Siquijor is a small island in the Philippines and out of the six we visited on our travels, it was our favorite. Due to Siquijor’s reputation for black magic and outer-worldly happenings, you will definitely notice there aren’t as many tourists there as perhaps Bohol.
In Siquijor you’ll experience great food and friendly locals. You will also be able to take a dip in crystal clear waters and sunbathe on the whitest, most powdery beaches there are. And the best thing? In this guide to Siquijor I will let you in on a secret beach that even Google maps doesn’t know exists. But psst, don’t tell everyone.
How to get to Siquijor
Siqujor doesn’t have it’s own airport, so you’ll have to take the ferry to reach it. Siquijor was our second stop, right after Cebu, so this is what we did:
- Tricycle from Pangasama Beach to Moalboal, PHP150 (15 minute ride)
- Bus from Moalboal to Bato, 103PHP /pp (1,5 hour ride, super smooth and nice buses. Beware of scammers at the station, they will try to convince you that you will miss the ferry and that you should take their ride – DO NOT DO THIS!)
- Tricycle from Bato to Liloan Port, PHP150 (10 minute ride)
- Ferry from Liloan to Siquijor Larena Port, PHP200 (2,5 hour ride)
The closest airport is in Dumaguete and you can travel there from Manila. After that just board the direct ferry.
Getting around in Siquijor
Renting a motorbike in Siquijor is easy. We asked at our hotel and they were able to arrange it next day. We paid 400PHP per day, which gave us plenty freedom to do whatever we wanted while staying on the island.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving a motorbike, you could opt for waving down tricycles. But beware, there are not so many on the island when it gets dark, so if you live further out make sure you pre-book your ride.
Best time to visit Siquijor
This island is warm all year round, but the highest temperatures are in April and May. We were there in April, but we managed just fine. I’d say you can visit any time.
Where to stay in Siquijor
This is where I give away one of my best kept secrets. We booked Charisma Beach Resort, which not only was super cheap, but RIGHT ON THE BEACH. Don’t trust the images on Booking.com, it looks better in real life. The AC and the internet worked and the breakfast was better than any other place we experienced in the Philippines.
So why is this my secret? Well, because right here it’s where (in my opinion), the best beach of Siquijor is located. While all the tourists flock to Paliton, we were pretty much by ourselves here the whole time. Well, with a few local dogs under the sun-chairs 🙂
Where to eat
We were really surprised by what Siqujor had to offer and during our 5 days there we tried as many places as possible. These were our favorites:
Luca Loko – delicious breakfast
Monkey Business – great vibe and yummy food (banana fries FTW!).
Dolce Amore – pizza was to die for! Everything else was not worth it. PS: breakfast here was really bad.
Beach Bar and Lounge – perfect for a sunset beer. Not on google maps, but on your drive from Charisma towards Poblacion it will be on your right.
THE 7 BEST THINGS TO DO ON SIQUIJOR
1. Cambugahay Falls
Cambugahay Falls were definitely my favorite attraction in Siquijor! Located in the South East part of the island, it will take you roughly 30 minutes to drive from San Juan. Once you arrive you can park the motorbike across the street from the entrance and start your 135 stair descent to the falls. We arrived a few minutes before opening time so we didn’t have to pay for parking. Be prepared to spend about 10PHP for it if you arrive later. In 2019 there was no entrance fee to the falls, but you will be charged 50PHP to swing or take the wooden raft.
Don’t forget to walk up the higher tiers of the waterfall – since there are less people swinging in the second tier, it’s the perfect place for a swim!
2. Century Old Balete Tree
With it’s 400 years of age, there is something very peculiar about the balete tree in Siquijor. Besides it’s grandiose appearance, there is a fresh water spring emanating from its roots. This prompted the locals to construct a pool adjacent to the tree, to capture the water. And since they stocked it with Garra rufa (Doctor fish), it works as a fish spa! While the tree is perfectly visible from the street, they will charge you 10PHP to get closer. However, once you’re in you get the fish spa for free!
3. Lugnason Falls
Lugnason Falls are located on the South West part of the island and are about a 20 minute ride from San Juan. There is no entrance fee and depending on when you arrive, you might be required to pay 10PHP for the parking. Once you park, start making your way down towards the waterfall. You will walk through some forest, but there are signs pointing you to the right direction all the time. If you have more time, then you can opt to visit some of the Zodiac Falls here as well – it’s the same location.
If you are not into rope swings, then I suggest you come to this waterfall about an hour before sunset. The crowds will have gone home and you can enjoy the place all by yourself.
4. Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth is located on the right side of the waterfall and a few meters down the forest path. There are no signs, but you will see the path has been walked on. This place has a very mystical vibe. There’s a circular pool that looks like a huge cauldron that’s used by witches, which you can bathe in. There is also a little house with a cow in front of it. But no one seems to live there. If you get scared easily, I’d recommend you visit this place with a friend – I would definitely start getting strange ideas!
5. Drive around the island
Siquijor might be an island of magic, but to me it was just magical! Driving on a motorbike here was an absolute treat. The roads were always empty, they are in great condition (unlike some islands, which are so bumpy!) and you will see beautiful spots all the time! On the first image below we just made some random turns and made it to a tiny community by the beach. We met a couple of ladies who were just washing their hair outside and decided to approach us. They had a peek at the drone image and absolutely loved how their little village looks like from above. You will hear a lot of karaoke and wave back to many children. Siquijor, just like Vigan, is also home to many historical and beautiful churches, which are just perfect for photography enthusiasts. To me, Siquijor and Siargao were the best islands to ride a motorbike in Philippines.
6. Beach time
Since I already gave away my biggest Siquijor secret above, I will elaborate here on the dreamy beach we lived next to. The beach doesn’t have a name and has beautiful, soft sand and crystal clear sea. The tide gets quite low in the afternoon, so if you want to head for a swim, do so when the water levels are a little higher. You can opt for renting kayaks as well, as go a bit further out for the deeper sea. We just loved strolling and sunbathing here. It was calm, free of tourists and absolutely stunning. You can access it by walking through the hotels or just in between them. My favorite spot was just by our hotel.
After experiencing the Bali sunsets, we didn’t think it could get better than that. Well, Siquijor did manage to beat it. Not sure if it was the time of the year or pure luck, but the sunsets were unbelievable every night. We made it our mission to grab a couple of beers and sit on the sand to watch the sun go down.