5 PLACES TO VISIT IN SIQUIJOR

/ April 21, 2017

Siquijor is one of the go-to-places that I would love to visit for a quick getaway. Not only expenses are cheap but the peace and beauty in the island makes your stay very worthwhile. Siquijor is said to be the third smallest province in the Philippines next to Camiguin and Batanes. In Spanish era, it was called as "Isla del Fuego" or Island of Fire because of the abundance of fireflies that swarm around the molave trees. And I believe that the larvae of the fireflies live only in clean flowing water and they love to enjoy the cool evening air. This means that Siquijor is one of the most preserve and cleanest province in the Philippines.

read also: SIQUIJOR 2014: STARTING THE YEAR WITH A GETAWAY


Siquijor has a land area of 327 square kilometres (126 sq mi) and a coastline 102 kilometres (63 mi) long and being the thrid smallest province in the Philippines, you can tour the whole island with only half day. In our case, we rented a tricycle which accommodates for persons for only 1,200 pesos. Actually, you can lower the price down to 800-1000 pesos if you know how to haggle. Since we asked the driver to fetch us from where we stayed and send us to the port the following, we paid the price that he told us.

1.  Capilay Spring Park


This is located in the town of San Juan and it is usually the first stop of your day tour in Siquijor. This is natural spring pool is situated at the heart of the town park which is in the southwestern portion of the Siquijor province. This has a pool with three chambers with colorful floaties to choose from. The upper pool is where the springs located, the second is where the swimming pool is then the third one is the laundry pool or also known as thte "river". You can have your snacks or lunch by the pool sides for there are kiosks if you want to spend the whole day in there.

2. Old Enchanted Balete Tree

In old folklore, people believe that balete trees are dwelling places for supernatural beings like kapre, tikbalang or white ladies. The old enchanted balete tree in the town of Lazi, Siquijoe is known to be the second oldest and largest balete tree in the Philippines. The first one can be found in Aurara province which is called as "Millenium Tree".


The special thing about this balete tree is that on its base is a cold spring that streams out into a pond which explains the tree's longetivity and size. You can sit on the edge and dip your feet on it while curious fishes nibble on your feet. Well, that's a free foot spa!

3. Cambughay Falls
Cambugahay Falls is located 2km north of town of Lazi and this is one of the favorite attractions in Siqiuijor. It gives you an astonishing view of cascading multi-tiered waters flowing once you walk down the 135 steps from the highway. These waters are 3 kilometers downstream forming a majestic swimming lagoons and rapids along the way before it ends into Lazi Bay.
You might think that the waters are deep for short people like me. I am 4'11 but there are parts that you can stand by your own feet. So there is nothing to worry about :)

3. Lazi Church and Convent


This 160 years old Lazi Church is also known as Iglesia Parroquial de San Isidro Labrado which means San Isidro Labrador Parish Church. It was established by Augustinians Priests under Patron San Isidro Labrador in 1857. The church was built with sea stones and hardwood by Filipino artisans and it was finished in 1884. The church bell was finished a year after.

The church was also known for its huge U-shaped convent was the largest convent built in the Spanish colonial era. The convent was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and was listed under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

4. Baha Ba'r


Baha Ba'r is situated in the heart of Maite Village which is 1km south of San Juan town and 8km from Siquijor port. This is one of the newest discoveries I had when I went back last 2016.The restaurant is designed and built to reflect the traditional island wood designs which is great for relaxation for the tourists. One of their best sellers in their menu is their home made ice cream which became my favorite.

5. Salagdoong Beach
Siquijor is also known for it's pristine crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. One of their famous beaches is the Salogdoong Beach which appears in different shades of blue as you go deeper. It is situated in Olang, Maria, Siqiuijor which is approximately 30 kilometers away from Siquijor Port.

The last time when we had an overnight stay in Siquijor, our last destination was Salagdoong beach it was scheduled few hours before our departure. So we had to wake up at 7 am and spent the whole morning by the shore.
And of course, the cliff diving. They said your Siquijor Adventure won't be complete if you don't go cliff diving in Salagdoong. Unfortunately, I wasn't gifted for that skill and I guess I am the only beach lover who doesn't know how to swim in deep waters.

