An island of witchcraft, healing, spiritual rituals, and…. beaches. Siquijor is truly a one of a kind island.
For centuries, the indigenous people on this tiny island off the coast of Bohol have been living in the mountains where they brew and concoct special potions to cure physical ailments, treat emotional scars, and to dispel evil spirits.
Unless you need an exorcism, however, you might be more interested to know what kind of adventures this island has in store for you.
As with most islands in the Visayas, Siquijor is a vacationer’s paradise with white sand beaches, turquoise water, mysterious caves, incredible reefs, sublime snorkel spots, and gorgeous guesthouses. With one of the highest literacy rates in the country, you can expect lots of friendly locals who are eager to speak English with you.
To get there, catch a ferryboat from Dumaguete or Tagbilaran that will take you to the Siquijor port where you’ll be able to catch a tricycle into town.
1. Visiting Old Enchanted Balete Tree and take a selfie.
The balete tree belongs to the family of fig trees (from the genus Ficus).
There are several species, about 10 of 800 are found in the Philippines.
The balete tree is also known as the banyan in other parts of the world.
It's a type of ficus, or what's also called a strangler fig tree, since the tree grows around a host tree and strangles it.
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The leaves are about 6-9 centimeters long and are smooth, pointed, and shiny.
The 400-plus year-old balete tree is believed to be the oldest and the biggest in the said island-province.
2. The Butterfly Sanctuary
The Butterfly Sanctuary is located close to the highest point on the island at Cang-apa village which is just east of Mt Bandilaan (628m altitude).
The Sanctuary is popular with children largely because you can actually get close and personal with the butterflies.
The attraction remains a popular destination but opinion is divided as to whether it is worth the long trip as the sanctuary needs some upgrades but the journey to this destination is truly spectacular and you will get a really good views of the ocean from higher elevations.
3. Salagdoong Beach
Salagdoong Beach is one of these places people always visit when coming to Siquijor Island. Why?
There are three main reasons.
First of all Salagdoong Beach is widely recommended in any tourist guide, round-the-island trip offers, private blogs and many others.
That results of large number of tourists as well as locals you can meet at this place most of the times you come.
Weekends are usually far more crowded as that is public beach and popular destination for families living on the island.
Second – Salagdoong Beach is not only beach but also resort you can stay overnight or few days in one of the cottage, hotel room or your own tent and enjoy the place and its surroundings.
There is nice restaurant offering local and international cuisine, too.
4. Lugnason Falls
This falls is a wall of limestone rocks with waters coming from the a stream above.
According to the guide, the main water source of the falls comes a spring deep within the mountains.
If you’re coming from the beach Lugnason falls is the perfect place to cool down.
We were the only ones in the area when we visited and got the whole place to ourselves.
The basin is very swim-able, with waters very cool, clear and blue. It’s around 5-6 ft. deep but gets deeper in the middle.
Locals would climb up the limestone walls and jump. You could also take your lunch here.
There are tables and small cottages available for groups.
It was closed for some time because the spring dried up.
5. Tubod Marine Sanctuary
Tubod Marine Sanctuary is the most famous marine sanctuary in the island.
Very popular for scuba diving and snorkeling .Located at Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor which is about 5 kilometers south from San Juan municipal proper and only around 10 minutes by vehicle transport .
The marine sanctuary is open for all and the Barangay Bantay Dagat has station house and personnel along the beach side for guidance.
Coco Grove Dive Center operating in the front beach area has scuba diving and snorkeling equipment rental services, facilities and personnel that can guide in exploring the sanctuary.
6. Paliton Beach
When we mention Siquijor, what often comes to our minds are kulam (witchcraft), black magic, mystic, sorcery, and the official name, the Island of Fire (Isla Del Fuego).
So many negative notions with this town, that most people are reluctant to visit the island.
But the truth is, Siquijor is a very beautiful island, and safe.
The Philippines is an archipelago, gifted with so many remote islands and Siquijor is one of them.
The natural beauty of the Cambughay Falls, Salagdoong Beach, to the old balete tree (strangler fig tree) which is believed to be enchanted, captivated me!
But I have to say that my favorite place in Siquijor is the gorgeous and secluded beach of Paliton.
7. Kanheron Ranch
KANHERON is a coined Visayan word for “Kanhi ug Karon” meaning “Then & Now” thus the original name Kanheron came about.
The property was initially purchased with just a lone century old Acacia tree standing but offers an inspiration to develop a stunning backdrop of Kanheron.
