SIQUIJOR: A PRACTICAL TRAVEL GUIDE FOR DIY & BUDGET TRAVELERS [UPDATED as of 2021]

Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact Siquijor Provincial Tourism office at (035) 344 2088 to know the latest update.

Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!

Traveling to Siquijor Island for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, best places to visit, top things to do, recommended tours and transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!

START HERE!

SIQUIJOR AT A GLANCE

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 means being captivated by its white sands, fiery sunset, rich marine life and warm people if you ask those who have already traveled to the place.

Kamp Aninipot
Yay, I tried the self-cloning potion and it worked. haha!

Siquijor is small in terms of its land area. 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 comprises of only six municipalities, namely:

  • Siquijor town, 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 the Salogdoong beach and its cliff-diving activity;
  • 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.
Paliton beach
At Paliton beach attempting the greatest jump shot of my life. lol

The main trade of the island is agriculture, although a rapid growth in tourism has been observed these recent years 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. 

WHERE TO STAY IN SIQUIJOR

Location wise, the best place to stay in Siquijor is somewhere between Siquijor town and San Juan. Both places provide easy accessibility to transport, best resorts, food stops, and tourist spots; both also nestle the finest beaches and are good vantage points to watch the sunset.

Below is a snapshot of the available accommodations within 4 kilometers from Siquijor town and San Juan. Hover on the price tag to know more details.

Top value accommodations at Siquijor town:

ZEN ROOMS EM’S SEASIDE INN
– superior double room is priced at around P550+
– offers free WiFi
– has a swimming pool
– excellent location, around 3-minute walk to the beach
Click the photo to book or check more details.
CASA JAMES BUNGALOW and APPARTMENT
– ideal for family and group travelers
– near to restaurants
– offers motorbike for rent
– has access to WiFi
– price is around P2,500+ for a group of 4 persons
Click the photo to book or check more details.
CALUNSAG RESIDENCE
– price is around P1,200+ for a group of 4 persons
– has free WiFi
– clean and comfy room with available functional kitchen
Click the photo to book or check more details.

Other cheap but high-rated accommodations suitable for budget travelers at Siquijor town. Click the link to book or check more details.

Best-rated and affordable accommodations at San Juan:

THE BRUCE LUXURY PRIVATE COTTAGE
– price at around P2,000+ for a group of 4 adults and 2 kids
– has free WiFI
– on a beach front
– has a swimming pool
– provides functional kitchen
Click the photo to book or check more details.
For a glamorous camping experience, stay at Glamping Siquijor at Solangon beach in San Juan and partake on a bonfire at night with the rest of the guests. Check rate and availability here.

For backpackers and budget travelers:

Kamp Aninipot
Kamp Aninipot, with a camping ground that features hobbit-inspired houses lined up on a hill overlooking Siquijor town and San Juan. Check rate and availability here to try out this one-of-a-kind experience.

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

If you are coming from Dumaguete (where most tourists depart by ferry), the seaport is near the 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: 7:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. only.

A fascinating landscape that is well lit up during sundown.

BEST TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN SIQUIJOR

When it comes to top tourist spots in Siquijor, there is definitely a lot to explore in the island if you are more on the sight-seeing side of traveling. 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 (it’s an array of public and private beaches and the finest ones you can find in the island), than going for a day tour through its hilly and mountainous terrain which is naturally time consuming. San Juan and the seaport at Siquijor town have the best view for sunset.

If you insist going on a tour, here are eleven (11) tourist 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 DE ASISI CHURCH

ST. FRANCIS DE ASISI CHURCH
  • Description:  The very church that welcomes at the first sight of guests arriving at 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

Cantabon Cave
  • Description: Prepare to get wet, dirty and sweaty as you hurdle through the dark pass of Cantabon cave. To get there, it is mandatory that you register first at the school ground or barangay hall in Cantabon. You will be accompanied by two (2) guides 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

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

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 there, 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

Cambugahay Falls
  • Description:  The falls beckons visitors for a refreshing dip or excitingly intense rope vine swing. Entrance fee is P10. Parking fee is P20.
  • Location: Lazi, Siquijor
  • Rating: 3/5

ENCHANTED BALETE TREE

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 can allow the fish nibble the dead skin of your feet. Entrance fee is P10.
  • Location: Lazi, Siquijor
  • Rating: 2/5

CAPILAY SPRING PARK

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

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 morning and weekdays when it is less frequented by locals. Visit the beach if you are looking for a natural and unspoiled beauty of a white, powdery-to-peeble sand matched with a shallow, azure, clear waters.
  • Location: San Juan, Siquijor
  • Rating: 3/5

TUBOD BEACH

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, coraline sands. It also 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

Solangon beach
Solangon beach
  • Description:  The beach is another long strip of white sand that knits together Glamping Siquijor and Coral Cay resort. 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

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 activity. 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. Parking fee is P40.
  • Location: Maria, Siquijor
  • Rating: 3/5

TOP THINGS TO DO 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.

Fireflies viewing is arguably what started Siquijor’s tale of mysticism. Catch a glimpse of these fireflies at the highlands at night while camping out.