Have you been to Siquijor? What are the places you want see and experience? :)

    Siquijor is one of the go-to-places that I would love to visit for a quick getaway. Not only expenses are cheap but the peace and beauty in the island makes your stay very worthwhile. Siquijor is said to be the third smallest province in the Philippines next to Camiguin and Batanes. In Spanish era, it was called as "Isla del Fuego" or Island of Fire because of the abundance of fireflies that swarm around the molave trees. And I believe that the larvae of the fireflies live only in clean flowing water and they love to enjoy the cool evening air. This means that Siquijor is one of the most preserve and cleanest province in the Philippines.

    read also: SIQUIJOR 2014: STARTING THE YEAR WITH A GETAWAY


    Siquijor has a land area of 327 square kilometres (126 sq mi) and a coastline 102 kilometres (63 mi) long and being the thrid smallest province in the Philippines, you can tour the whole island with only half day. In our case, we rented a tricycle which accommodates for persons for only 1,200 pesos. Actually, you can lower the price down to 800-1000 pesos if you know how to haggle. Since we asked the driver to fetch us from where we stayed and send us to the port the following, we paid the price that he told us.

    1.  Capilay Spring Park


    This is located in the town of San Juan and it is usually the first stop of your day tour in Siquijor. This is natural spring pool is situated at the heart of the town park which is in the southwestern portion of the Siquijor province. This has a pool with three chambers with colorful floaties to choose from. The upper pool is where the springs located, the second is where the swimming pool is then the third one is the laundry pool or also known as thte "river". You can have your snacks or lunch by the pool sides for there are kiosks if you want to spend the whole day in there.

    2. Old Enchanted Balete Tree

    In old folklore, people believe that balete trees are dwelling places for supernatural beings like kapre, tikbalang or white ladies. The old enchanted balete tree in the town of Lazi, Siquijoe is known to be the second oldest and largest balete tree in the Philippines. The first one can be found in Aurara province which is called as "Millenium Tree".


    The special thing about this balete tree is that on its base is a cold spring that streams out into a pond which explains the tree's longetivity and size. You can sit on the edge and dip your feet on it while curious fishes nibble on your feet. Well, that's a free foot spa!

    3. Cambughay Falls
    Cambugahay Falls is located 2km north of town of Lazi and this is one of the favorite attractions in Siqiuijor. It gives you an astonishing view of cascading multi-tiered waters flowing once you walk down the 135 steps from the highway. These waters are 3 kilometers downstream forming a majestic swimming lagoons and rapids along the way before it ends into Lazi Bay.
    You might think that the waters are deep for short people like me. I am 4'11 but there are parts that you can stand by your own feet. So there is nothing to worry about :)

    3. Lazi Church and Convent


    This 160 years old Lazi Church is also known as Iglesia Parroquial de San Isidro Labrado which means San Isidro Labrador Parish Church. It was established by Augustinians Priests under Patron San Isidro Labrador in 1857. The church was built with sea stones and hardwood by Filipino artisans and it was finished in 1884. The church bell was finished a year after.

    The church was also known for its huge U-shaped convent was the largest convent built in the Spanish colonial era. The convent was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and was listed under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

    4. Baha Ba'r


    Baha Ba'r is situated in the heart of Maite Village which is 1km south of San Juan town and 8km from Siquijor port. This is one of the newest discoveries I had when I went back last 2016.The restaurant is designed and built to reflect the traditional island wood designs which is great for relaxation for the tourists. One of their best sellers in their menu is their home made ice cream which became my favorite.

    5. Salagdoong Beach
    Siquijor is also known for it's pristine crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. One of their famous beaches is the Salogdoong Beach which appears in different shades of blue as you go deeper. It is situated in Olang, Maria, Siqiuijor which is approximately 30 kilometers away from Siquijor Port.

    The last time when we had an overnight stay in Siquijor, our last destination was Salagdoong beach it was scheduled few hours before our departure. So we had to wake up at 7 am and spent the whole morning by the shore.
    And of course, the cliff diving. They said your Siquijor Adventure won't be complete if you don't go cliff diving in Salagdoong. Unfortunately, I wasn't gifted for that skill and I guess I am the only beach lover who doesn't know how to swim in deep waters.

    Have you been to Siquijor? What are the places you want see and experience? :)
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      This breathtaking view of islets in Sipalay is one of their famous tourist spots. This is the view you'll see whenever you search for Sipalay in Google. For me, it is like small Chocolate Hills scattered on the sea. I thought we were able to see the sunset since we arrived in the place at around  5 pm. However, the weather was not cooperating that time and all we saw was gray clouds.


      Before you reached the pool, you have to climb about 100 steps and I tell you, it wasn't that easy. But good thing they have this portion where you can walk a little before proceeding to the succeeding steps.


      While you go up, you'll get to see a closer look on those islets beside. Now they don't look like chocolate hills but it is like a huge rock with trees growing on its body. The entrance fee was 180 pesos and the pool use was 100 pesos.


      And here, we reached the top. Basically, this post is going to be 80% photos of us with the pool and the view. We didn't have so much time to roam around and take pictures since the place was very isolated and quiet. Actually, there is nothing so much about the place except the famous scenery.


