SIQUIJOR IN PHOTOS
Siquijor is a small island province in Central Visayas Region, surrounded by Negros, Cebu and Bohol. Once a part of Bohol and then Negros Occidental, Siquijor didn’t become an independent province until 1971. It is the smallest of all Central Visayas provinces and the third smallest in the country.
Siquijor is subdivided into 6 municipalities namely; Siquijor, Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi and San Juan. Its capital is also Siquijor where the main port is located.
Siquijor’s reputation as place of sorcery, witchcraft, magic / black magic, potions etc. are the usual reasons why tourists avoid visiting this island. It is far from the description by the Spaniards when they first saw it during Miguel Lopez de Legapi’s Expedition. They called the island “Isla del Fuego” or “Island of Fire”, because of the glow that came from the fireflies sheltered in the trees on the island.
But no amount of stories or hearsay about “mangkukulam” or “mangbabarang” can scare me from visiting Siquiijor. In my experience traveling, most of the locals are nice and helpful with the visitors. My first visit here was last December 2012. I was really excited to set my foot here since my travel buddies have nothing to say but good things about this island. My return to Siquijor came too soon (3 weeks ago), as I was hired to take photos of an upcoming resort.
Tourism is still not a major industry but the potential is there. Siquijor is still underrated destination for local travellers as most of the visitors are foreigners. I believe with its distinct charm, it will become one of the most sought-after tourist destinations. Their white beaches, waterfalls, historical churches and old houses are worth seeing.
A great way to explore the island is by motorcycle / tricycle. I highly recommend tour guide extraordinaire, Joam Camingao 0927-6932095.
Below are some attractions you don’t want to miss while in Siquijor
1. Siquijor Port (Siquijor) – One of the cleanest port that I’ve been to. The water here is crystal clear that makes you want to jump and swim.
2. Undeveloped White Beaches (Siquijor) – These are beaches with Palm Trees just beside Siquijor Port. I just love to sit in one of the cottages here and feel the sea breeze.
3. St. Francis of Asisi Church (Siquijor) – This church is located just across Siquijor Port. Founded in 1783 and constructed from 1795 to 1831. The material is mostly made of coral stones.
4. Guiwanon Spring Park (Siquijor) – A resort mostly made of nipa huts and wooden bridges suspended above the mangrove area.
5. Tulapos Marine Sanctuary (Enrique Villanueva) – One of my favorite spots in Siquijor. The picturesque mangrove forest is perfect subject for landscape photography enthusiasts like me.
6. Cang-Isok House (Enrique Villanueva) – This century-old structure is the oldest surviving house in Siquijor. It is situated along the shoreline of Enrique Villanueva.
7. Our Lady of Divine Providence Church (Maria) – One of the interesting feature of this church is the statue of St. Rita de Cascia. It is displayed beside the altar. The image is wearing a black dress holding a skull and a cross.
8. Salagdoong Beach (Maria) – I’ve never seen a public beach so clean like this resort. Just like the water in Siquijor Port, it is pristine clear. The beach is separated by huge rock where slides and diving ledge were installed. It is government-owned and managed by the Provincial Tourism Office.
9. Salagdoong Forest Reserve (Maria) – It is a government reforestation project. It features Molave trees of different sizes forming a tunnel-like structure going to Salagdoong Beach.
10. Kagusuan Beach (Maria) – The beach is popular for its rock formations. This undeveloped and secluded beach is also good for swimming and camping. Many fisherman park their boats here.
11. St. Isidore Labradore Church and Convent (Lazi) – Built in 1857 by Augustian Recollects and was completed by Filipino Artisans in 1884. Considered as the biggest convent in the country and in Asia and was declared as a historical landmarks by the National Historical Commission in the 1970’s.
There is a museum at the the second floor of the convent, where you can see old religious objects like diary of friars, statues of saints, antique piano and typewriter etc.
Photography is prohibited inside but I can’t help myself to take a snap shot using my cellphone. Sorry!
12. Cambugahay Falls (Lazi) – This falls is well-known for its cascading multi-tiered waterfalls. It has three levels, where the main basin is located at the lowest level. There is also a vine where you can swing ala-Tarzan before plunging into the water.
13. The Old Enchanted Balete Tree (Lazi) -This tree is the biggest and oldest tree in Siquijor. It is believed to be 400 years of age. Spring water streams underneath the tree which flow to a pool. If your lucky and no one is doing their laundry, you can dip your feet at the pool for a fish spa.
14. Paliton Beach (San Juan) – The beach is part of San Juan but there is no resort here. The water here is clear as glass and the sand is powdery white. The view of Mt. Kanlaon and sunset here are wonderful.
15. Unnamed Falls (said to be in Maria) – The father of my client, who loves nature brought me here. This falls is really hard to find, I think only the locals near the area know this secret gem. The hike is about an hour where we parked our vehicle, it includes bush wacking in the cornfields and giant ferns because the trail is not established. I am an experienced mountain hiker but I will get lost for sure looking for this waterfalls.