Siquijor is a small laid back island in The Philippines, not overly touristy, well not yet anyway and offers true Philippines culture and experiences if you’re willing to venture off the main tourist paths of Palawan, Boracay or Cebu.
The tiny island south of Cebu offers beautiful waterfalls and beaches, although it may not be as picturesque as Palawan or Boracay, yet should still be visited if you’re looking for a more laid back experience without the overload of tourists.
The island is easy to get around and small enough to see most within a few days, or stay a couple of weeks for more relaxation.
Getting to Siquijor
We were meant to catch the direct ferry from Liloan on Cebu Island across to Larena on Siquijor Island, unfortunately though we missed the ferry due to me needing extra time in bed to recover from the previous night of partying and drinks in Moalboal! Hence we ended up taking a longer non-direct route than originally planned. My head definitely thanked me for taking the slower route though!
Instead of the direct ferry, our longer route entailed a 20 minute ferry from Liloan across to Dumaguette, then a refreshing ride across town on a bumpy trike, before arriving at another ferry terminal for the final ferry journey across to Siquijor.
After going through numerous ticket booths; one to purchase and pay for the ticket, then next to organise and allocate your seats, and then inside the ferry terminal you check your bags on, so you end up with an array of tickets, every time requiring their own separate queues. So the process can be frustrating if you don’t understand it prior to arriving, but be patient and it goes fairly smoothly.
Give yourself plenty of time when catching ferries though for this reason, and arrive early to the terminals, otherwise you can easily miss your ferry if ill prepared. The earlier you arrive the better seats you get allocated too!
Getting Around the Island
Upon arriving at our guest house Swaki-Han, we easily hired scooters for 350 pesos per day. Most accommodation places seem to offer scooters, even if they’ve already hired all their own scooters, they seem to source more from other guest houses for you.
We may have been fortunate as we were travelling around Siquijor at Christmas time, so the island seemed very quiet, yet nothing was an issue when we asked our guest house owner for assistance. Even upon hiring our scooters for the first time, our guest house owner gave us a quick lesson on how to ride a scooter, which I highly recommend if riding is new for you.
Siquijor is a flat island so it makes for even better learning if you’re new to scooter riding. Plus as the island has less traffic and pedestrians than say Cebu or Palawan islands, it’s a great island to kick start your scooter skills.
Places to Visit
Salagdoong Beach is northeast of San Juan, and is known for its cliff jumping. If you’re adventurous the jump offers 6m and 10m jumps, if it’s not your thing you can stand back to admire others that go for it. The beach itself offers glorious turquoise waters to swim and snorkel for a more relaxing way to explore the area. We headed to Salagdoong Beach on Christmas Day, so it was quite busy with locals crowding around beach huts eating locally cooked food, soaking up the glorious sunny day in the ocean and enjoying the festivities of the day.
Cambugahay Falls is one of the main attractions in Siquijor, however being the Christmas season the falls were busy with locals enjoying the festive season away from work, plus as we’d explored a lot of waterfalls in Cebu Island, we were happy to give this one a miss. We soon learned and became accustomed to The Philippines islands offer spectacular waterfalls and natural swimming holes, and we were never disappointed by any that we visited across all the islands. They all offered their uniqueness and natural beauty that you admire.
Take your time when exploring the island, stop in local towns to listen and join in with families as they sing karaoke out front of their houses with their children, stop by the roadside turn your scooter off to absorb the peacefulness of the lush green hillside with nobody else around.
Siquijor island is a great alternative to some mainstream Philippines islands where most holidaymakers head to, perfect for experiencing a more authentic island feel with natural beauty and laid back atmosphere.