If you’re thinking about visiting Siquijor Island in the Philippines, then there are a few things you should consider.
There isn’t a lot to do — although the few activities you can do are beautiful — and there aren’t many restaurants or much of a nightlife. If your time in the country is limited, it may not be worth your while.
Where is Siquijor located?
It is a small island located at the southern tips of three other, larger islands in the Philippines: Bacolod, Cebu, and Bohol.
How to get there
I was already on Bohol Island, which is just slightly north of Siquijor. Boats from Cebu stop at Bohol anyway, so I definitely recommend going to Bohol before or after. You can also fly, but this is more expensive and not very eco-friendly.
What is Siquijor known for?
There is a 400-year-old balete tree that people from the island believe to be enchanted. Some say children used to go missing and then reappear, having been taken by the tree.
It is huge and there is water in front of it with those fish that eat dead skin, so you can sit and have your feet done. I was quite disappointed by the tree, because in photos I had thought you could swim in the water in front of it.
We arrived when it opened, and it was quickly lined with tourists dipping in their feet. It was not worth the 40-minute drive from our accommodation.
Things to do on Siquijor Island
I would start the day at Cambugahay Falls. Here the locals have installed three rope swings for you to launch yourself into the waterfall below. It is absolutely beautiful, but I’d definitely recommend going early so you have as much of it to yourself as possible.
After that head to Salagdoong beach, a famous spot for cliff diving. Concrete boards at two heights have been built into the side of the cliff to mark safe areas, and a ladder has been installed so you can climb out easily without having to swim to shore.
I forced myself to do the two jumps, starting small and then going higher. In retrospect, I don’t know why. I hate heights; since I was a child I have had recurring dreams about falling. It took me almost 20 minutes to work up the courage to jump from the higher platform.
Finally, end the day at Paliton Beach and watch the sunset. It will be a bit busy, but the vibe is great and there will be a few stalls selling cold beers (just make sure you return the empty bottle).
Where to stay in Siquijor: Casa de Playa review
I’m afraid I can’t recommend a place to stay because I stayed at Casa de Playa, where I woke up to cockroaches in the bed.
I chose it because of the Santorinian design of the resort, as it reminded me of one of my favourite holidays with P. When we arrived we discovered our double room was actually a small bungalow with a small garden. It was shabby, but at first I happily exclaimed that it was “lovely and rustic”.
That night I woke up with something crawling up my arm and brushed it off. P asked me what it was and I casually said “just a bug”, in a bid to return to my slumber. He wasn’t having it. We turned on the lights and crawling along the bedsheets, having just been flicked off my arm, was a cockroach. Thankfully not that big but disgusting nonetheless. The next day, we saw more.
On the boat back to Cebu P pulled up his top to scratch a long line of bites across his torso… Bed bugs. He was covered in bites.
The only good thing about Casa de Playa was that it was right on the beach, with mangroves trees in the water — something islands across the Philippines are famous for — and the restaurant has amazing vegetarian options in their restaurant.
Is Siquijor Island worth visiting?
The things to do on the island can really be done or found anywhere across the country, but every single other island we visited had a lot more on offer.
You only really need 24 hours to visit the island, and considering it’s a fairly long boat journey, it might not be worth it — especially if your time is limited. I travelled the country for one month and this was my least favourite place. In retrospect, there are other islands I wish I had visited instead.Even if you’re not interested in activities and exploration — Bantayan Island was my favourite and I would happily spend a week there doing nothing but relaxing on beaches.