No witches on the witches island Siquijor

Siquijor-4603After our little island hopping trip around Biliran we had to decide where to go to next. We had a few different options and actually had a difficult time finding a compromise that everybody would be happy with. We finally decided to go to the small island of Siquijor –according to a lot of rumors a place of witchcraft and sorcery. We actually heard about that on a few occasions which made us even more curious to explore the place.

A ferry odyssey to the mystic island
After a short stopover in Cebu City, a ferry ride to Bohol and another stopover, we finally boarded the ferry to Siquijor. The boat was supposed to leave at 8 pm but was delayed by officially 2 hours. The reality was that we took off at 11 o‘ clock with a good 3 hour ride ahead of us. Having already spent more than 5 hours at the Bohol Ferry Terminal, we were already knackered when we boarded the boat. Chris pitched his hammock on the upper deck and after a well deserved San Miguel we all crashed hoping to wake up just in time for our arrival. We arrived in the middle of the night. Not the best timing we thought, still having those rumors about witches and sorcerers on the island in our heads. We managed to find a place to stay for that night and instantly fell asleep – it was a too long day.

Dusk at the harbor in Bohol. Killing some time before boarding the ferry.

Dusk at the harbor in Bohol. Killing some time before boarding the ferry.

Bunkbeds on the ferry deck. Too bad they were sold out when we bought tickets.

Bunkbeds on the ferry deck. Too bad they were sold out when we bought tickets.

... and this is how we handle situations like that...

… and this is how we handle situations like that…

Siquijor – white beaches and getting back on motorbikes
The next morning we woke up and saw where we were actually at. A beautiful tropical island with white sand beaches lined with lush green coconut palm trees. That sight definitely made up for the hassles we had the night before. After an overpriced breakfast, we moved to another, way cheaper and nicer resort a short walk down the beach. Our bungalow was cozily situated on a little cliff and the lounging area was right at the beach. We were looking forward to spend some quality at this hidden gem. 

Moving to our new accommodation....

Moving to our new accommodation…. (Photo by Chris Chew)

Right in front of our new place....

Right in front of our new place….

Answering blog comments and having breakfast ... cant get much better than this.

Answering blog comments and having breakfast … 

We wanted to explore a little bit and rented motorbikes for the first time since Laos. It felt good to ride again together after such a long time. Our first stop was rather unintentionally as we discovered the butterfly sanctuary only because of a little roadside sign. The place was actually very nice with a very friendly and engaged guide. He showed us around and explained a lot about the endemic species of butterflies. The sanctuary is self sustained and not funded by the government which made the visit even more worthwhile.

Siquijor – The island to jump off things
Next stop was Cambugahay Falls. Arriving at the falls was a very nice surprise. It was a lot like the Kuang Si Waterfalls in Luang Prabang Laos. Very pristine with several stages, crystal clear pools and a fun little jump off. Best of all however was that there were only very few people and al of them locals enjoying a bath to escape the heat of the day. We each brought a bottle of San Mig Light and had another taste of the good life in the Philippines – The Buhay Baboy.

The BLC Riders on re-united and on the road again.

The BLC Riders on re-united and on the road again.

Kids at the upper stages of the falls...

Kids at the upper stages of the falls…

Dolf and I living it up Buhay Baboy Style.

Dolf and I living it up Buhay Baboy Style. (Photo by Chris Chew)

Our last stop for the day was a beach which was recommended to us by the guy whom we rented the bikes from. Compared to the falls, the place was rather disappointing. The beach wasn’t that nice and everything was pretty built up. The good thing about this place though was that they had to platforms on top of a cliff overlooking the bay. One was about 7 meters and the other one about 10 to 12 meters. Since I was a kid I just to love to jump off things into the water so there was no way around trying these jumps – even despite my injured foot.  It was so much fun and the airtime I got jumping from the higher platform was amazing. We jumped a few times before the sun started setting already. We made it back to our place and were looking forward to some more adventure on our second day.

12 meters - loads of fun but cost me some effort at first to do it.

12 meters – loads of fun but cost me some effort at first to do it. (Photo by Chris Chew)

No fear ...

No fear … (Photo by Chris Chew)

Riding back after a great day out.

Riding back after a great day out. (Photo by Chris Chew)

Snorkeling and lazing around at the poshest place in town
We got up early to go to farther away beach which also features a marine sanctuary supposedly great for snorkeling. The heat that day was almost unbearable and riding in these temperatures was exhausting. We arrived at the beach and had to decide whether or not to snorkel in that heat. We were there already and gave it a try. The snorkeling was not the best we have done but it was fun and being in the water with a little breeze blowing over the ocean was actually better than being outside in the heat.

