Siquijor is best known in the Philippines for being “the island of black magic”. A nickname that didn’t particularly scare me off to begin with, and after some more reading you’ll quickly learn that this is a thing that mostly lived in the past with the locals. After spending some time on this beautiful island, I can only say that it’s magical in the most positive sense of the word. Siquijor is where you (should) go to relax, to experience the paradise island life in a real way – which means: not a lot of people, an authentic feel, beautiful nature and white sandy beaches to yourself. Yep, it’s safe to say that I’d go back in a heartbeat.
This island is quite small, but I only consider that an extra plus since it means you’ll have the opportunity to see pretty much everything it has to offer without having to drive for hours (trust me, your butt will thank if you already spent hours on a motorbike). I didn’t need much convincing to add Siquijor to my itinerary (the location is perfect if you’re also going to Bohol – just take the ferry), but in case you’re not quite sure yet – these are some of my personal highlights and recommendations of things to do here.
First things first: rent a motorcycle and let the surroundings and abundance of palm trees wow you. You’ll probably spend some time doing that anyway, but on this island it’s quite relaxing since the traffic is so chill here compared to other places.
Have lunch at U.Story Guesthouse and spend the afternoon here to treat yourself to a little bit of luxury and relaxation. Initially, I wanted to stay here but their beautiful bungalows were already fully booked. Since it looked so appealing, and I heard only great things about their food we decided to at least stop by for lunch there. I can only strongly recommend you do the same. The food was absolutely delicious (there’s definitely a Western influence present here, but not in a bad way) and you should treat yourself at least once to it – it’s not expensive compared to Western prices, but definitely more pricey than the usual Filipino food. Their open-air restaurant is the coziest ever (also at night) and as you can see their sunbeds and setting is just a little piece of paradise. To make it even better, you can go snorkeling right in front of the charming resort since they have stairs that lead into the water. Heaven, I tell you.
My – very serious – award for Most Beautiful Beach of The Philippines goes to the one in front of Coral Cay resort – have you honestly seen anything more stunning than this? The good thing is you can just walk in here without paying a fee (depends on the resort whether you have to do this or not), and if you want you can have a drink or some food at their restaurant (which wasn’t equally amazing as the beach, to be honest).
If you’re up for an adrenaline rush, go to Salagdoong beach and jump off the cliff. I personally wussed out (it’s HIGH) but my boyfriend did take the plunge. This is pretty cool if you’re into that kind of thing, but I have to mention that you have to pay a fee to get in (which is kind of not worth it if you’re not all about the jump). The “restaurant” is simply bad (serious tourist trap alert) and the surrounding “resort” looked kind of sad to me (this was a case of faded glory– they are doing some renovation works at the moment, but it still needs a lot of patching up). So basically, only go here if you’re interested in the jump.
Stay at the Kiwi Dive resort (p.s. everything is basically called a resort here – don’t expect too much luxury) when you’re looking for the perfect budget meets quality place. This is a bit out of the way of the usual “touristy” places to be in San Juan, but it’s well worth it. It’s calm, beautiful, and you have a bit of a private beach feeling going on. The coral reef in front of the resort is also nice, so you can snorkel or try diving for the first time (which is what I did, eek). We did get lucky by getting one of the cheaper bungalows right by the patio and the beach downstairs – this is definitely the one I would recommend getting if you intend to book (for reference: it’s just above the kitchen). Another place that got great reviews and looked lovely is Villa Marmarine. Due to circumstances, we never made it there to try it out for lunch – I was pretty bummed about that!
Don’t miss a trip to the Old Balete tree, and get your feet cleaned in the natural fish spa (so funny to feel them munching at your feet). Take some time to visit the Cambugahay and Lugnason falls. Also, plan a trip to Apo island if this isn’t on your itinerary later – from Siquijor, it’s easiest to do so via Coco Grove Beach resort. My final tip would be to make sure you have enough cash on you before you get to the island. Siquijor only has a few cash machines, and sometimes they all decide not to work (which happened in our case). Luckily we had some Euros left that could be exchanged for Pesos in a pawn shop (don’t count on the Western Union things for that – they only exchange dollars), but we did lose a couple of hours and some drops of sweat figuring that out.
We spent five nights on Siquijor, but I could have easily added more! If you have more questions about this beautiful island, just drop me a comment.