My Top 10 Must Do in Siquijor

  • Monday, August 15, 2016

Last summer, I was finally able to fulfill my curiosity of exploring the mysterious island of Siquijor.  Although the island is just 6-8 hour drive from the city I lived in, its reputation of being the land of witchcraft and sorcery has always given me second thoughts of discovering what the island has to offer. For the longest time this small verdant island with lush interiors surrounded by stunning beaches has been unfairly labeled which kept them sheltered away from the influx of tourist and outsiders. But as time goes by and with the influence of social media, the beauty of this island is no longer a secret. In fact, it has now become one of my favorite places to have a vacation. 

Upon arrival at the port, you will be wowed by its clear turquoise waters- a clear proof of its unblemished natural beauty. And I can’t wait to start discovering what this island has to offer. 

So here's are my top 10 must do list when you are in Siquijor.

1. Pay visit St. Francis de Assisi Church

Just a short walk from Larena Port, this baroque colonial church will welcome every traveler on the island.  Across the church is its belfry tower which served as a watch tower against sea raiders during the Spanish times.

2. Cool off at Capilay Spring Park

You can't miss this public spring pool as it is located at the center of the town of San Juan just along the highway. The clean and refreshing water coming from a ‘tuburan’ at the foot of the hill which drains into a rectangular pool will definitely cool off visitors who take a dip into the pool. The government also built cottages around the area which is a perfect picnic spot where families can spend the weekend to swim, relax and unwind free of charge.

3. Visit St. Isidore de Labrador Church and convent

This has to be one of the best churches I’ve been to in the country. Made of coral stones just like other colonial churches in the country, its most admirable feature is the wooden floors made of thick hardwood that is mostly in its original state. Right across the church is the Lazi Convent built in 1884 was and is considered the largest convent in the country. Inside the convent is a mini museum where you can see exhibits of church artifacts on display.

4. Get a free foot spa & see the oldest tree in the island.

The Balete tree located beside the highway in Larena is said to be the oldest tree in the province estimated to be 400 years old. It's huge roots hanging all over the massive tree will leave you in awe as you gaze up and realize how huge this natural landmark is. It reminded me of a setting in horror movies back in the days which somehow gave such eerie feeling to this majestic tree. A mini pool was built around the tree where a natural spring water drains. Small fishes thrive in the spring so you can dip your feet, relax at let the fishes do their thing nibbling on your dead skin.

5. Try jumping ala Tarzan at Cambugahay Falls

You have to take approximately 135 steps from the road down the concrete stairs to reach the hidden waterfalls. Surrounded by lush vegetation and towering bamboo trees made this place a cool and very relaxing sanctuary to hangout. It has 3-tier mini waterfalls that drains into a shallow freshwater pool with tiny cave on the middle. The water is said to turns brown during rainy days, luckily during our visit the water was clear and blue, just perfect for a good swim. And we had the entire place just for us. At side of the pool is a rope hanging on a branch of the tree which you can use to do a Tarzan jump and swing your way to the pool with a big splash. For those who wants more thrill, you can climb at the top of the waterfalls and jump down from there.

7. Cliff Jump at Salagdoong Beach

This resort is one of the best I’ve seen that is government owned and managed. For a minimal entrance fee of 15 pesos, one is able to enjoy the view of the white sand beach surrounded by the pristine waters of the sea in different hues of blue and green. There are small cottages available where visitors can stay overnight and small native huts at the beachfront for day trippers. In addition to its gorgeous white sand beach is a concrete platform on the rock formation for cliff diving. In order to complete your Siquijor getaway don’t leave the place without freefalling from this cliff. The two concrete diving boards are high, one suspended at 17 and the other 20 meters above the sea. It was high enough I’m sure you’ll gonna have second, third, fourth thoughts of taking that leap especially with the view of endless sea in front of you. It actually took me 10 thoughts! haha but don’t worry, just jump! You’ll be fine. That adrenaline rush after that jump is one thing I'm sure you will never forget

6. Giwanon Spring and Mangrove Forest

Famous for its tree houses and bamboo bridges, this park has 3 mini springs where one can dip in cool brackish water under the shade of mangroves. For a minimal fee of 10 pesos one can go around the area which is actually not that big. With bamboo foot bridge suspended above the sea, one can access its several tree houses and function hall at the end of it. These tree houses are available for those who wish to stay overnight, but be forewarn that there is a limited electricity in the place and only one toilet is available at the main reception area. It has also a mangrove nursery where they grow seedlings and replant it around the area. It's really a commendable effort on the part of the NGO and the local government for such program in the effort to preserve marine habitat.