Our first snorkeling stop on Siquijor.

Our first snorkeling stop on Siquijor.

Nemo said hello!

Nemo said hello! (Photo by Chris Chew)

After a late lunch and some lazing around at the bistro we made it to our already final destination for this day – the Coconut Grove Beach Resort. It was a very posh and fancy place which we definitely wouldn’t be able to afford to stay at. Spending a lazy afternoon there was in our budget though and we had ourselves some halo halo, the local Filipino desert, and a cold beer to go with it. The place was amazing with a setting that looked like being taken out of a tourism commercial. A perfectly white sand beach, turquoise clear water, a little breeze and the random banka boats floating rhythmically in the  ocean. The ambient of the resort and its restaurant just fit perfectly. After a while Chris and I went snorkeling at the resorts house reef and it was much better than earlier that day. We saw a lot of fish and and coral.  

Coco Grove Beach Resort - posh and fancy.

Coco Grove Beach Resort – posh and fancy.

Scenery straight out of a tourism commercial.

Scenery straight out of a tourism commercial.

Living the Buhay Baboy on Siquijor.

Living the Buhay Baboy on Siquijor.

A different perspective...

A different perspective… (Photo by Chris Chew)

We wanted to watch the sunset back at our place and hit the road again to make it back on time. The sunset was great with almost no noise around, just us relaxing to it having our by now obligatory sun downer. The sunset was also more or less the end of our short but very enjoyable stay on Siquijor. Glad we decided to come and see the witches island – although we never ran into any of those.

 

Last thoughts …
We actually did not expect too much of Siquijor before coming there. We were told that it got pretty touristy by now and that there won|t be a lot to do. Both of these reports were proven wrong and we had a great time there. Once again the phrase ” you don’t know if you don’t go!” was proven true. I think it is always good to go by the recommendations of other travelers as we found some great places by just doing that. However, one should still keep in open mind and go explore individually. We could have easily skipped Siquijor and almost did just that because of the feedback we received about the island. In the end we were happy that we went. Good times.

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Categories: Motorbike, The Philippines | Tags: , , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “No witches on the witches island Siquijor

  1. Extremely jealous of all the travelling and lounging. I must give up the day job!

    • Hey Mike, thanks for stopping by my blog and your great feedback. I really appreciate that. I gave up my day job and it wasn’t an easy decision. Looking back at it now, I shouldn’t have worried too much. I am really enjoying every bit of this trip.
      Whereabouts are u based? Also in the Philippines? I read that you are into property and real estate. Is that a good business in the Phils these days? Trying to learn more about the economy here and some possible opportunities.

      • Hi Phil
        I dream of giving up the day job but mortgages and getting our son through school put paid to those ideas. We are based in Dubai and been here 7 years.
        I travel to the Philippines on business occasionally and on the recommendation of a friend purchased a couple of apartments in developments going up in manila. The economy is booming and any shares I have are doing nothing so thought it was worth a punt. There are construction updates on the blog of where we have purchased.

        If we make enough money out of it there who knows I may give up the day job and go travelling. Visited Vietnam last year and loved it there so someday will travel around there and Philippines and catch up on what I should have done years ago when I graduated.
        Regards
        Mike

      • Philipp Dukatz

        Hey Mike, where abouts are you originally from and what are you doing in Dubai? I am always interested in hearing from expats and their stories. I can definately picture myself working and living somewhere else but Germany. I am just looking for the right opportunity…hopefully I will find it soon.

        I hope your investments work out for you but it seems like a pretty good bet. The economy in the Phils is going up and has just been upgraded by the agencies. Should be good. And maybe that is just a start of more investments and you will be able to quit your job for real. That is my longterm plan as well but I will see. It would be great if you could update on those investments. Sounds really interesting. Do you wanna sell or rent out?

        Don’t worry about the timing to go traveling. It is never too late and you can always do it.

        OK mate, thanks for your feedback and stopping by. Greetings,

        Philipp

      • Hi Phil, I’m from the UK originally. Lived and worked in UK, Hong Kong and Dubai so a bit of a traveller. I’m a commercial manager for a construction firm here in Dubai building mainly hotels and bits of air ports. If you watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the hotel that spans the circuit was one of my jobs.

