Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sidetrip to the Enchanting Island of Siquijor

When I told my friends that we have included Siquijor as part of our itinerary, some had advised us against it as the island, as they claim, is full of witchcraft and some danger may befall us. Actually, we had planned to exclude Siquijor altogether not because of the witchcraft but because of the weather forecast that it will be rainy and crossing the sea might not be advisable after all.

We went anyway and caught the 6 AM trip (Mondays only) via Delta Fast Ferry. The fare is P120 for the 6AM trip, while the other trips cost P160. I asked the ticket seller why the difference and I was told it's the "policy." Fine with us as long as we get to the island earlier and faster as it takes around 45 minutes to cross the sea.

It was low tide when we got to Siquijor that the plank from the ferry to the pier was very steep. When we reached the gate of the pier, there were some tricycle as well as multicab drivers negotiating with us. Apparently, a day trip around the island would cost P800 and P1,500 for a tricycle and multi-cab, respectively. Since there were only three of us, we opted to take a tricycle. We haggled about the price until we agreed upon P1,100.

It was agreed upon that Mang Edwin, our driver, will show us around, bring us to our accommodation at Salagdoong Beach Resort in Maria and pick us up the following day for our return trip to Dumaguete. Apparently, from the pier, the town of Maria is at the opposite end of the island and it took us more than three hours to travel and see some places around the island.

The first place we saw was an old balete (banyan) tree, which folklore tells us to be enchanted. Apparently, its not, as we saw some men either bathing or washing themselves near the tree. A donation box is also found nearby.

Next on our itinerary was the Church and Convent of San Isidro Labrador in the town of Lazi. The convent is reputed to be the largest and oldest in Asia. It now houses a school aside of course from being a convent. The floor of the church is made of wood. Quite unusual since it is not built on stilt and rarely, if not never, have I seen a church floor made of wood.

The church was empty except for some old ladies near the altar praying out loud, but unseen when you get inside.

 I so wanted to get to the resort as we were already hungry not having breakfast before we left Dumaguete. The driver suggested that we visit the Cambugahay falls nearby which is about two kilometers from the church.

 There are 135 steps (my daughter counted it) before you reach the falls. However, midway you can already hear the sound of the water flowing.

The falls was all to ourselves as there was not a soul in sight. We took some pictures instead and began our ascent up afterwards.

Finally, after more than 3 hours since we arrived in Siquijor we reached our destination. We went to the Agripino Hotel front desk on top of a hill and asked for a room. Rates start at P800 for a standard room up to P1,500 for a duplex unit near the beach. We chose the duplex as we don't want to go down from the hotel and hike back whenever we want to go to the beach or eat in their canteen.

The resort is run by the provincial government and in my own opinion has seen better days. The unit we got had dirty floors, the bathroom was not clean and the shower was not working that we had to use the pail to take a bath. The bed was not firm that you sink in whenever you try to lie down. The television has only one available channel and you are lucky if you are a "kapamilya" as only the signal of ABS-CBN coming from Cagayan de Oro is what you can watch.

Its a good thing that we got there on a Monday because the resort is frequented by locals on weekends and it can be a little bit cramped and noisy.

After checking in, we asked our driver to pick us up at 8 AM the following day because the schedule posted on the hotel says that there is a 10:30 trip of Delta Fast Ferry.

We ordered our brunch afterwards and checked out the beach while waiting for the food.

Lunch consisted of yang chow fried rice, lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls) and lechon kawali (fried pork belly) with a bottle of soda. Total cost: about P350

We went back to the beach after eating to catch some fresh sea breeze and relax. We laid out our trusted cloth and sat or lied there.

The waters near the beach has few juvenile fishes and lots of star fishes and sea grass and some depression on the sea floor which might indicate that corals may have been removed there. There were no more signs of live corals.

We went back to our unit to watch some television show and turned on the aircon to cool us off. When the sun was a little low, we returned to beach for some photo ops. There were only a few people around.

We ordered our dinner before taking our shower after our swim on the beach.

It was only a quarter moon but the sky was clear and we watched it for a while before calling it a day.

Mang Edwin arrived promptly at 8AM as agreed upon. However, when i texted Delta Craft, I was informed that their next trip was 12:30 PM. Our driver told us that there was a motorized banca leaving at 9:45. So, we hurried up as the trip would take more than an hour.

We passed by the town of Enrique Villanueva on our way to the pier and saw a lot of mangrove trees, some of them newly planted. I found out later that the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary was located here.

We just had barely enough time to visit a souvenir shop and a bakeshop for some bread to eat on board the boat. Bottles of gayuma (love potion) are being sold as souvenirs. I forgot to take some photos as we were in a hurry. We arrived just in time as the boat was already boarding when we bought our tickets. The cost is P120 with a terminal fee of P14. The trip I was told by the crew would take about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Our trip to Siquijor finally over, we've survived the myth about witchcraft. I proved some of my friends wrong about the island.

Note: Should you need the services of Mang Edwin and his tricycle, you may contact him at 0935-174-1029

Dumaguete/Siquijor/Bais Trip - Day 2    


Gloria said...

what a nice view No. Ur family is really a traveller. I really loved the place. Will it cost us much?

Batangala said...

I think you can reach Siquijor from CDO via Tagbilaran. To tour around the island, you will need a multi-cab. Accommodations are aplenty to suit all budgets. Hope you can visit Siquijor also.

Tita Beng said...

I have also heard of hot so good warnings against visiting Siquijor, yet I still want to visit it one day.
the place looks pretty exciting to see.

Lovely family! Mom and daughter are just like sisters eh!

Batangala said...

thanks beng. you are not alone in saying that they do look like sisters, ha ha ha

nathalie said...

helpful post just what I needed for my Duma-Siquijor trip. :)

Batangala said...

thanks nathalie. don't forget the dolphin watching in Bais City. ka-addict talaga mag travel ano? he he he