One of the lesser talked about destinations in the Philippines, Siquijor epitomizes the natural landscape that the country is famous for. Similar to Palawan, you should come here not for renowned sights, but to enjoy the idyllic atmosphere native to the island. Siquijor is a bit more well rounded than Palawan and has diverse attractions, including waterfalls, rice terraces, caving, diving, and of course, white sandy beaches. It’s also a great option if you’re limited on time and want a bit of everything that the Philippines has to offer, especially as a substitute for the rice terraces of Banaue on Luzon. It’s also one of the cheapest islands, so an extended stay won’t pinch your budget.
Of the various attractions found on Siquijor, the waterfalls are the most popular sight, and with good reason. The falls are beautiful, the water is clear, and there’s a rope swing nearby that make this an easy spot to spend a day. However, there are a multitude of other options here aside from just the falls. San Juan is the village where most visitors stay, with its own natural spring park at its center, good diving sites (not as standout as elsewhere in the country) and Paliton Beach, the nicest beach on the island. Some secret swimming holes worth seeking out are Kagusan and Salagdoong beaches, and the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary. If you like hiking then you can head to Mount Bandilaan Nature Park where you will also find a pretty and serene butterfly sanctuary.
Another great option in Siquijor is Saladoong Beach. It doesn’t matter if you just want to relax or if you’d rather do something more active as Saladoong beach offers both. Although the beach isn’t a perfect white sand beach, it does have some of the bluest waters you’ve ever seen. Next to that, you’ve got two great cliffjumping spots, respectively being 17.5ft and 35ft high. It might seem high while standing up there and although it feels like ages before hitting the water, the jump is so worth it.
The history of this island is rooted in mystique and still well known by locals for its magical aura. This is in part because of the fairytale beauty of the island and Spanish colonizers named it “Isla de Fuego” (“Island of Fire”) after the drones of fireflies lighting up the night sky. Its reputation is also cemented in a long line of spiritual healers who have inhabited the island called Mangkukulams, not to be confused with their dark counterpart, the Mambabarangs (witches). This close relationship has forced many healers into hiding out of fear of being mislabeled, so the general consensus by residents is that the Mangkukulams no longer exist. However, if you’re lucky enough to come across one, travelers have stories of miraculous cures that continue to reinforce the island’s reputation as a mystical place to visit.
Siquijor is not the party central of Boracay, nor quite the breathtaking landscape of Palawan, but it is a relaxing slice of paradise deserving of its spot in the top destinations lists of the Philippines. So closely situated next to Cebu, it’s easy for you to squeeze in a trip to explore the entirety of the small island, after which you may regret that you didn’t give yourself more time!
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It is the most common to arrive in Siquijor by boat, though there is also an airport. If you enter Siquijor by port, you’ll have plenty of tricycles waiting to take you to your accommodation. They have all kinds of papers and posters that indicate prices, making it easy to believe prices are fixed. However, the prices are not fixed and if you walk a little further past all the tricycles, you’ll have time to breathe and find a cheaper one. Normally they’ll be at least 50% cheaper so it is worth walking the extra 100 meters.
When you’ve arrived at your accommodation well, we can highly recommend renting a motorbike to tour around the island. It is a lot cheaper than a tricycle but the roads are also great for motorbikes. Within a day you’ll be able to see pretty much the most of the island.
If you love to eat healthy food in a very relaxed place, you definitely want to stop by Dagsa. This is a nice little restaurant with a very laid-back feeling to it which serves great good and also has live music sometimes.