        I certainly agree with you on the Philippines economy which is flying at the moment. The investment grade rating upgrade will certainly help.

        With regards the properties I’m not sure yet whether to rent out or sell. Will wait and see what the returns will be. A friend of mine has a property that will be completed the end of this year and he has made 3 mil peso return on the 5 mil he put in.
        Regards

        Mike

  2. Glenda

    Wow! Great photos and nice report again Phil. It feels like I’m also traveling with you guys…I can also imagine the gentle breeze on my face, sand in my hair, salt on my skin…and buhay bahoy but I just don’t know if I will jump off of that cliff. Haha…

    You’re exactly right on that phrase “you don’t know if you don’t go!” You will really appreciate the beauty of the things around you or the place you’ll visit when you least expect. That’s why you guys were amazed with the island. Have fun on your next adventure! :)

    • Hi Glenda,
      jumping off the cliff was so much fun. It reminded of my youth when I went to the public pool almost every day and jump off of the 5 meter tower. Always enjoyed that. You are right, it is usually best when u expect the least. We have high expectations for Palawan but I seriously doubt that the place can live up to the expectations. We will find out very soon. Thanks for stopping by again….see ya soon :)

  3. peter montgomery

    passed this island on the way to negros , looks nice .

    • Hi Peter, how is life in AUS? Siquijor was a pleasant surprise I have to say. We have not made it to Negros I have to say. Just can’t do everything here. We spent some super nice days on Camiguin and just arrived in Palawan today. Will keep the updates coming. Have u used the photos of Villa Amor yet?

  4. That first photo of you jumping off the cliff platform is surreal! The way the horizon curves, it’s almost like a view of Earth from outer space — except with a light blue sky and clouds instead of empty black space :)

    • Hi Nerija, how are you doing? Gotta give the credit for this shot to Chris and his cool fish eye lens. Definitely one of the items I want to buy soon. Either fish eye or a good wide angle lens. Makes so much sense when traveling. The jump was so much fun..I wish I could do that more often.

      • Doing pretty well, thanks! Saving up for a trip like this of my own — maybe to Australia, definitely somewhere by the sea. One of the things I want to do is take a tour of the Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland, as well as some of the little islands off the Great Barrier Reef. One of these days I’ll finally learn to scuba and get to feel like a mermaid :)

      • Philipp Dukatz

        Hi Nerija, the plan sounds great. I have travelled Australia for 6 months before and liked it a lot. So much to see and do. A paradise for diving but also for any othersort of outdoor activity. The only problem right now are the prices. As far as I know, things have become really expensive and some of travelers I have met here literally escaped from Australia because they couldn’t handle the costs. That would be a definite downturn for me.

      • Yikes! :( Yeah, I’m probably going to have to save up for a bit longer anyway. I do have some family in Sydney, so that helps; they’ve lived in Australia for about ten years now, and say they love it.

      • Philipp Dukatz

        Knowing people at the places you want to visit always helps and makes the experience more worthwhile. Maybe they can even get you in touch with friends at other places. But it is a good start. Sydney is a great city…you will enjoy it. Make sure to stop at Luna Park, not for the amusement park but the view over the bay and the bridge ;)

      • Sounds neat! Thanks for the tips!

      • Philipp Dukatz

        No worries. Hope you’ll have a good time.

  5. The witches are on the other side of the Island, :D

    Great shots..

    • Hi Mikaela, where at? We toured the whole island with our little bikes. I actually wanted to see one of the islands islands about my ankle but decided not do it. The island is nice. We are already in Palawan now and spent some great days on Camiguin. How are you?

      • Lol, seriously no idea :).

        Palawan!!! Have fun there, can’t wait for the pictures and your island adventure.

        Doing great here, 2 more days and I will be in The Philippines for a short vacay , excited to see the family :)

        Enjoy the Buhay Baboy :D

  6. Where exactly will you go then and for how long? I wish I could stay longer…loving it here!

    • only 7 days. we will be doing a family trip to Bohol then afterwards head out to Bantayan Island. a few days in Cebu to settle some things.

      LOL. The Buhay Baboy is getting into you isn’t it?

      • Philipp Dukatz

        Sounds good. We didn”t get to spend time in Bohol, only for stopovers. We figured it would be too touristy and spent more time in Siquijor and Camiguin. You are right, we really like the Buhay Baboy. We are thankful to be living it right now but we know it won’t be forever. Have fun on your trip and say hello to the Tarsiers.

