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SIQUIJOR BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE (itinerary, expenses and top attractions)

UNDERSTANDING SIQUIJOR

SIQUIJOR is the fount of witchcraft in the Philippines.”

Such is how it is known for most of the locals which is mainly attributed to the traditional healing process observed in the island whereby there is heavy use of herbal and medicinal potion. But to be clear, there is no account of life activities of witches in Siquijor. If anything, bewitching for those who have traveled to the place means being captivated by its white sands, fiery sunset, rich marine life and warm people.

I tried the self-cloning potion and it worked. Yay! 😀
#cloningforFun

In size, Siquijor is small. In fact, it is the third smallest province in the Philippines. A greater part of it is hilly and mountainous, particularly at its center. It is divided into six towns:

  • Siquijor, the provincial capital which receives most of the tourists via the main seaport and the only airport in the island;
  • Larena, where you can find the second seaport and few of the best diving sites;
  • Enrique Villanueva, which nestles an abundance of mangrove trees along its coastline that are now a protected natural habitat;
  • Maria, which brags of Salogdoong beach and its cliff-diving adventure;
  • Lazi, the southernmost town which takes pride of the old baroque San Isidro Labrador church;
  • and San Juan, which has a relatively flat coastal plain that holds a lineup of white sand beaches.

The main trade of the island is agriculture, although the recent years have seen a rapid growth in tourism which is slowly becoming a major source of income for locals. Despite its growth in economy, the island remains laid back and purely out of touch for any signs of urban life -there is no shopping mall or any big establishment, except for high-end resorts. The main mode of transportation is tricycle, which becomes limited at night when streets are mostly empty. 

At Paliton beach creating the jump shot of my life. *wink

QUICK FACTS & TIPS ABOUT SIQUIJOR

Here are few facts and tips to consider when traveling to the island of Siquijor.

  1. The image of Siquijor being a place of witchcraft and sorcery stretches as far back as the Spanish era. It was believed that the Spaniards had learned the process of traditional healing and had since dubbed the place as the “Island of Witches.” In an effort to counter this belief, the local government holds a Healing festival every Holy Week where faith healers and herbalists showcase in public the process of traditional healing: from gathering, preparing and brewing of medicinal potions indigenous to the island.
  2. Apart from being dubbed as the “Island of Witches”, the Spaniards also called Siquijor as Isla del Fuego or “Island of Fire” because of the eerie glow it gave off from the great swarms of fireflies that gathered around the numerous molave trees at their first sight of the island.
  3. Even today, fireflies are omnipresent in Siquijor especially at the mountainous areas at night.
  4. Public transport in the island is limited, and goes to almost zero availability at night. The main modes of transit are public tricycle and motorcycle which are used for travel within or from one town to another. Fare for short distances or within the town is P8 while going to another depends on the town, with fare ranging from P20-40. Jeepneys are also available but run between Siquijor town and Larena only.
  5. Except for its principal towns, there is not much place to eat in Siquijor. It is recommended that you slip some food items while going on a tour.
  6. For cellular network, Globe and Touch Mobile have a strong signal while Smart works around 1-2 signal bars only for most of the places.
Happening during Holy Week, a faith healer performing a traditional healing.
Few of herbal and medicinal potions out for sale during the Healing Festival.

HOW TO GET TO SIQUIJOR

Siquijor is pretty much off-the-beaten path because of its poor accessibility. It has an airport but is exclusive for Airjuan, a seaplane operating service that takes direct flight from Cebu.

Most travelers go to Siquijor by ferry from these destinations:

  • Dumaguete
  • Cebu
  • Iligan City
  • Tagbilaran City of Bohol

Here are the shipping lines and schedule.

If you are coming from Dumaguete (where most tourists depart by ferry), the seaport is near boulevard where you can buy tickets for most shipping lines, except for Oceanjet which has a ticket booth few steps outside the seaport. (Your tricycle driver should know the location of the ticket booth.) Travel time takes for about an hour and a half for all shipping lines, except OceanJet which takes for about 30-45 minutes only but with a ticket fee of P250. OceanJet schedule: 7:00AM, 9:30AM and 1:00PM only.

A fascinating landscape that is well lit up during sundown.
Solangon beach – one of the finest in the island.

TOP ATTRACTIONS IN SIQUIJOR

There is a lot to explore in the island if you are more of the sight-seeing side of traveling. But if you only have a limited time, perhaps a full day, I’d rather that you enjoy the beaches and sunset at San Juan area (its an array of public and private beaches and the finest ones in the island), than going for a day tour through its hilly and mountainous terrain which is naturally time consuming. Siquijor, at San Juan or from its seaport at Siquijor (town) have the best view for sunset.

If you insist going on a tour, here are 11 top attractions that you can cover for a day or with an itinerary for 2 to 3 days. The list of best places in Siquijor below are arranged by its town.

