By Claire Marie Algarme
For years, many travelers have skipped the island of Siquijor because of its reputation as a mystical island where healers and sorcerers abound. But as more and more explorers discover the beaches, tourist attractions, and swimming spots of Siquijor, the veil of mystery is taken down, revealing the enchanting beauty of the island.
Blue green waters surrounding the Siquijor Island and those found inland cannot keep water lovers from taking a plunge and dipping into its clear seas and pools. No amount of potion is needed to lure travelers to Siquijor. At the Siquijor port alone, the sight of the white sand beach, with the green mountains at the backdrop and the clear water in the foreground, is magical and alluring enough to those who haven’t yet set foot on the island.
To get around the island, tourists charter a tricycle right at the Siquijor port, or you can have your resort arrange for one that will include port transfers and a tour of the island. Rates can range from P800 to P1,500 depending on the number of passengers and how many destinations you want to see. Let your bargaining skills work wonders here. Some jeepneys ply from town to town but they are quite few, and it will leave you wasting precious time just trying to get into one.
The whole island can be circumnavigated in just a day, and you can allot a few hours per stop. From Siquijor town, you can work counterclockwise to the towns of San Juan, Lazi, Maria, Enrique Villanueva, Larena, and back to Siquijor.
1. Paliton Beach, San Juan
Paliton Beach is at the northern end of the stretch of San Juan town’s beach line. It is a public area, but because it is quite remote, with no resorts and a distance from the highway, not many go to this part of Siquijor. But ask a local tricycle driver where a beautiful place to swim is and they’ll immediately point you to Paliton.
2. Capilay Spring Park, San Juan
The spring park is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. It is an enclosed area located in the heart of San Juan town, and the entrance is free. It is divided into three areas. The first part is the upper pool where the large trees are found. A pedestrian bridge divides the upper pool to the second pool, which is the swimming area. The water flows underneath the highway to a small stream at the other side of the road, which is the laundry area, and exits to the sea.
3. Tubod Marine Sanctuary, San Juan
Near the area of Coco Grove in the town of San Juan is the Tubod Marine Sanctuary. Its seabed is beautiful, with seagrass and corals that provide a place for fish species, starfishes, seahorses, and other marine creatures to thrive.
4. Cambugahay Falls, Lazi
Swing from a rope tied to a tree and jump straight into the pool of water at the lower level of Cambugahay Falls for a rush of excitement. The waterfalls have three levels, all of which are not high enough, that makes bathing under the cascading water relaxing and safe. Families with their children love to swim in the clear shallow waters of the second and third levels.
5. Kagusuan Beach, Maria
Located on the south western tip of the island, Kagusuan Beach is another sight to behold. This beach has the combination of white sand and giant rocks dotting the coastal area. The beach is a bit secluded and is often unoccupied, to the delight of those who love to have this bit of paradise all to themselves.
6. Salagdoong Beach, Maria
This is probably the most famous beach on the island. Travelers come here for a taste of adventure and relaxation that Salagdoong offers. One has to go through the tree-lined pathway of the Salagdoong Forest before arriving at the beach. There are two beautiful coves with a huge boulder in between where the bravest of hearts jump and dive into the sea.
7. Tulapos Marine Sanctuary, Enrique Villanueva
Considered as the largest and oldest marine sanctuary in the island, Tulapos is covered widely by mangrove trees, and a mangrove tree house is found somewhere in this lush environment. At the end of the mangrove forest is a white sand beach where visitors can take a dip and swim. But off the coast is where the real beauty lies. As you snorkel in the marine sanctuary, you can find various species of underwater life, like colorful fishes and corals.
How to get to Siquijor:
- From Manila, fly to Dumaguete. At the Dumaguete port near Silliman University, take a ferry to Siquijor Island. For ferry schedule, click here.
- From Cebu, take the ferry to Siquijor via Tagbilaran. For ferry schedule, click here.