  7. Matt

    Awesome experience! I’ve always wanted to travel more and explore the beautiful places here in the Philippines. You guys rock, and you inspire me to save money so that I can travel, have fun, and have that buhay baboy like yours. Enjoy your vacation and God bless!

    • Thanks Matt, I appreciate your kind feedback. You don’t even need so much money to travel if you don’t mind going low budget. I even think it is the best way to travel. The simple life is the best. You meet more interesting people and have more unique experiences. Hope you will make it soon because traveling is the best addiction there is. Best regards, Philipp

  8. Matt

    You’re welcome, Philipp! I have traveled a quite few places here in the Philippines and abroad and you’re right, it’s getting into me now. When I think of a new place to visit, it always fires me up.
    I couldn’t agree more when you said that I don’t need much money to travel. But you know, When I travel, it costs me time and money because everything here in the Philippines is hard earned. The little money you say is sometimes too much for others. The rewarding thing after you spent your time and money in traveling is the joy, the thrills, the people, and the most important is the Experience.
    I will be in Bohol on the weekend. They say that there’s a virgin island there named Puntod Island. Hope you could visit that one too someday.

    By the way, your Blog is really helpful, you make our imagination broaden by reading your articles and looking at your pictures. You encourage us to explore.

    Thanks again, Philip and always take care!

  9. Lucia

    Hi! I loved your pictures and I am going for a few days to Siquijor. Where did you stay? It was not the Coconut from what I have read, but I don´t find the name of your hotel or bungalow. Thank you!!!!

    • Hey there, we stayed at Froggy or Froggies. It is a very nice place which I can highly recommend. Good price and nice bungalows in a big garden. We have been to another place before which was way too pricey though. We arrived in the middle of the night so we didnt have much choice. The next day we switched to Froggies. Wherever you stay though, you would want to rent a motorbike to get around. Or you just have a tricycle driver drive you around. Not sure how much that would cost though. When will you be going and for how long? Are you also traveling around?

  10. Hi,

    I was browsing for bloggers impressions of Siquijor, and stumbled across your write up. I just wanted to say how very good the pictures are – I especially like the one of the jetty at Bohol and the macro shots. Nice to see such good photography on a blog. =)

    Safe travels,
    Soren

    • Hi Soren,
      thanks for stopping by and your feedback. I appreciate it a lot. I went over to your website and find your project very interesting. In which way are you yourself involved in it? When will you launch and actually offer the volunteer spots including pricing? Do you guys need any help in setting up the project, marketing it or somethng else. I love the Philippines and would be happy to support. If you like, just drop me a private message either via the blog or directly to my e-mail.

      Best regards, Phil

      • Hi Phil,

        Thanks for your kind words on our program. My involvement with it is as co-founder and project manager. We hope/expect to launch our program towards the end of the year. As you can probably imagine, we’re dealing with a lot of red tape, but expect to be operational and accepting volunteers from around end of October.

        We’d love any help you can offer, be it markerting, a write-up on the project or whatever else. You’re very welcome to get in touch with us on info(klammeraffe)marineconservationphilippines.org – and we’ll take it from there.

        Best regards,
        Soren

  11. Awesome photos! My family live in Dumaguete and convinced them to take us to Siquijor in the last 2 days of 2012. We went to the falls and Salagdoong beach as well so these photos brought back memories. Can you recommend any more places around this area? I want to travel around a lot more, because we normally just stay in Dumaguete!

  12. rosemay casinillo

    Hi Phil.. nice knowing you’ve traveled a lot of areas of Philippines, but u missed camotes island and siargao.. you can do a lot of things n camotes.like diving camotes also have a very wide white and fine sand beach.go mountain climbing and exploring n a cave. Siargao is the surfing capital of the Phil’s .you’ll have so much fun there if u like surfing. Wish u can visit again my beloved country.

  13. Hi Phil! Great blog you have here about our country. The “witches” of Siquijor are up in the mountains :) you should try visiting during Holy week, that’s when the Healing Festival is. Btw, they aren’t really witches, they are Healers. On your next visit (if ever), you should go and drop by The Danish Lagoon at Paliton beach in Siquijor, the owner is knowledgeable and passionate about Siquijor’s history.

    Off topic, if you enjoy surfing, visiting Siargao Island is a must! :)

  14. Learned a lot from your blog. Haven’t been there but it seems like a really nice place from your pictures.

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