Siquijor may be one of the smallest islands in the Philippines but believe me when I say that it offers a lot more than what you can see on the internet. And for someone who prefers secluded and less travelled destinations, you will definitely love the beautiful island that is Siquijor.
How to get there:
Since there is no direct flight to Siquijor to date, the nearest airport is in Dumaguete City. I suggest you pick the earliest flight so as to maximize your time. Also, if money is not a problem, I suggest you arrange your transfers with the resort you are staying in for convenience. You will only shell out a little more than when you commute on your own. Trust me. Besides, public transportation in Siquijor is very limited.
Dumaguete (Sibulan) Airport to Dumaguete Pier is just an 8-10 minutes ride. Dumaguete Pier to Siquijor Pier would take about 1 -2 hours depending on what ferry you take. Then again, if you book your transfers with the resort, you will not have to worry about your tickets, the ferry schedule that best fits your time, and which one of the many boats travelling to and from Siquijor is safer and faster.
Where to stay:
Coco Grove Beach Resort is believed to be the most popular choice for tourists, especially foreigners, who are spending a night or two in the island. After reading so many good and positive reviews about the resort, I did not bother to check the other resorts. I was already fixated on booking a room with Coco Grove. And so I did! My boyfriend and I stayed in Royal Orchid – an executive room on the upper level with a veranda overlooking the ocean.
Coco Grove was more than what I expected! It was huge enough to be crowded even during high season. There were 3 pools [Salamandas, Casa Coco, Beach Side Pool (for the kids)], 2 restaurants [Sunset Restaurant (offers Filipino and European cuisines), Salamandas Restaurant (offers international cuisine and specializes in seafood)], a recreational center [where you can play billiards, darts and board games while enjoying drinks at the bar], a Massage and Reflexology Center they call Kalma Kamay, a boutique store that offers essentials and souvenirs, all surrounded by tropical gardens, and of course a beach! However, the beach is not really intended for swimming as it is a marine sanctuary they are trying to preserve.
Service was above and beyond. The staff, each and every one of them was very nice, very friendly, and very helpful in so many ways. They even tried to learn the names of all the guests staying in the resort, which made our stay all the more worthwhile.
On our first night, they held a barbecue dinner by the beach set up with candle lit tables. It was so romantic. There was an acoustic band serenading us while we were enjoying the food served on our table. The fire dancers came in after that. I was not able to take pictures of the whole set up as I was enjoying every moment of it.
What to do:
Since it was only a 3 days 2 nights trip, we only had one whole day to go around the island. That was what we did the following day. From all the tour packages that we can choose from [Siquijor Island Adventure Tour, Mountain View and Butterfly Farm, Cantabon Cave and Mt. Bandilaan, Trip to the Waterfalls, Coastal Scenic Island Tour, and Apo Island], we picked the Coastal Scenic Island Tour. The attractions were already pre-selected under each of the packages. But you can make changes on the itinerary. I was glad the resort was okay with it.
Anyway, the tour started at exactly 10 in the morning. They said it would only take about 6 hours for us to see some of the most visited places in Siquijor.
1st stop: Old Enchanted Balete Tree. It was true to its name. Enchanting indeed! The place was well maintained where you can relax while soaking your feet in a cold spring water and letting the fishes nibble on them.
2nd stop: St. Isidore Church and Convent. We felt like we were travelling back in time. Picture perfect!
3rd stop: Cambugahay Falls. I could not stress how beautiful this place was! The 130+ stone steps down to get to the falls may be a challenge to some people but for us, it added a little more fun and excitement. The water was not as clear though as I expected it to be since it rained the night before. Nevertheless, its beauty was still exquisite.
Here you could also try swinging like Tarzan and jump into the cold and refreshing water of the falls. Watch the video here.
4th stop: Salagdoong Beach. I was literally in awe upon seeing the breathtaking view of the beach. The moment I saw it I was like, “Whoa, paradise!”
5th stop: Shell Museum. There were a lot of interesting shells on display.
6th stop: Larena Triad Coffee Shop. There was nothing here but the amazing view. We tried their special halo-halo for refreshment. Well, not so special to me.
7th and last stop: St. Francis De Assisi Church. We came here only for the Welcome to Siquijor sign in front. It was a classic church but not as interesting as the first church we have been to.
We got back at the resort around 4:15 in the afternoon. Thanks to our friendly and reliable tour guide, kuya Henrich, for bringing us to these amazing places. And for taking good pictures! [Fun fact: he was the one who drove Drew Arellano around when the celebrity visited the island]
We took a last dip at the Casa Coco as soon as we got back to freshen up a bit before dark.
On our second night, Coco Grove gave us a special dinner as if they planned it out just for us since it was our last night there. Haha! Kidding aside, the resort really organizes a special evening for all their guests with a buffet dinner, folk dancing, and a variety show on most of their Saturday nights.
It was yet another romantic dinner for me and my boyfriend. The set up was, again, by the beach with candle lit tables. The buffet tables were neatly arranged with a wide selection of fresh seafood, meat, fruits and vegetables, and desserts. A variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were also served.
The following day I woke up saddened ‘coz I will be leaving this beautiful island I have just come to love, so soon. If it weren’t for work, we would have stayed another night or two. Or maybe three. Oh well. I am grateful for this wonderful trip nonetheless. It was like a dream come true.
The experience we had was by all means different from what we have imagined through horror stories people believed in about Siquijor. It could be these stories are the reason why the island is so magical. Surreal.
So, let me end this post by saying… Do not miss out on a place like Siquijor. Everything there is beautiful beyond words.
TRAVEL PERIOD: June 12-14, 2015