Beach Resort(Gov.Owned)
800/2
1:00-6:00p
Coastal Tour
Beaches/Enchanted Tree/St. Francis de Assisi/Cambugahay Falls
950/2




7:00onwards
Dinner/Socials/

250

2575-825=1750
Aug.26 (Sunday)
SIQUIJOR-TOUR-MOUNTAIN TOUR-DUMAGUETE OVERNIGHT
6:00-7:00a
Breakfast
Canteen
100
7:00-12:00nn
Mountain  tour
Camp Bandilaan/Cantabon/Butterfly Sanctuary
950/2
3:00-4:00p
Headback to Dumaguete
City Tour
160
7:00pm onwards
Overnight Dumaguete
Diner/socials/hotel
1000/2

2210-925=1285
Aug.27 (Monday)
DUMAGUETE-CEBU-BXU
4:30a-10:00
Dumaguete to  Cebu
Bus Ceres
300

Cebu Mactan
Taxi/terminal
350



650


total
7310-2000=5310.00



16 comments :

  1. Hi Love Mindanao, nice post about Dumaguete and Siquijor. These places are very close to my heart. And you're lucky you got to witness the Silliman Founder's Day! Anyway, just one correction, I think you saw Mt. Talinis from the church bell tower, not Mt. Kanlaon. :)

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  2. thanks reiza .. i appreciate the comment very much ... will be corrected ... i just relied on the locals...there are too many mountains there .. but the farthest they say is the Kanloan ... will make the edit ... :D

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  3. Wow that's a really nicely detailed blog post! I personally didn't think a trip like this is this affordable :) Thanks for the info!

    Jason of
    http://jsncruz.com/

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  4. Waaa Siquijor! I miss! <3 Prolly the best beaches I've been!

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  5. Oh, you are so detailed!!! Which is something I truly look up to you for. Also -- despite the misfortunes along the way, you were blessed to have seen new structures that kept you amazed.. What's more, you were brought safely to Siquijor and was luckily provided that one last room (which looks so tranquil!).. I might have just seen the next Philippine destination that I'll be heading out to next year.. So thank you for this, Dennis! :)

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  6. This is really helpful. Might use this as a reference in my future trip to Cebu. Siquijor is a very beautiful place as seen in the picture I would love to go there.

    http://www.mommyhopeful.info

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  7. Waterfalls, Beach, Old Churches and a whole lot more. Siquijor is really packed with a lot of places to visit.

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  8. My father born in siquijor and I tell you I heard a lot of mystery in siquijor according to my Dad we have relatives who are mangkukulam yay, but when I saw your photos, lol it is more like captivating than scary.

    http://www.annesweetlife.com

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  9. Excellent spots for perfect unwinding and exploration of mother nature is never a problem in the Philippines. Thanks for sharing that itinerary table for future reference ~ http://the-urban-walker.blogspot.com/

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  10. Wow! This is such a nice post with all the important details included.. :D I've heard of how beautiful and mysterious Siquijor is, but I have yet to visit the place myself. Anyway, thanks for sharing with us your experience. This is really very helpful for anyone planning a trip to Siquijor :)

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  11. Siquijor's mystique traditions made it popular but the truth is it's such a lovely place...one of the must-see places in the country.

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  12. I love the cave photo...looks like a really mysterious and very many beautiful things waiting to be uncovered....

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  13. Whenever I read something about this place called, SIQUIJOR, there's only one thing in my mind... some scary place with a lot of "ASWANG" !! I don't even know why.

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  14. Hi. Just wanna ask kung malilibot na ba ang buong island ng siquijor in just one day ? or ilang oras para mapuntahan lahat ng spot sa Siquijor Island ? Thanks :)

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  15. yes you can go around the island in just one day ,,,in my experience we hired the tricycle for a day tour. You can also rent a motorbike if you wish ....

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