Probably my last “rampa” for the year, this trip wouldn’t have been possible if I did not see my friend’s post selling roundtrip tickets to Dumaguete. I initially thought it would be a solo travel, so I grabbed the opportunity to buy the them. He made a wrong purchase and the ones he was selling were tickets for different dates, so I decided to just book my own flight so I could just join him and share the travel expenses.
We told some friends and they were also interested, so in the end, there were five of us who went on this trip.
It’s one of those trips that I don’t really know where I’d be going or what I’d be doing – WE DON’T HAVE AN ITINERARY. All we had were a few agreements that : 1. We would stay in our friend’s sister’s house and 2. We would also take a side trip to Siquijor. I researched about places to stay and things to do in Siquijor – so that we’d have ideas on where to go but no concrete plans / reservations were made. Luckily, a common friend has just been in the island so he recommended a cheap accommodation that would fit our budget.
We spent the first night at Dumaguete, and with this group of friends, ALCOHOL is definitely a must (we don’t call ourselves alcoholic mamshies for nothing). As suggested by our friend’s sister, we went to Hayahay restaurant where they served BBZ (Beer Below Zero) and the best traitor Mango Sling in town. hah.
After three bottles of Mango Sling and some beer, we tried the Tempurahan at Rizal Boulevard (we later found out the this was one of the must-try things to do while in Dumaguete). The Tempura tastes like Kikiam haha, and they have green mango there that sells for only ten pesos!
The next day, we took a two hour ferry ride to the mystical island of Siquijor. The photo below was taken after the wind blew my cap off. Ugh. Boat ride was longer than I expected – I’m not sure if it was because of the waves or it’s just normal; but what the heck. At least it wasn’t that scary.
First order of business upon arriving at the island:
To give you a preview of how magical this island is, this church near the port welcomes visitors with this wonderful scenery. Go inside, and you’ll see that there’s a skull shaped candle holder near the altar! Yes, Siquijor will give you these surprises (wait till I share two more stories later).
Siquijor is also home to fine white sand beaches and being the camera whores that we were, we did not waste any opportunity for photo ops. These were taken after we’ve arrived at the hostel.
Yes, I have hair this red. LOL.
Aside from the beach, there’s also a number of waterfalls in the island. We visited the nearest one, Lugnason Falls.
It looks shallow, but I think it’s more than 8ft deep. I only stayed on one side because hello, I’m afraid to drown.
I also realized that we’re not really fans of waterfalls because most of these places would require us to trek / walk a long way and one of my friends has a heart condition and he’s not allowed to do strenuous activities which is good (for me), because the trip had to be a “chill” one.
A few steps from the Falls is a stream called The Fountain of Youth. The water is coming from the mountains and this supplies the entire island. We were allowed to bathe and rest in it!
There’s also this circular pool that looks like a huge cauldron that’s used by witches (and yes, Siquijor is known for the presence of witches and other mysterious beings).
The next day, we took a tour around the island and visited must-see spots for tourists. Our first stop was the Old Balete tree and Fish Spa (unfortunately, I deleted the photos so I won’t have anything to show). Beside the tree was a shop that sells souvenir items and lots of potions and charms – I wanted to buy one but I’m afraid to use them haha.
Our next stop was supposed to be Lazi Church, but it was under renovation, so they had us visit the Lazi Convent instead.
The convent gives an eerie vibe
But it did not stop us – we were ready for our close-ups.
Another place that needs to be visited if you’re in Siquijor is Salagdoong beach. It’s hidden in Barangay Olang, Maria, Siquijor and you will have to pass through a man-made forest before you reach the resort. The beach isn’t that perfect, but what makes it interesting is the chance to jump from a high cliff (hell no).
Here’s a photo of the beach:
And a view from the cliff (I did not jump though).
Salagdoong resort provides accommodation if you’re planning to stay overnight. If not, you can rent a cottage for a fee or if you don’t want to spend money, you can just leave your stuff by the beach (for free).
They have a cafeteria (food is a bit expensive, though). The great thing about Siquijor is that they have CHEAP Food everywhere – although we were warned that we might spend P200 per meal – we were able to find CHEAP FOOD and you’ll have a happy tummy for less than P100!!! Don’t try the restaurants, try the carinderias. But be careful if they offer you free food, just respectfully decline the offer (one of the warnings I received prior to going here).
We headed out for lunch after a quick dip; and along the way, we found a few picturesque spots that needed some exposure lol.
Our last stop before heading back home is Paliton Beach. I saw this in the blogs I read and I wanted to go here because of the picture perfect coconut trees.
