I enjoyed my time on Siquijor Island in the Phillippines, but I would not vehemently recommend visiting. It is a place that leaves me torn, changing my mind time and time again on whether or not I liked it.
I feel bad because I can’t help thinking this is because of the bed bugs and cockroach that woke me up crawling up my arm rather than the island itself… Here are my thoughts.
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.
Things to do
Cliff diving – this was super fun but can be found in other places. 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.
When I did the first jump it took me a good few minutes to work up the courage and when I jumped I thought to myself: “Pencil, pencil, pencil.” But my body did not stay straight like a pencil. My arms and legs flailed as instincts kicked in.
The second jump took me between 10 and 20 minutes, it felt like forever, I just couldn’t do it but I kept telling myself I couldn’t leave otherwise.
Eventually, without much thought, I leapt. My arms and legs began to make crawling motions as I fell as if trying to crawl through the air and back to safety (completely out of my control, instincts are a mad thing).
Afterwards, we took a dip in the ocean, the beach around the jumping spot is beautiful, and I wondered why I had put myself through that.
The enchanted tree – There is a 400-year-old balete tree which 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.
The sunset – Again, sunsets all over the Philippines are incredible but, if like us you are staying for just one night, don’t rely on this. We zipped on a ped to Paliton Beach but the clouds hid the red sky from us. Despite this, there was a nice vibe on the beach (ruined at times by damn drones) and we had a couple of beers. Apart from this, there was nowhere to go — no nightlife.
Where NOT to stay
I am sorry that I cannot recommend a place to stay, but as I mentioned above, insects ruined my sleep.
I stayed at Casa de Playa, partly because the Santorinian vibes reminded me of one of my favourite holidays with P, and partly because I thought the name was funny (house of the player, get it?).
When we arrived we discovered our double room was actually a small bungalow with a small garden. It was shabby, sure, 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 to pose beside, and good vegetarian options in their restaurant.
The things to do on the island can really be done or found anywhere across the country, and with so many incredible places with so many other incredible sights on offer, it really doesn’t make a visit to Siquijor worthwhile. Especially when it isn’t easy to get to.
A place in the Philippines I do recommend, with all my heart, is Bantayan Island.
See more travel here.