      We traveled on a holiday which explains why we are the only people in the resort. The staff told us that they also have guests but maybe they were in the Sipalay proper, We almost booked in the place because they had a Cabana which was only 1,300 pesos but when I checked for reviews, they weren't that fascinating. Good thing we didn't take the deal because when we saw it with our own eyes, I find it very uncomfortable. Well, maybe for those frugal backpackers would go for it.


      In my own perception, Perth Paradise is better for day use if you are someone who'd love to go from one place to another. It is around 15 minutes away from the city proper and the road going to Perth was a rocky one. It's like going uphill on a rocky mountain. The place is perfect for those who wants to relax and meditate. The staff told us that their room has a cable connection but wasn't sure about the wifi connection.


      Their pool closes at 6:00 pm. We only had an hour to enjoy the view and the place and the pool but it was worth it. I guess the place is better when you are with your circle of friends or families and you spend it on a sunny day. The contrast on your vision of those islets would be perfect. It is really different once you get to see this scenery with your own eyes rather you see it on pictures. And of course, your Sipalay adventure won't be complete without visiting Perth Paradise Resort :)

      Caves have been natural attractions since prehistoric times, whether it is a man made cave or  a God made cave. When we speak about caves, it is a natural opening in the ground which extends beyond the zone of light and it can permit the entry of man. One type of cave that is well known to man are the solution caves. They are formed in carbonate and sulfate rocks by the action of slowly moving ground water that dissolves the rock to form tunnels and irregular passages.


      One of the sites we discovered during our Sipalay trip was the Pulo Cave. I was searching why it is called Pulo Cave but there were only two articles I found in Google. None of them talked about its history. So, I made up my own theory. Pulo is a tagalog word which means island or a land surrounded by body of water. And this cave is the only cave or formation that is seated on the island.


      This little cunning cave is one of the sites you'll stop by if you go island hopping in the Campanones Bay. Before reaching the island, you'll see it so little from afar and you'll think that it would just be like a walk in the park. But don't be deceived because you'll get to taste a bit spelunking. It was pretty rocky and slippery on the outside and inside.



      The white material on the walls are calcites, deposited by water percolating through the rock. And the ceiling of this cave is housed by bats. It was said that this cave was carved by the ocean waves over million years ago. Well, isn't that amazing?



      Well, here are some facts I read about sea caves. They are formed by the power of ocean attacking zones of weakness in coastal cliffs. These weak zones can be a fault or fractured zone or those formed where dissimilar types of rocks are interbed. The cave may start as a narrow crack into which waves can penetrate and exert tremendous force, cracking the rock from within by water ad by air.


      Once you passed through the tiny passage of the cave, you're already a vast scenery of Sulu Sea and other islets situated from afar.

      My first impression on this cave was bland because it was little and not the caves that I expected. But if you dig down on how it was formed and the fact it is a Pulo Cave then you'll get ti appreciate this cunning little cave. I hope people don't just come here to just take pictures but to appreciate this God made beauty and know its history.

      Also read: DISCOVERING THE HIDDEN GEMS IN SIPALAY CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL

      One of the romantic getaways we had was when we decided to head to the north and discover all by our selves the beauty of Sipalay City, Negros Occidental. This was very challenging for us since it was our first time to go on a long road trip together. Travel time was approximately 4-5 hours but for my boyfriend, it was almost 7 hours since he is from Bais City and he has to travel an hour and a half going to Dumaguete City. 


      So here is my boyfriend, prepping up for our trip. We bought coffee and some food to munch for our first ever road trip together. We were supposed to leave before 6 am but because we woke up a little bit late and I have to visit my grandfather's grave before leaving, we left Dumaguete around 7:30 am already. 


      The Negros Island is shaped like a sock and Sipalay is located at the heel part of the sock. Actually, we just realized it when we were using the Google Map as our guide. 

      Anyway, here is a short trivia. Sipalay got its name from the old native phrase "si palay" which means "there is rice". As you enter, you'll notice rice abundantly growing in the area or you can call it "palayan" in bisaya. 

      We arrived past 12 noon already and we can hear our stomach growling because the chips and biscuit we had during the trip wasn't enough to make us full. And we haven't eaten rice yet. Rice is life, y'know. The face of my boyfriend in the picture is like saying, "At, last. We are here! At last."


      Our first destination was the Tinagong Dagat Island Resort. Tinagong Dagat means "The Hidden Sea" and it was known for its foot bridges that connect the islets together. It was my goal to take a similar photo like one above but I was already hungry and my mood was about to change into a hungry monster. So, I would like to credit Dumaguete Advisor for this fantastic photo. 


