After 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.