St.Francis of Asisi church

Description:  The very church that welcomes at the sight of guests arriving at the Siquijor port. It is made of stone and cruciform with a bell tower standing independently from the church to serve as a watchtower.
Location: Siquijor, Siquijor
Rating: 2/5

Cantabon cave

Description: Prepare to get wet, dirty and sweaty as you hurdle through the dark pass of Cantabon cave. To get here, it is mandatory that you register first at the school ground or barangay hall in Cantabon. You will be accompanied by two (2) guide and will be given a helmet and flashlight. Caving exploration can take up to 1 hour. Caving fee is P500 for the first 3 persons. 
Location: Cantabon, Siquijor
Rating: 3/5

San Isidro Labrador church

Description:  a heritage church constructed by Spaniards in 1884 using coral stones and local hardwood
Location: Lazi, Siquijor
Rating: 2/5

Mt.Bandilaan Nature Park

Description:  Towering at the highest peak in Siquijor, the nature park which was once a reforestation project, is home to a number of plants and animals. It also where you can find the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Stations of the Cross which are notable sites for religious pilgrims during lent. To get here, pilgrims will have to climb 148 steps which would also lead to a viewing deck where you can catch the entirety of Siquijor. 
Location: Lazi, Siquijor
Rating: 2/5

Cambugahay falls

Description:  The falls beckons visitors for a refreshing dip or excitingly intense rope vine swing.
Location: Lazi, Siquijor
Rating: 3/5

Enchanted Balete tree

Description:  The 400-year old tree is believed to be enchanted because of the eerie effect of the hundred roots and vines hanging down that fully cover its body. Underneath the tree is a spa where you will let the fish nibble the dead skin of your feet. Entrance fee is P10.
Location: Lazi, Siquijor
Rating: 2/5

Capilay Spring Park

Description:  A 2-tier spring-fed pool at the heart of the town plaza that is often frequented by locals on a weekend for a swim. The park is free for all.
Location: San Juan, Siquijor
Rating: 2.5/5

Paliton beach

Description:  The place is public and free of entrance fee. A lineup of fishing boats at rest by the shore with minimal seaweeds and pieces of junk are a usual scene. It is notable for being a perfect vantage point for sunset viewing and having a serene atmosphere especially during the morning and weekdays when it is less frequented by locals. Visit the beach if you are looking for a natural beauty of an unspoiled, white, powdery-to-peeble sand matched with a shallow, azure, clear waters.
Location: San Juan, Siquijor
Rating: 3/5

Tubod beach

Description:  Most of the place is now part of Coco Grove resort. One of the fascinating resorts of the island which gives away a perfect entertainment at sundown to its guests. The beach is well-groomed and best-kept of its pristine, white, coralline sands that makes for an excellent location for sunset viewing. To access the beach, make a reservation with Coco Grove at their website or at +63 917 314 1415, +63 939 915 5120.  You can also visit them for a day use. Entrance fee is P200.
Location: San Juan, Siquijor
Rating: 3/5

Solangon beach

Description:  The beach is another long strip of white sand that knits together Glamping Siquijor and Coral Cay resorts. You can freely walk around the beach without having to pay any amount of entrance fee. Stay until sundown and catch a fiery glow of the sunset that only the island of Siquijor can offer.
Location: San Juan, Siquijor
Rating: 3/5

Salagdoong beach

Description: For most of its area, the beach does not have the powdery quality of sand like the first three beaches, but it is equally blinding and reassuring enough to be part of the list. The beach is popular among tourists for its cliff diving adventure. Choose either the 20-feet or the other 35-feet high cliff to jump on. Come by early in the morning to avoid the crowd. The place is small and can only accommodate a manageable number of tourists. Entrance fee is P75.
Location: Maria, Siquijor
Rating: 3/5

MUST-TRY ACTIVITIES IN SIQUIJOR

Here are top things to do and activities that are worth a try in Siquijor.

  • Sunset viewing! I have been to a lot of destinations in the Philippines, and Siquijor (apart from Boracay and Manila Bay) is one that gives off the best sunset especially during February.
Sunset at Coral Cay beach resort, Solangon.
  • Beach bumming. What’s good about Siquijor is that its beaches are chiefly pristine, free from admission fees and are zero-to-less crowd, except for Coco Grove. Check out this link for the list of best beaches in Siquijor island.
  • Scuba diving. The entire island was declared a marine reserve in 1978 and has one of the richest and underdeveloped marine sanctuaries in the country. Some of the notable diving spots feature a Japanese ship sunk by American forces in 1945, an underwater cavern and cathedral, apart from the beautiful coral patches and an abundant marine life. Here are some of the dive sites in Siquijor island.
  • Fireflies viewing. It’s arguably what started Siquijor’s tale of mysticism. Catch a glimpse of these fireflies at the highlands at night while camping out.
  • Cliff jumping at Salagdoong beach. The adrenaline rush it gives made it one of the early favorites in the list of attractions in the island. Plunge deep from a 20-feet or the other 35-feet high cliff and re-emerge victorious on your i-did-it triumphant smile!

  • Rope swinging! Either at Cambugahay falls in the town of Lazi or at any beach resort in San Juan area, this activity is fun-filled and free of charge!

