If you are looking for a quick and worth it getaway, try the Island of Fire: Siquijor. Known for its mystics, urban legends and scary folk stories, this small island province gives you more reason to explore and visit it. You can definitely tour around the island in a day like we did.
Actually this was our Plan B as we planned to visit an island somewhere north of Cebu or Leyte but it did not push through. Good thing for us being in Cebu, we don’t have to book any tickets in advance to travel to Siquijor island. We just contacted a guide referred to us by a friend few days ahead to deal with our transportation around the island.
We traveled on a Saturday afternoon from Cebu to Dumaguete and spent the night there. Then the next day we took the 8am trip from Dumaguete to Siquijor. Sorry I can’t give you a detailed travel expenses breakdown because I totally lost track but we managed our way through blogs also so you can Google them.
St. Francis de Asisi Church and Belfry
We arrived in the port of Siquijor around 9:30AM and met our guide. Our first stop is the St. Francis de Asisi Church and Belfry in the town of Siquijor. Well actually this church is just a few meters outside the port area so this is everybody’s first tourist spot. The stone church was built from 1793 to 1831 and the bell tower was separately built in 1891 located few meters away from the church. It was used to give advance warning to the people of the island from approaching pirates.
Drag around the photosphere below to check out the place. If you drag to the right, you can see the entrance to the port area.
Capilay Spring Park
The next town is San Juan where they have a natural spring open to the public. The Capilay Spring Park is a great place to chill with the cold water coming from the spring uphill. They have developed the place to have cottages and pools and actually it is just beside the main highway.
I find the place really great for picnics and barkada gatherings. They have a grass playground and enough spaces for public events.
Enchanted Balete Tree
Another famous spot and truly iconic natural landmark in Siquijor is the 400-year old enchanted Balete tree in the town of Lazi. Thanks to Philippine horror movies and folk stories, this Balete tree is famously known as a dwelling place of a Kapre, a mythical creature that could be characterized as a tree demon. Well you lose nothing if you just pay respect to this tree and the things unseen. So keep quiet and just marvel on its natural beauty.
The best part here is you get to relax and dip your feet in the cold water. Little fishes thrive in the spring below it so you get to have a free fish spa and it is very stress relieving. If you want to give thanks to the fishes, feel free to put an amount in their small donation box where the caretakers use to maintain the area.
Drag around the photosphere below to check out the place. It is also just beside the main highway.
St. Isidore Church and Convent
After visiting an old age living thing, we visited a 130-year old church still in Lazi, Siquijor. This is actually one of the few remaining Baroque churches in the Philippines which was started in 1857 and completed in 1884. The bell tower was constructed the year after. The most fascinating part of the church is its ceiling and floor (made of wood) which were never replaced and still original.
Across the church is the Lazi Convent which is the largest and oldest convent in Asia. It was constructed in 1887 and was completed after four years. There is a museum in the second level of the building but during our visit it was closed so we were not able to check it out.
Instead, we got into some instant photo session just for fun. Well maybe our hunger has taken effect now as time reads 12 noon already.
Still in the town of Lazi, is the Cambugahay Waterfalls. There are no stores around the place so we need to hold on a little longer for our lunch. From the side of the road, we need to take 135-stone stairs to reach the waterfalls.
But when I saw the place, I forgot everything and only one thing came in to my mind. Swimming!
Cambugahay falls has multi-layered cascading falls originating from natural springs and rain water in the mountains. Further above the waterfall you will find smaller waterfalls with shallow waters suitable for kids. Of all the sites to visit, this is what I was excited to see because I really love waterfalls. Every waterfall has its own unique identity and beauty.
Unfortunately, it rained very hard the night before our visit so we did not get to witness the clear blue green waters of the falls. But that did not stop the adrenaline in my veins to enjoy the place. I love climbing and jumping on waterfalls but I also make sure to ask the lifeguard which spots are safe and deep enough.
Thanks to the swing they attached in a tree, you can enjoy throwing and splashing yourself into the water in style. I remember my childhood days how we love swinging on branches of trees especially on coconut and shout like Tarzan.
Here is a video of me in action. I can do this all day you know! 😀
Oh shoots! It is almost 2PM and our tummies are crying already. So we packed up and headed to our next and final stop in the town of Maria. We stopped over at Maria Public Market and bought some fresh seafood and fish to roast.
Salagdoong Beach is a public beach resort maintained by the local government of Maria. They have an entrance fee of 15 for adults, 10 for kids and they have cottages that range from 100-300 but you can choose to have a picnic in the sand. Honestly we did not get to roam around the resort as we are already hungry and dying for food. 😀 They also have a restaurant so you can order as well.
We did not get a cottage but instead we found a table under the bridge connecting to the cliff diving area. It was just the perfect place for us.
You can enjoy the white sand (not really fine-grained) or cliff dive into the crystal clear waters. They also offer kayaking.
Time check it is 4PM. Time is almost up and the sun is going down. Which means we need to hurry and catch the 5:30PM trip back to Dumaguete. To get there, we need to pass by 2 towns, Enrique Villanueva and Larena which takes around 45 minutes.
As we were travelling back to Siquijor town, we reflect on the things that we have experienced in the island. It was so different from what we imagine through horror stories that have been the image of Siquijor. In 8 hours (9:30AM – 5:30PM), we were treated with some of the best nature wonders, connected with our heritage and history and felt the beauty and simplicity of living in the island.
If not for our jobs the following day, we could have spent the night in the island and visit more spots. Yes, there are still more spots to explore and visit in Siquijor so I am still looking forward to coming back to this island.
Before we boarded the ferry, I caught myself staring at the sunset. Isla del Fuego! The island is on fire. Until we meet again. Adios! 🙂