A tropical paradise known for its enchanting witchcraft, rejuvenating healing practices, sacred spiritual rituals, and breathtaking beaches. Traveling to Siquijor is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. For centuries, travelers have been drawn to this tiny island off the coast of Bohol, where they can explore the mountains and discover the fascinating traditions of the indigenous people. These locals have mastered the art of brewing and concocting special potions, which are believed to have healing properties for physical ailments, emotional well-being, and warding off evil spirits.
Unless you are seeking a thrilling travel experience, you might be more interested in discovering the exciting adventures that await you on this island. Siquijor, a sought-after destination in the Visayas region, offers a delightful escape for travelers. Immerse yourself in the beauty of its pristine white sand beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise waters, and explore the enigmatic caves. Discover the breathtaking reefs and indulge in the tranquility of sublime snorkeling spots. Enhancing your experience, find comfort in the stunning guesthouses that adorn the island. When traveling to this destination, you can anticipate encountering numerous friendly locals who are enthusiastic about conversing in English, thanks to its high literacy rates.
To reach your destination, embark on a scenic ferry ride from Dumaguete or Tagbilaran, which will transport you to the charming Siquijor port. From there, you can easily hop on a tricycle that will swiftly transport you into the heart of town.
Old Enchanted Balete Tree
Like many sites on Siquijor, the mystical and spiritual history of the Balete Tree is fascinating. This 400-year-old tree is often employed for sacred rituals by local shamans. However, during your visit, it is highly unlikely that you will encounter any witchcraft.
Instead, you can indulge in a unique experience by dipping your feet into the fishpond at the tree’s base. Relax and let the fish exfoliate the dead skin from the soles of your feet. While you’re seated, you can marvel at the majestic size of the Balete Tree, adorned with hundreds of thick vines hanging all around. In retrospect, it’s easy to see why this tree might be associated with mystical practices.
Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary
Located in Cabilao village, within Larena town, you will discover a magnificent butterfly sanctuary that is certainly worth a brief visit. Spanning a 200-square-meter habitat, this sanctuary allows you to interact with and observe over 20 butterfly species in various stages of life, from caterpillar to pupa and beyond.
This not only enhances your experience on the island of Siquijor but also contributes to the education of the local youth. The Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary functions as an educational conservation center, imparting knowledge about biodiversity and its preservation to schoolchildren. Rest assured; your entrance fee supports this wonderful cause.
A trip to a Philippine Island would not be considered complete without a visit to a breathtaking waterfall. Lugnason Falls is simply idyllic, with its crystal-clear, rushing water cascading into a turquoise basin below. The pool’s depth is perfect for swimming, and the gentle pressure from the falls provides an enjoyable aqua back massage.
The waterfall’s water source is a stream located higher up, which is supplied by a natural spring. There was a period when the spring had completely dried up, and the falls ceased to flow. However, it is believed that local shamans blessed the springs, and miraculously, the water came back to life.
Tubod Marine Sanctuary
When you visit this protected marine sanctuary in Siquijor, it is essential to adhere to three rules: refraining from collecting any shells, avoiding damage to the corals by stepping on them, and refraining from fishing. Thanks to the respectful observance of these rules, this marine sanctuary has flourished abundantly!
Situated right in front of Coco Grove Beach Resort, this 7-hectare enclave offers numerous opportunities for exploration. Above the water, you can choose to relax on the floating raft equipped with sun chairs or take a kayak for a paddle. Below the water’s surface, you can grab a snorkel and acquaint yourself with the diverse sea life that thrives in this area.
Kanheron Ranch, owned by a Filipino American couple who have a profound affection for the Wild West era, immerses you in the ambiance of the old frontier. The ranch is adorned with buck heads on the walls, cowhide couches, log cabin vaulted ceilings, and all the trappings you’d anticipate from an old Western movie.
You can drop by independently and relish the Western atmosphere with cowboy hats, boots, and belt buckles all around. Alternatively, if you would like a guided tour of the museum showcasing Western artifacts, you can embark on an hour-long expedition where a guide will accompany you from one exhibit to another. It’s a captivating way to spend a couple of hours.