      We had our lunch in the resort and it was very pricey for a tinola with one slice of fish in it, a fried chicken and an avocado shake. But for me it was slightly okay because the place was very beautiful because you don't get to see it everyday. 


      Our next stop was supposed to be the Sugar Beach and it took us almost an hour to look for this Sugar Beach. Google Map wasn't giving us the accurate road way and we've already asked the locals but even them wasn't familiar of the place. Until we found ourselves in this side of Sipalay. We were told that we have to ride a pump boat in order to reach the Sugar Beach. However, we didn't have sufficient time because we already booked ourselves at Artistic Diving Resort. To make our search somewhat worth it, we spent few minutes walking by the sea shore and took selfies as if we were in the Sugar Beach. Haha.



      We also dropped by their City Hall or also known as the New Government Center to somehow compensate the feelings of dismay about our search for the Sugar Beach. The weather wasn't cooperating as well because it drizzled and the clouds were gray. But what would you expect, we traveled during the wet season. Actually this trip was already a week delay from our planned date because there was a typhoon in the month of November. 


      Our last destination for the day was the famous Perth Paradise. When you google Sipalay City, it is the Perth Paradise you'll first see on the top photos. However, it wasn't told that the road going to the resort was very bumpy and I think it was pretty impossible for a rented pedicab to pass swiftly on the bumpy road. I hope the owner of the resort would do something about this because the road was like a small rocky hill.



      The entrance fee was 180 pesos and you have to pay another 100 for the pool. We arrived at around 5 pm and their pool closes at 6 pm. We only had an hour to enjoy the place. We didn't checked in at Perth because the rooms were a bit pricey for us and the place was pretty isolated. It think it is perfect for those coupled who wanted to have a relaxing staycation.



      The view? It was majestic. It's like small chocolate hills scattered around the sea. It was relaxing and was worth it even though the clouds where grey. We were hoping to witness sunset like what we've read in the travel blogs. Well, don't expect too much in the pool because it wasn't as wide as you can imagine through pictures. 


      After the very long exhausting day, we checked in at Artistic Diving Resort which is approximately 15 minutes away from the center of Sipalay. I suggest that you should buy food, medicine and etcetera beforehand because stores are already close at 8 PM and I bet you don't want to spend on pricey meals in the resort's restaurant.

      It rained cats and dogs at night and there was even a power shot down for a few minutes. Good thing the resort was prepared they had umbrellas and candle lights available for the guest. We ordered vegetable curry, beef and pizza for dinner. Despite the heavy rain, we still took a quick dip in their pool. 



      The following day is also the same day that we'll go back to Dumaguete City. We were hoping that this time, the weather will cooperate with us. Sipalay adventure won't be complete if you don't go island hopping and snorkeling. So we woke up early, ate our breakfast and prepped up for the next agenda.


      We rented a boat from the Artistic Diving Resort for only 600 pesos for two hours. They said two hours is enough for the whole trip because the islands are just 15 minutes away from each other. And we heard that other boats costs around 800-1000 pesos. 



      First we went to Pulo Cave. This little cave is seated within an island alone which is formed by the strong waves over a million years. The white material on the walls are calcites, deposited by water percolating through the rock,




      Next stop was the Camponanes Bay where you can enjoy the sand and the seawater. Because on the side where Artistic Diving Resort was located, it wasn't ideal for swimming.


      And the last part of the tour was their Marine Sanctuary, where you can go snorkeling with the fishes. I tell you, this is way way different from the snorkeling we had in Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol. There are a lot of different kind of fishes underneath the water. I cannot name them all but they are all beautiful. It would be better if I knew how to swim. Haha. I know I am not the only sea lover who doesn't know how to swim. I guess not all mermaids are gifted with fins and tails.

      We finished the whole tour within two hours and what I enjoyed most was that snorkeling because it was worth a penny. Moreover, the view during the trip was breathtaking with all the green and the cliffs you get to see side by side.


      Before we head back to the south and bid goodbye to Sipalay, we first suffice our stomach with chicken inasal and rice. Because it was another 4-5 hour ride back to Dumaguete City. 

      Whenever me and my boyfriend discuss about the trips we had, the Sipalay Adventure was his favorite (so far). He definitely loved the view in Perth Paradise because it was extraordinary. The tourist spots where amazing but if you are someone who doesn't have an own vehicle, I think it would be difficult for you to reach the destinations. The time travel from one place to another was 15-30 minutes and all of them are a little bit far from the Sipalay proper. I heard that tricycle drivers are pricing the tourists a bit high on one way travel. And there are no available karinderyas or cheap restaurants nearby the beach resorts. So it is very important to have extra food in your bag in case you'll be caught up with hunger.