I fell in love with Siquijor’s landscape and its beaches two years ago but I didn’t push through going there. I was a little scared, but last year, for my annual birthday backpacking trip, I finally had the courage to do it. And Siquijor became one of my favorite destinations.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Dumaguete City
From the Dumaguete City airport, ride a tricycle going to Dumaguete Port. The fare depends on how many you are riding. You can also take a jeep. Then from the port, ride a ferry going to Siquijor. It’s a 45-minute to one hour ride and costs around 210 pesos. You can check out the schedule here. From Siquijor Port, ride a tricycle to your accommodation.
From Cebu City
Personally, I came from Cebu because I passed by Oslob before going to Siquijor. From Mactan International Airport, go to the South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres bus going to Bato (Liloan Port). The ride is 4 hours long (depending on traffic) and the fare is around 170 pesos for an air-conditioned bus. Then from Liloan Port, ride a fast craft going to Sibulan Port. It’s only a 30-minute trip and I paid 60-70 pesos for it and that includes the terminal fee. From Sibulan Port, ride a tricycle or jeep going to Dumaguete Port.
There is a ferry from Tagbilaran going to Siquijor though it is quite expensive (P700 one way) and it’s 1 hour and 30 minutes long.
A lot of people don’t know this but Siquijor is a big island. It’s not like Boracay or Malapscua. I was shocked myself because from Siquijor Port, I had to ride a tricycle for around 40 minutes before I reached my hostel.
The best and cheapest way to go around the island is to hire a motorbike. All hotels and hostels offer them and in my hostel, the rent per day is 350 pesos. If you don’t know how to drive then the tricycle is best for you. It can cost around 800-1000 pesos per day and if you’re a solo traveler, it can be a little steep. There are no habal habals for hire as far as I can remember.
WHERE TO STAY
There are lots of resorts around the island and of course, it depends on your budget which ones to pick. As you guys know now, I’m a hostel girl. So I booked my stay at JJ’s Backpacker Village. I didn’t use Hostelworld, Agoda or any other booking sites. I just contacted them through Facebook and made a bank deposit to secure my reservation.
What I loved about JJ’s is they have a beautiful beach, a lovely restaurant and also a camping site. You can bring your own tent or rent one from the management. Walk-ins are not advisable. You have to book early because the hostel tends to be full all the time.
DRIVE AROUND AND EXPLORE
On my first day, since I was too lazy to check out the places, I just drove around the whole island and checked out the town. I had to be careful because I did not have a driver’s license and there are checkpoints. 😀 Everything was chill though. It took me half the day to do this. Like I said, Siquijor is a big island.
There are some churches around the island, like the Lazi Church and Convent. I also passed by the famous 400-year-old Balete Tree. I was too into driving and feeling the island vibes that I forgot to take pictures of them. But then I think that’s a good thing because we have to live in the moment. Social media be damned 😛
Quite possibly the most beautiful waterfalls I have seen. You have to trek a little to go to the place but when you’re there, it’s worth the calories burned. It had a mystic vibe to it mainly because of the powder blue (yes you’ve read that correctly), powder blue water and the surrounding trees. You can swim and even do the Tarzan jump into the water.
It’s quite a drive going there but words cannot describe how beautiful the beach is. I was mesmerized by the color of the ocean and the cleanliness of the beach.
Salagdoong Beach is located inside a beach resort so you have to pay for parking and an entrance fee but it’s not that expensive. They have a restaurant but at that time, they don’t have much food. Oh! They have a cliff diving station too.
We mainly stayed at the far end of the resort, away from tourists and had our photo op there.
PARTY LIKE THE ROMANS
If you’re looking for a party scene like Moalboal or Boracay then you will not find it in Siquijor. My friend Amelia (whom I met from the hostel) were having a drink with Pascal, another guest when we met two Filipino guys from Dumaguete. They were pre-gaming to go to Czar’s Place. Apparently, they have live bands and a disco but ONLY ON FRIDAYS. We didn’t want to ride our motorbikes because we will be drinking so we hitched a ride with them. And when I say hitch, it’s riding on the back of a delivery truck with printers and scanners. And the only light is coming from a small light bulb. What an experience THAT one was.
When we arrived at Czar’s, the place was packed already. There were lots of tourists and locals alike. There was a live band at the stage but then there’s also a DJ. Basically, the whole night consisted of a cycle of badly transitioned songs and acoustic sets. Another weird thing is that the place seemed to allow minors. We were at the dance floor where there is a foam party happening and when I look around, pre-pubescent teens were also partying it up. It was all so bizarre. On the plus side, they have cheap alcohol. You can buy one tequila shot for 30 pesos. At one point, my friends seemed to ditch me so I had to hitch a ride back to the hostel.
A PLACE TO GO BACK TO
All in all, it was a very fulfilling trip. I made friends and had unforgettable experiences. I know I barely scratched the surface on what Siquijor Island has to offer and I want to go back with my best friends and share to them the beauty of Visayas’ hidden gem.