  • Fish spa underneath the shades of the enchanted Balete tree for only P10.
disclaimer: this is not my feet. 😀

SIQUIJOR SAMPLE ITINERARY

In getting around Siquijor, the wiser option is to go by a tour package rather than a DIY using public vehicles since the attractions are far from each other (except for the beaches in San Juan). Luckily, most resorts offer a tour in a van or tricycle which can be arranged prior. If you haven’t, as soon as you disembark at the Siquijor port, a tour arrangement will be offered to you by tourism accredited operators. (Be wary of those that are non-accredited.) You can go for an island tour, a mountain tour or a combination with the following suggested rates: (You can choose among the list of top attractions cited above.)

Tricycle

  • Island tour– P1,000.00
  • Mountain tour – P1,200.00

Van

  • Coastal Tour – P2,500.00
  • Mountain Tour – P3,000.00
  • coastal/mountain tour – P3,500.00

If you want to do it yourself (DIY), grab a motorbike and have the sample itinerary below that is good for 1 to 3 days, as your guide:

Total expenses: P2,000+ (assumes a party of one and includes lunch for 2 days and motorbike rental)

Day 1

Activity Time Budget
Siquijor Church (St. Francis de Asisi) 8:00AM
Balete Tree 8:30AM P30
Lazi Church & Convent (San Isidro Labrador) 9:00AM
Cambugahay Falls 9:30AM
Salagdoong Beach and Cliff Diving adventure 10:30AM P75
Lunch 12:00PM P200
Capilay Spring Park 1:00PM
Beach bumming! 1:30PM
Coco Grove resort (day use) P200
Tubod beach (marine sanctuary)
Sunset at Paliton or Coral Cay beach 5:00PM

Day 2

Activity Time Budget
Cantabon Cave 8:00AM P500
Butterfly Sanctuary 10:00AM P100
Bandilaan Park 11:00AM
Kamp Aninipot 11:30AM
Lunch 12:00PM P200

You can sneak in a scuba diving activity in the afternoon, but if you plan to leave for the day, make sure to drop by at the seaport first to buy a ticket.

Best places to go for lunch:

  • Big Belly Burger and Restaurant +63 917 21 6608, 022 802 8858 | Price range: P88-P120 per order | located at Siquijor town
  • Das Traum Restaurant +63 955 295 2684 | Price range: P20-P75 per order | located at Siquijor town
  • Baha Bar +63 998 548 8784 | located at San Juan

Motorbike rental (located near Siquijor seaport). Price ranges from P250-400.

  • PLS Motorbike +63 975 314 2903, +63 919 526 7801
  • GreenMonkey +63 917 954 4960
  • Braap Rent-a-bike +63 936 355 5469

Siquijor Tour Operators

  • Ding +63 955 706 2459 (Motorbike tour only, good for 2 persons)
  • Biduk +63 997 106 0895 (Motorbike tour only, good for 2 persons)
  • Dennis Caspes  +63 0947 789-8337, +63 936 110 7863
  • Joam Camingao +63 927 693 2095

WHERE TO STAY IN SIQUIJOR

The best accommodation in Siquijor can be found at San Juan area, if you want to enjoy the beach. For more options, see the list below:

For backpackers:

TORI’s BACKPACKERS (where I stayed)
Maite, San Juan
+63 907 132 6666

JJ’s BACKPACKERS VILLAGE
Solangon, San Juan, Siquijor
+63 918 670 0310

DAS TRAUM GUESTHAUS
Pangi, Siquijor, Siquijor
+63 955 295 2684, +63 917 429 0299

For glamping (glamorous camping) experience:

GLAMPING SIQUIJOR
San Juan, Siquijor
+63 908 531 9763

Glamping Siquijor at Solangon beach. Partake on a bonfire at night with the rest of the guests. Contact them at +63 927 611 7303, +63 908 531 9763, +63 943 396 3243

KAMP ANINIPOT
Panlautan, Siquijor
+63 0975 626 9710, +63 975 626 9710, +63 975 621 7225 or visit their website.
with camping ground and features hobbit-inspired houses that are lined up on a hill overlooking Siquijor town and San Juan.

Others (mix of mid-range and high-end resorts):

CORAL CAY RESORT
Solangon, San Juan,
+63 919 269 1269, +63 977 814 3972, +63 915 450 2902
with scuba diving service

HARD ROCK COTTAGE
Bita-ug, Enrique Villanueva
(63) 0918-8480784
With motorcycle and mini-van rental

CASA DE PLAYA BEACH & RESTAURANT
Sandugan Beach, Larena
+63 928 309 3737

ISLANDERS PARADISE BEACH
Sandugan, Larena
+63 919 590 7516, +63 918 332 0906

PRINCESA BULAKNA
Candaping B, Maria, Siquijor
+63 919 338 3362, +63 921 7598120, +63 919 256 7256

COCO GROVE BEACH RESORT
Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor
+63 939 915 5123
with scuba diving, island tour and hopping services

TORI’S PARADISE
Siquijor Circumferential Road, Siquijor
+63 912 209 5781

USEFUL PHRASES

English to Cebuano (the main language in the island)

Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
Thank you – Salamat
Where is… – Asa ang…
How much – Tagpila

BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER

Lastly, have fun and don’t forget to be awesome! 😉

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Jump to the nearby island of Negros. Check out the link for the top attractions that can be found in Negros Island. 

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