Sensing the limitless potential of this empty palette land, it is now developed into a lush of native hardwood trees mainly tugâs & mahogany, picked for their durability, leaf color and providing welcome shade all year round.
It was also a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking.
Five years later, to say that every part of this eclectic building design using indigenous materials was artistically made to Daryl’s perfection & satisfaction, is an understatement.
8. Al Capone’s Pizzeria
When you need a little comfort food, there is only one place on Siquijor that will hit the spot and that is Al Capone’s Pizzeria. Using the finest imported cheeses and meats then artfully cooked in a wood fire pizza oven, you can expect the best pie you’ve had in weeks. This gem of a restaurant also serves sandwiches, wings, and salads that pair perfectly.
They’ve got some great beers on tap and WIFI if you want to get cozy for a couple of hours. Or, on the likely chance that it is either raining or too hot for you to venture outside, just call them up for delivery.
9. Kagusuan Beach
This Beach is one of the premier destinations for those who are visiting Siquijor.
It has fine white sand and clear aquamarine waters, dancing coconut trees, rock formations dotting different parts, and an idyllic middle-of-nowhere ambiance. Add this to your itinerary as it is the perfect place to relax, unwind, and enjoy nature.
Once you arrive, it’s pure paradise. There are interesting rock formations that have been eroded into the reef cliffs that not only make for fun climbing spots, but some jet out offering a sandy, shady spot to lie underneath.
Enjoy splashing in the water all on your own.
10. Restaurant Saki
The restaurant takes a little to reach but it is absolutely worth it!
The atmosphere is great – for one you have an amazing view and secondly you can sit in an elevated area on the floor (take off your shoes if you do so;).
This Asian sushi spot on Siquijor is the perfect place to grab an ice-cold beer or to enjoy a cocktail made by bartenders who really know what they’re doing.
Your sushi will be made by Yoshimi, a food artist who is passionate about what she does.
Order the sushi platter and expect generous portions that are perfect to share.
11. Cantabon Cave
In the centre of Siquijor island you can find Cantabon Cave which is not only famous among tourists visiting the island, but is probably one of the most beautiful and adventurous caves in the Philippines.
What makes this place really special is the fact it is still not very well developed and you can feel there as part of the nature instead of part of tourist business.
Cantabon Cave is relatively easy to get with any map, so if only you rent a scooter, you can reach that place easily.
Also every single tricycle driver knows that place very well and brings you there from all the places on the island.
Entrance fee ensures obligatory helmet and necessary torch however it is you who should take care about proper shoes and clothing. Remember – safety first!
12. Marelle’s Underwater World Museum
The Museum contains a world class collection of seashells and marine life, all from the waters of the Philippines.
Also included is educational exhibits and a colorful collection of worldwide marine life stamps adorning the walls.
Browse for that special gift for a loved one in our beautiful gift shop, all gifts are made by Philippine Artisans.
We are proud to have Marelle’s family dining, specializing in fine seafood cuisine, dine under our shaded veranda or romantically under the stars.
Also, gaze upon our vast array of botanicals and nesting butterflies. For our special guests , we have clean bathrooms.
13. Siquijor Mountain Bike Tour
If you thought the beaches and waterfalls of Siquijor were beautiful, just wait until you explore inland.
With rolling green hills for miles and miles, once you get going on your mountain bike tour it feels like you and your group are the only humans on earth.
There are ‘Red, Blue and Green’ level tracks to fit a range of mountain biking skills and experience.
You’ll explore with a guide who knows each route like the back of his hand and will make sure that you have a fun and safe adventure.
14. Snorkel on San Juan Beach
If you’re a decent swimmer, than there is a surprise waiting for you just off the shore from San Juan Beach.
Grab your snorkel and maybe even rent some slippers, then swim about 50-meters off the coast where you’ll find a snorkeling paradise.
There are colorful reefs as far as you can see with an abundance of wild life waiting to be discovered.
You’ll see all of the likely characters such as clown fish darting in and out of anemones and big schools of fish swimming around in unison.
15. Scooter around the Island
Siquijor is a pretty small island located not too far away from Bohol, Panglao, Cebu and Negros islands.
There are daily ferries going to every island mentioned above.
The best transport on this island are motorbikes for sure, so I definitely recommend scooter rental in Siquijor.
They are cheap, reliable and fast enough to drive around the island in one or couple of days. Siquijor has many things to offer.
Island of Siquijor also has many beautiful unspoiled beaches reachable only by taxi or scooter.
Taxis are expensive so save your money and drive around the island with the bike! Just be careful and wear helmet.