Siquijor has always been shrouded in mystery. This province dubbed “Mystical Island” in the Visayan region of the Philippines is best known for mystique and witchcraft. It’s believed that at the mountainous center of this unassuming island lies the den of old witches. They protect the island from evil, and also cast curses on enemies. Upon docking on the island, visitors will be met with signs and posters from the local government asking them not to believe in such stories. However, a quick chat with the older locals will give a different perspective.
So is it real? Are witches true and is there magic in the air? Whatever you choose to believe, there is one thing that everyone who has been to Siquijor agrees on: Siquijor is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines and in this post we will cover the best tourist spots to visit.
The nearest jump off point to Siquijor is Dumaguete, a nearby province with its own domestic airport. Dumaguete is a unique destination on its own, but ferries at the Dumaguete Port travel to Siquijor Island daily. Below are the most popular shipping lines at the Dumaguete Port:
It is also possible to go to Siquijor from Cebu, via Dumaguete. Buses at the South Bus terminal will bring passengers to Liloan, Santander for the Liloan Port. Ferries from Liloan Port travel to Sibulan in Negros Occidental, where passengers can then ride a jeepney to Dumaguete City.
Once in Siquijor, the most convenient way to go around is via tricycle or motorbike. Siquijor is so small, you can go around the main road around the perimeter of the island within 2 or 3 hours. There’s a road that cuts through the forest down the middle of Siquijor, which is the one and only “shortcut” the island has.
There are several tours that travelers can take, but, depending on your haggling skills, you can easily talk to a tricycle driver to bring you to the top spots in Siquijor.
The Balete tree is an enchanted tree endemic to the Philippines believed to be home to many kinds of elementals. In Siquijor, a 400-year old Balete is one of the top attractions on the island. At the foot of the tree is a pool fed by spring water. Small fish live in the pool, and visitors can dip their feet for a fish spa.
Off the road is a sign that leads to Cambugahay Falls. There is no long hike needed, a couple of steps down the forest and across rocks already bring you to the falls. It’s a refreshing dip in the water. If you are strong enough, you can swing along the ropes hanging off the trees and do a “Tarzan drop” into the water.
Salagdoong Beach is known for its white sand and clear blue waters. There is little to see when snorkeling, but bumming along the shore is a good enough activity. There is a small restaurant on the beach for your meals, or you can try to jump off 10-meter and 30-meter platforms built on a cliff rock on the beach.
The Lazi Church is the most visited church in Siquijor Island. It sits within the same compound as the convent. Both sites were declared by the National Historical Institute as a national landmark because of its religious and historical value to the country. The church isn’t always open, but the convent is open to the public the whole day. You can walk through the ruins, sit in classrooms, and enter abandoned bedrooms.
The St. Francis of Assisi Church is the first landmark you’ll see upon entering Siquijor. It’s a 200-year old church standing beside a bell tower and across a convent. The church is one of the most active churches on the island to celebrate Catholic Sunday Mass.
Capilay Spring Park is an easy ride from the port. It features gardens, play grounds, and a grotto of Mama Mary. Throughout the center of the park is a natural spring that flows down the mountains and funneled through pool and stream systems throughout the park.
Despite its size, Siquijor is filled with places of adventure and discovery. Here are more attractions to check out if you are staying for more than a day in the island:
The island of Siquijor holds a unique charm in its beauty, isolation, and mystique. Though it’s not clear how the legends surrounding witchcraft started, it only makes the island all the more attractive to travelers and adventure-seekers. Being surrounded by crystal clear waters creates the perfect location for a peaceful island getaway.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!