Sunset at Coral Cay Resort

Beach bumming. What’s good about Siquijor is that its beaches are chiefly pristine, free from admission fees and are with zero-to-less crowd, except for Coco Grove. Check out this link for the list of best beaches in Siquijor.

Fish spa underneath the shades of the enchanted Balete tree for only P10.

Well, this is not my feet. 😀

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. Click the link for some of the dive sites in Siquijor Island.

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!

Cliff jump at Salagdoong beach.

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!

Swing at Cambugahay falls

SIQUIJOR RECOMMENDED TOUR

If you are staying in Dumaguete, you can avail a full day tour to Siquijor via KLOOK service for only P1,800+ per person. Itinerary is shared below. Click this link for more details:

Siquijor Cambugahay Falls and Heritage Day Trip

  • 9:00am hotel pick up
  • Depart Dumaguete
  • Arrive Siquijor
  • St Francis de Assissi Bell Tower
  • St Vincent Bell Tower
  • 12:00pm Lunch at own expense in Triad Cafe
  • Cang-Isok Old House
  • Salagdoong Beach
  • Cambugahay Falls
  • Balete tree
  • Ferry back to Dumaguete
  • 4:00pm hotel drop off

SIQUIJOR SAMPLE ITINERARY & BUDGET

When it comes to Siquijor itinerary, 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 on a van or tricycle which can be arranged ahead. If you haven’t, as soon as you disembark at the Siquijor port, a tour package will be offered to you by tourism-accredited operators. (Be wary of those that are non-accredited.) You can go for a Siquijor Island tour, a mountain tour or a combination with the following suggested rates:

Tricycle (good for 3 persons)

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

Van (good for 10 to 13 persons)

  • Coastal Tour – P2,500.00
  • Mountain Tour – P3,000.00
  • Coastal and Mountain Tour – P3,500.00

If you want to do it yourself (DIY), grab a motorbike and have the sample Siquijor DIY itinerary below that is good for 1 to 3 days as your guide. Motorbike is rented for P300 good for an entire day. However, in most cases, you will be required to fuel the motorbike to a full tank.

Total expenses: P2,300+ (assumes a party of one and includes lunch for 2 days and motorbike rental)

DAY ONE (Coastal Tour)

ActivityTimeBudget
Siquijor Church (St. Francis de Asisi)8:00AM
Balete Tree8:30AMP30
Lazi Church & Convent (San Isidro Labrador)9:00AM
Cambugahay Falls9:30AMP10
Salagdoong Beach and Cliff Diving adventure10:30AMP75
Lunch12:00PMP200
Capilay Spring Park1:00PM
Beach bumming!1:30PM
Coco Grove resort (day use)P200
Tubod beach (marine sanctuary)
Sunset at Paliton or Coral Cay beach5:00PM

DAY TWO (Mountain Tour)

ActivityTimeBudget
Cantabon Cave8:00AMP500
Butterfly Sanctuary10:00AMP100
Bandilaan Park11:00AM
Kamp Aninipot11:30AM
Lunch12:00PMP200

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:

  • Jollibee Siquijor at Siquijor Circumferential Road, call at 8-700
  • 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).

  • 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

QUICK FACTS & TIPS ABOUT SIQUIJOR

A faith healer performing a traditional healing during Holy Week.

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 the process of traditional healing in public 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-P40. Jeepneys are also available but only run between Siquijor town and Larena.
  5. Siquijor just opened its first Jollibee branch at the town of Siquijor, Siquijor. Except for it and other food chains like Big Belly Burger and Das Traum Restaurant, there is not much place to eat in the island. It is recommended that you slip some food items while going on a tour.
  6. For cellular network, Globe and Touch Mobile have strong signal strength while Smart works around 1-2 signal bars only for most of the area.
Few of herbal and medicinal potions out for sale during the Healing Festival.

USEFUL PHRASES

Like in any parts of the Philippines, the locals in Siquijor can speak and understand English. However, here are some good phrases that might prove useful when you find yourself endearing with them.

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

MY TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS IN SIQUIJOR

What I like?

The beaches in Siquijor island are the most rewarding part for me. They are pristine and white, yet unlike in other top tourist destinations in the Philippines, most are free of entrance fee (which is the case for nearly all of its tourist spots). I also like the fact that the beach areas make for a good vantage point to watch the sunset and the stars especially that I fancy taking landscape photos during the golden hour and milky way shots.

What I don’t like?

For someone who doesn’t know how to drive a motorbike, I had to rely on tours to go to the tourist spots around its mountain area which can be more expensive than going on a DIY. I was also limited to stay in an accommodation near the beach and clubs since public transport is almost to no avail at night.

MEET THE BLOGGER

Leaning on our boat at Punta Sibaring 1. This photo was taken during a high tide.

Hey there! I’m Ker, The Fun-sized Traveller. Fun-size because I’m a short guy from the Philippines. Thanks for checking out this virtual block I have started building since my 30th birthday to document my 2nd quarter life. Yup, it’s more of a personal pursuit, but a part of me also wants to give back to the travel community that is why I make it a point to share travel articles out from my trips around Asia.

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