True enough, the place was superb.. Among all the Siquijor beaches we went to, this one would probably be the best.
A visit to Siquijor is not complete without experiencing the supernatural elements that live in the island. Another warning that we received is that when someone taps you, you should tap the person back – I’m not sure what it means, but I guess it has something to do with returning whatever it is that they gave you when they touched you.
We have experienced a couple of weird things while in the island. The first one was when we went out at past midnight (WHO DOES THIS, THOUGH) to look for food. We passed by this house where there was a shadow of a man standing by the window, possibly looking at us. HE WAS NOT MOVING. He was just standing there, as if watching us. It looked like a scene from a horror movie. We got so scared we walked very, very fast.
The next night, while me and my friend was discussing something at the sidewalk, we saw a half naked man emerge from somewhere. He looked drunk, swaying from side to side. And then he appeared to be yanking something – a banana leaf, he put the leaf over his head and DISAPPEARED. Afterwards, we saw a fire – like somebody was burning something. I tried to take a video, but it was too blurry. Was it a coven of some sort, trying to summon something? We never found out. But it was pretty weird.
Sunny Side Bed And Beach Bar
Owned by Lyka and her partner Chris, Sunny Side Bed and Beach Bar is located at San Juan, Siquijor. It’s one of a few hostels that offer affordable accommodations to visitors of the island. Lyka, an empowered transwoman entrepreneur, met Chris when she was working in Thailand. They fell in love, and decided to put up a business in the Philippines. Since Chris loves the beach, they chose this part of Siquijor. The place is modest, but it has a charm of its own. We only paid P2,800 for a three-day two-night stay.
Lyka also helps out fellow transgenders and provides them jobs in the hostel. During our visit, she had two transgender employees, and both of them found love while working at there.
Every once in a while, they hold a “FAMILY Gathering” where they invite all those who were checked in at Sunny Side and they enjoy a hearty meal (usually dinner) together. It was fun – sharing stories, exchanging notes about different cultures and having a few drinks.
They’re probably the only establishment brave enough to raise the PRIDE flag in a very conservative island; their original flag was already faded and torn. Good thing one of our friends brought his flag along, so we donated it to them.
Overall, Siquijor was a fun experience, and I don’t mind going back there and staying at the same place, and possibly doing the same things. It was indeed, a magical experience.
And so, we went back to Dumaguete after our quick Siquijor trip. We changed plans, and stayed on different hotels – to “maximize” our experience in the island – if you know what I mean. Haha.
We visited Silliman University, considered to be one of the biggest and the best in Asia.
The next drinking session was at Café Racer
And I also took a quick walk to Quezon Park – Quezon Park in Dumaguete is only a few minutes walk from Rizal Boulevard and you can see these wonderful historical structures while you explore the area:
An old vehicle (forgive me for I did not ask what it was or who it belonged to)
St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral
The Dumaguete Belfry
And a statue of St. Pedro Calungsod
Dumaguete is called the city of gentle people. Talk to the people and you’ll know why; I’ve also observed that there’s quite a lot of expats in the area – probably like Lyka and Chris, the area is frequented by those who want to retire (mostly interracial couples). The city has the feels of a town, but there’s a lot you can do there – EAT, SHOP, and TOUR.
If you get bored, there’s Apo Island on one side and Manjuyod Sandbar on the other; or you can go back to Siquijor and take a trip to Bohol – these destinations are only a few hours away!! I’m sure you’ll never get lonely 🙂
And since we did not have anything planned, we took an impromptu trip to Manjuyod Sandbar + Dolphin Watching (they call this the Little Maldives of the Philippines); a huge stretch of fine white sand that appears only during low tide. We went to see the dolphins first – no you are not allowed to swim – you just have to admire them from afar. Seeing them in their natural habitat is worth it. I just hope that this one, being a tourist attraction, won’t be harmful for them.
Our next stop was the sandbar. The sand just emerged and you can see birds flying around the area probably looking for fishes that appear together with the sand.
I even saw this puffer fish while walking around the area.
I’m not sure if this is water going in or going out, but heck, there’s still water!!
Do you want to see how beautiful the sandbar is?
Take a look below – all of this in the middle of the sea – no trees, no anything.
There are some cottages that are lined up along the area – these are for rent; you may stay overnight if you want to but this has to be arranged with the local tourism office.
Still, the beauty of this place is unparalleled. I’m so glad we took this option (the other one is APO Island and it includes snorkeling, which I don’t do haha)..