SIQUIJOR: FIRS-TIMERS

he can read maps!

I was in charge of planning since the vacation was in my turf (meaning in the Visayas). Though I’ve never been to Siquijor or spent much time in Dumaguete and I can’t speak or understand much Cebuano… I thought this would be a nice adventure… plus Doc had her favorite travel companion – Cookie Monster! hehehe…

We wanted to go to this and that place… first there was Tagaytay… then Hinobaan… then Sagada… then Vigan… then I few more places I already forgot… but always ended up cancelling the trip. Since my birthday was coming up, we decided to head south of Negros… crossed to the oriental side of the island… and lazed around Dumaguete City. If the weather permits, traverse Bohol Strait to get to Siquijor…

Siquijor was an hour away from Dumaguete City by fast craft. For a change, we were able to get up early… had breakfast at 7:30am… got a map from the hotel’s front office… and dropped off our laundry in a nearby shop.

The sea was calm… or so it seemed as we passed the boulevard in Dumaguete. It was a good day for a boat ride. We got our tickets… inquired what was the last trip from Siquijor, just in case we decided to go back that same day. We had enough time to get on board the 9:30 am trip. The Delta fast ferry terminal was actually a floating terminal… so if you happen to have motion sickness, this isn’t such good news.

A lot of resorts in the island are listed in various sites or have their own websites, which makes booking a breeze even if you’re in a different continent… and there is a lot of helpful information for people who are coming to the island for the first time to the island. I made reservations a few weeks earlier through the internet. At this point, we weren’t sure if this was just going to be a day trip.

The excitement for the trip soon changed to fright. About 20 minutes after leaving Dumaguete pier, the ferry began to sway back and forth. Then as we moved farther away from island of Negros, the sea got even rougher. Thank goodness, I didn’t have motion sickness… though I didn’t know how to swim. GULP! I knew we we’re near land (and I didn’t care what island it was) because the ferry became more stable. The only question in my mind by this time – Is there another way to get off the island? =|

When we got off the ferry, I was a little bit shaken… but when we finally saw the island the first time from the pier… it was indeed mystifying. There were people snorkeling right in the pier… the water was so clear… the sand was so white… it was a breathtaking! We’re definitely staying for at least the night.

The resort I booked was about 12 km away from Siquijor pier. We took a tricycle to Kiwi Dive Resort. The drive was very pleasant. The road network that linked the different towns was in excellent condition. I don’t think I even saw any garbage throughout the tricycle ride to Kiwi. Ang linis linis ng lugar!

The resort was quite charming… with cute native little cottages… even their restroom was very witty! But our cottage was upstairs. Going down to the beach wasn’t so bad… but going back to the cottage was another thing. The place was delightful with all the Yellow Bells and Bougainvilleas hanging in the trellis that covered the walkways and stairways. We decided to stay in the resort and couldn’t have enough of the view. I enjoyed the little library, reading Nick Joaquin’s “The Woman who had Two Navels.” Doc even went online since they had internet connection… and facebook!

chicken adobo
fried chicken

Lunch turned out to be disappointing. To (always) be on the safe side, I ordered chicken… and so did Doc. I asked for fried chicken which I though was adobo when it arrived. Doc ordered for chicken adobo, which didn’t look anything like adobo. The vegetable sidings were good though… but I don’t eat much greens. Maybe world class price tag doesn’t necessarily mean good food? or maybe my tastebuds are too local and isn’t so evolved?

But in all fairness, the stay at Kiwi was pleasant over-all. The place is clean just like everywhere else in the island. The room was good enough for the price we paid… it had two single beds with mosquito nets, an electric fan, a toilet and bath (no hot shower though) but for something around P600.-, ok na din. The food and drinks in the resort are kind of expensive though. Maybe it would have been wise if we brought an emergency stash. Doc on the other hand, found the place boring since it was so quiet. As in! no TV… no music… but they now how WI-FI for those who cannot live without being connected to the web.

The tide was changing when we finally decided to get out of the shade. Green patches were soon revealed as the sea began receding. “May lumot man gali sa Siquijor (There’s also algae in Siquijor),” I thought. I soon found out that those green patches were actually seaweeds. As I looked closer, there were all kinds of water creatures living there – sea urchins, starfish, fish fry, other sea creatures whose names I don’t know. I picked up a starfish that was crawling back to a pool of water, wanting to take it home… but it was home… so I gently placed it back in the sea.

We were hoping to watch the sunset but it was a cloudy day. We had dinner at the bar and went to bed early. We didn’t want to be strolling down Siquijor in the dark. Hahaha!Doc joined me for a walk down the beach… taking in a lot of the scenery… and pictures as well. Not far ahead, a little girl in a black top and orange skirt seemed to be digging for something in the sand. We stopped by and looked at what was inside her bucket… a few colorful fishes (freshly caught from the sea).

We were hoping to watch the sunset but it was a cloudy day.  We had dinner at the bar and went to bed early.  We didn’t want to be strolling down Siquijor in the dark.  Hahaha!

We checked out early the next day, so we might do a little sightseeing at the town of Siquijor (the province has 6 towns, one of them is also named Siquijor) before heading back to Dumaguete. We got to see the Siquijor Belfry, the St. Francis of Assisi church, as well as the museum in its old convent which housed a lot of antique religious artifacts. Syempre… took more pictures!

the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Siquijor, Siquijor
at St. Francis Church and the nearby Museum

The church was a walking distance from the pier. We bought tickets for the 12nn trip of the Delta Ferry. We held our breath since the wind was quite strong that late morning. The waves rolled back and forth. We had brunch in a nearby carinderia, where the food was way better than what we had in the resort… and way cheaper too! We paid a little over 100 pesos for a meal good for 3 people.

By 12nn we were on board the ferry. This time the sea was even rougher than the day before. I closed my eyes, hoping to get some sleep and wake up when we get to dry land. As soon as we were in Dumaguete, Doc told me that next time we’ll go around the island to see more of Siquijor…

next time!
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