Siquijor, the Island of Fire – An Epic 5 Days
Filipinos say the island of Siquijor is mystical, enchanting and spiritual. It is further said to have magic potions, shamans, sorcerers and witches; and these superstitions cause many Filipinos to refuse to stay overnight on this island due to fear. For me, if I get the “pleasure” to see anything unusual occur it’ll be a great excuse to make my own Blair Witch Project movie.
Jenny and I took the Oceanjet fast ferry from Dumaguete direct to the Siquijor port but if you make a similar trip you may want to check into other boating options (from alternative originations) that arrive at the Larena port.
We spent two super relaxing nights at the Coral Cay Resort located in the San Juan province of the island. After a 9KM (~6 Mile) ride in a motorized tricycle for the sum of 100 pesos ($2 USD) we made it to the resort and got checked in. They had a spartan but clean room with air conditioning and hot water that was located directly on he beach available for 1,900 Pesos a night. After a little negotiating, I agreed to two nights with a 20% discount, bringing the total down to a very reasonable 1,520 Pesos ($33 USD a night). The next morning we woke up to the sound of kids playing outside our window. There was a tree swing that the kids were using and we spent some relaxing time watching them and I snapped some photos. The kids were friendly and they spoke great English.
Next up, I wanted to do something adventurous. Two people told me that Salagdoong beach is the best water and sand on Siquijor and that made up my mind. Jenny and I got on a trike to the main city where I rented a 150cc motorcycle for 300 Pesos ($6 USD) for a 24 hour period.
Imagine two people on a small motorcycle, more like a scooter really, then add three pieces of luggage to the image, my large 28 inch suitcase strapped to Jenny’s back, with my backpack placed between her and I and then Jenny’s medium-to-large sized red suitcase placed on the neck of the bike that bowed my legs out. The bike was not only seriously weighted down but it was also quite difficult to steer due to the red suitcase up front. Stopping to get cash from the ATM and also a pitstop for gas were both challenges that I’d like to never repeat. But we did get to enjoy the laughs of the local roadside spectators watching our circus act pass by!
Arriving at Salagdoong beach made the hellish trip all worth it. The translucent turquoise water and powdery white sand were just what I was looking for. We stayed one night at the only nearby hotel that was apparently government owned. It wasn’t much in terms of accommodations but we spent most of our time at the beach. If you visit the island then this beach is a mandatory stopover for you!
The next day we planned on returning to Dumaguete but due to bad info missed the last ferry back by only 30 minutes. I tried to charter a boat for the 45 minute trip but after negotiating with some pier touts they ended up saying the boat captain had changed his mind and the trip was off.
Next up I got the great idea to charter a small Cesna plane from the tiny Siquijor Airport for a quick and scenic 7 minute ride to Dumaguete. Unfortunatly, the “airport” looked more like a private farm complete with cattle and chickens grazing. There was a concrete runway but no hangers and no planes removed our last option of getting off the island. So with hat in hand, Jenny and I decided to spend one more night on the island and take the one and only ferry back to Dumaguete the next morning – leaving at the hellish time of 6AM!
Our tricycle driver offered us a new home-stay style place to stay the night called Diamond de Siquijor and we took the bait. It was only 800 pesos ($17 USD) and is located directly on the beach, doesn’t have hot water but it does have air conditioning. The food on their room service menu was quite pricey and took an hour to deliver, however it was the absolute best cuisine we sampled on the island. In the morning we watched an incredibly vivid sunrise and basked in the memories of our 5 day adventure; a perfect finish to our trip.