7. Visit a Faith Healer

As part of its local tourism, the local government of Siquijor is now promoting faith healing as part of the tourist attractions in the island. It has long been known throughout the country that Siquijor is a place where witchcraft and sorcery abounds. During Holy week, there is a healing festival where traditional healers from all over the country gather on this mystical island to collect ingredients for their concotions from bark of trees, herbs and roots every Good Friday. On other time of the year, you would have to put in a lot of effort in going up the mountains to be able to chance upon these healers who live in the mountainous interior of San Antonio. 

8. Cang-Isok House

Along the way, do drop by this famous century-old house in the island situated along the shoreline of the town Enrique Villanueva. The house looks like your typical Bahay kubo or a traditional Filipino house that is usually raised on stilts and made of nipa roof and planks of wood. The house may look shabby and abandoned but the fact that it is still standing proud after over a century withstanding the challenges of nature is a testament of its strength and character.

9. Enjoy the view of the island & sunset at Infinity Heights Resort

Get a birds-eye view of Siquijor at this secluded boutique resort on top of the mountain where you can enjoy the most amazing view of the sunset, lovely infinity pool, and good food. The place is quiet and relaxing - perfect for those who wish to stay away from noise and wants to experience  nature aside from the usual beach setting.The picture is definitely a true reflection as to how beautiful this place really is!

10. Stroll along San Juan Beach.

The long stretch of white sand beach in San Juan is a welcome respite for the exhausted urban soul. You won’t hear crashing of waves as the water here is incredibly still. It is a perfect spot where you can just lie down on a hammock under the coconut trees as you watch the world go by with an ice-cold beer on your hands. It’s like having a piece of paradise all your own.

Archie’s Notes:
  1. When traveling to Siquijor, I suggest you take the barge instead of the fastcraft. The waves can be a little rough when crossing the sea and smaller ferries are often more prone to experience turbulence.
  2. If you're prone to motion sickness, its best you take medications before the trip.
  3. Siquijor is a small island and you can tour the entire place in a day, but the tourist spots are so beautiful you would want to stay longer to savor its beauty and just enjoy the moment so I suggest that instead of doing a day tour you go for a much longer stay.
  4. Upon your arrival at the port, there are tricycle drivers on standby who will offer you tour services around the island. Their rates are usually for whole day basis which starts at Php 1000 per day and can accommodate 4 persons. Try to ask for a bargain, and if you're good enough rates can lower to 800 but don't haggle too much because these drivers needs to earn also.
  5. If you know how to drive motorbike, you can opt to rent one and tour the island on your own. The rental rates ranges from 300-350 per day and you pay for your own gas. Ask your resort or inn as they have contacts or sometimes they own one.
  6. Always bring cash with you as ATM machines are found only in the town proper & often times out of service. Most of the resorts and inn are homestay and backpackers type so dont rely on your credit card to pay for your bills. 
I hope you enjoyed your time here. More on my backpacking trip in Siquijor soon.Stay tuned with it. Feel free to drop me a comment and share your thoughts about your experiences and travels in Siquijor or about traveling in general. And if you like, please stop by my instagram @archieoffduty and find more travel ideas for your future travels. I would really appreciate it. Thanks! ;-)>

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  1. Are there backpacker hostels in the island? Have an idea how much would it cost?

    1. Hi. There are plenty of backpackers hostel in the island that will suit your budget depending on the location and amenities it offers. The one we stayed in was beach front resort in San Juan which cost 400-500 per night in non aircon room with toilet & bath. You can bring with you a tent and the resort will just charge you 100-150 per night.

  2. Sir, is it possible to know where exactly that spot in the first pic? The one you were lying in the tree po. Thanks!