Siquijor: A Travel Guide to the Island of Fire

The aura of mysticism surrounding the province of Siquijor is both an attraction as well as a deterrent to visitors in the island province. Located in the Central Visayas region, Siquijor is the third smallest province in the country, coming in after Camiguin and Batanes. The Spaniards dubbed it as the Island of Fire due to the fact that it gave off an eerie glow that came from the swarms of fireflies that inhabited the large molave trees that used to be in abundance in the island.

In this section you will find our Siquijor Travel Guide with information on what to see, do, eat, and where to stay.

At present, the island is still famous for its mysticism and primitive healing rituals are still widely performed in the province. Festivals are held periodically in the island where healers sing out incantations as they prepare potions made from various herbs, roots, tree barks and more. Locals love to talk about legends of witches and witchcraft which they say are widely practiced in the islands, often using hushed tones for fear of recrimination from these witches who they believe live among them.


Siquijor (OpenStreetMap)

These legends, however, are not half as appealing to travelers as the natural attractions the province has to offer foremost of which are the white sand beaches that make up its 102-km coastline. The beaches of Candanay Sur and Candanay Norte are home to some of the more exclusive beaches of Siquijor and a public beach with long stretches of fine white sand similar to those found in Boracay. An undeveloped white sand beach can also be found just beside the Siquijor Pier in Poblacion that is perfect for swimming during high tide and skim boarding during low tide. The Coco Grove Beach Resort offers 800mts of white sand beach and turquoise blue waters that rejuvenates the weary traveler. Minalulan has a C-shaped shoreline with a lighthouse at one end and has the potential to be Siquijor’s best beach. The unique rock formation in Kagusuan which renders the beach line to be secluded is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Finally, there is Salagdoong Beach Resort, the perfect hideaway for couples, tucked as it is in a cove with a nearby islet offering a good vantage point for its perfect beachfront.

The eco-tourism adventures that one can enjoy in Siquijor are courtesy of several destinations that are worthy of our time and effort. The first is Camp Bandilaan, the highest point in Siquijor. It is a forest sanctuary where a butterfly sanctuary is also situated. The butterfly sanctuary cultivates plants where cocoon anchors are found, giving opportunities for butterflies to be cultivated within the sanctuary. A viewing deck at its peak provides the traveler a 360 degrees view of the island. Climbing to the peak gives the traveler the opportunity to see the variety of flora and fauna that can be found on the island.

The next attraction is the Cantabon Cave, the most famous among the island’s 45 caves. The spelunker will likely be challenged by the long, winding cave where beautiful stalagmites and stalactites can be found along the huge chamber. A stream goes through the length of the cave. This adventure is not for the meek and the weak of heart, though, as the trek through is physically challenging even to the stronger of travelers.

The three cascading waterfalls of Cambugahay Falls may not have a long, spectacular drop but the waters are clean and fresh and the pools are perfect for swimming. The pools are deep and refreshing and they are not a very long walk away from the parking area. The first pool can be reached by walking down a series of concrete steps. The pool is deep enough to dive in. Going up two more levels, you will reach the two other pools that are as beautiful as the first but not as deep.

A 400-years-old Balete tree in Lazi is a major attraction in Siquijor. Locals believe that it is enchanted and the hundreds of vines and roots hanging from its branches give it that aura of eeriness plus the fact that it provides water to the residents of the area. It is situated just off the national highway on the road to Lazi town.

Capilay Spring Park is next on my list of must-see places in Siquijor made even more interesting because the natural spring was converted into a pool. The cold waters of the spring form the pool where the locals love to swim and it is conveniently located in the town of San Juan right in front of the municipal hall. The Guiwanon Spring Park Resort is interesting because of its wooden bridges and a nestling of nipa huts which you need to go through as you take in the view of the mangroves that is a sanctuary for various marine species.

A man-made attraction in Siquijor is the San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent which was declared a national historical landmark by the National Historical Commission. Made of coral stones and hardwood, the church which measures 42 x 38 meters is the biggest among the oldest churches in the Philippines and in Asia.

The Tulapos Marine Sanctuary is the biggest in the island. It is the home of various species of fish, corals and other marine life. A two-story tree house provides a perfect view of the sea and the shoreline. It is a sanctuary that is perfect for diving and is just one of the many diving sites that Siquijor has to offer to the wanderer at heart. Siquijor is just as Boracay was then when it was yet undiscovered by the thousands of tourists that visit its shores today. Now is the best time to enjoy Siquijor’s natural wonders while it remains largely undisturbed by progress in the name of capitalism.

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