Cave spelunking is not for the faint of heart! If you enjoy adrenaline-pumping, heart-racing extreme activities, then be sure to schedule a visit to Cantabon Cave.
Located 800 meters beneath the surface, the only way is down. You’ll be securely harnessed and descend for a thrilling 20-minute journey deep into the earth. Equipped with headlamps, you will explore the eerie, otherworldly walls of Cantabon Cave adorned with stalactites hanging in every direction. Your guide will be there every step of the way to provide explanations.
Be prepared for the chilly conditions underground, so remember to bring a sweater.
Ask the locals for their top beach recommendations, and they are likely to suggest Saladoong Beach. It is a local favorite not just for its immaculate sandy shores and inviting warm waters, but also for the exciting seaside activities it offers!
For the daring souls, there are opportunities for cliff diving, allowing you to leap off 7-meter and 10-meter platforms right into the crystal-clear waters. Additionally, you can find water slides integrated into the rocky landscape, spiraling down and launching you into the sea. Don’t forget to take a moment at the top of both activities to admire the breathtaking views.
Marelle’s Underwater World Museum
A comprehensive array of seashells, corals, and crabs, showcasing a wide range of shapes, sizes, and species, awaits you at Marelle’s Underwater World Museum. It offers an educational and captivating way to spend an hour of your day.
Within Marelle’s Underwater World Museum, you’ll discover exhibits that reflect the fishing culture of Siquijor, featuring items like catamaran fishing boats, fishing nets, graphs, charts, and maps.
Moreover, this is an excellent place to find creative and unique souvenirs. They offer a variety of “Siquijor”-themed shells transformed into magnets, keychains, and trinkets.
For pristine vistas and complete seclusion, you can enjoy a day unwinding on this concealed beach. Indeed, it is highly likely that you will not be bothered by anyone else, as even the locals are not widely aware of this beach. Nevertheless, it is advisable to confirm with your tricycle driver that they are familiar with the location.
Upon your arrival, you will find yourself in a true paradise. Intriguing rock formations have been shaped by erosion along the reef cliffs, providing not only enjoyable climbing opportunities but also protruding ledges that offer sandy, shaded areas to relax underneath.
Snorkel on San Juan Beach
If you are a proficient swimmer, there is a delightful surprise awaiting you not far from the shores of San Juan Beach.
Equip yourself with a snorkel and perhaps even rent some fins, then swim approximately 50 meters from the coastline to reach a snorkeling haven. You will be greeted by vibrant reefs stretching as far as the eye can see, teeming with diverse marine life waiting to be explored. Expect to encounter the usual suspects, such as clownfish darting in and out of anemones, and large schools of fish swimming harmoniously together.
Situated in close proximity to the charming town of San Juan lies the breathtaking Paliton Beach. This hidden beach is tucked away from public access, making it easy to miss if you are not actively searching for it.
To reach this hidden gem, arrange for a tricycle to transport you, and your driver will guide you to a discreet path cutting through undeveloped land. As you venture forth, the beach will unveil its beauty to you!
You will discover brilliant white sandy shores that appear to glisten under the sun, flanked by large coral boulders on both sides. Some parts of the beach feature turquoise waters, while others are adorned with reefs perfect for exploration. Don’t forget to bring your snorkeling gear!
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Siquijor Island: Best Areas & Hotels
Q: Is Siquijor a safe place to visit?
A: Siquijor is generally safe for tourists. Just be mindful of your belongings and respect local customs.
Q: When is the best time to visit Siquijor?
A: The best time to visit is during the dry season, from November to May, to enjoy the sunny weather.
Q: Are there any mystical legends associated with Siquijor?
A: Yes, Siquijor is known for its tales of witches and folklore, adding to its enigmatic charm.
Q: What activities are best for families with children?
A: Families can enjoy beach days, waterfall visits, and the butterfly sanctuary.
Q: Can I find vegetarian or vegan options in Siquijor’s cuisine?
A: Yes, many restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes to cater to different dietary preferences.