Much has been told about the island of Siquijor. Folk legends share the existence of witchcraft in the place. During my teenage years, I remember watching Siquijor documentaries about “witches” making paper dolls dance without strings. You’ll also hear about their famous “mananambal” or folk healer. Witchcraft and black magic stories had indeed gave Siquijor its enchanting and mysterious reputation that when people hear about it, they’d feel somewhat frightened.
Having the same impression as others, I fortunately had the chance to discover what Siquijor has to offer. We visited the place via Dumaguete. Landing at Sibulan airport (almost one hour from Manila), we were brought by our service van to Dumaguete sea port for our ferry boat ride Siquijor.
An island tour was scheduled on our second day in Siquijor. After eating breakfast, we left at around 10:30 AM. After only 15 minutes, we arrived at a four-century-old balete tree. The water in front of the tree is used by residents to wash their clothes. It also serves as a dwelling place for a school of tiny fish that nibbles on your feet when you immerse in the water.
St. Isidore Church and Lazi Convent
Fifteen-minute away from the balete tree was St. Isidore Church and Lazi Convent. The church was founded by Augustinian Recollects under St. Isidore Labrador around 19857 and finished by Filipino artisans in 1884. The convent, on the other hand, was built in 1887 and was finished in 1891. Covering approximately 42 x 38 meters, Lazi is one of the biggest convents in the Philippines. Both the church and the convent were declared as National Historical Shrines in 1970’s.
Our next destination was Cambugahay falls, a cascading three-level waterfall. You need to go down a little more than 100 steps to reach it and the path is quite steep. Thrill seekers can choose to jump on the first level either by jumping from its top or by using a vine hanging in one of the tall trees beside it. There is no admission fee.
It was past lunch time when we arrived at Salagdoong beach. We paid an entrance fee of PHP 15 and we rented two cottages for PHP 100 each. From the cottage area, you can see a huge slide that leads to the sea. Just beside the slide is the spot for cliff diving.
Sea Shell Museum
We spent a few minutes dropping by a sea shell museum. There was nothing much inside. Aside from a collection of sea shells, they also sell souvenir items. There is no admission fee.
For our island tour finale, we had merienda at Triad Café located at one of the highest peaks in Siquijor. It was windy and cold at the top where you can get a panoramic view of the island.
Aside from delectable snacks and desserts, they also served meals at affordable prices. We had halo-halo for merienda while some of us tried their fruit shake. We also took home adobong pusit (PHP 180) and lumpiang shanghai (PHP 150) for dinner at the resort where we stayed.
The Truth and the Fallacy
It’s hard to confirm the certainty behind the mystery that wraps the small island of Siquijor. Tales passed on seemed daunting and probably realistic to some. But the truth I discovered in my short stay there was the island’s hidden beauty pricelessly made by our generous Creator.