Siquijor: The Island Of Fire
Isla del Fuego, or Island of Fire, is one of the more well-known islands in the Philippines. Locally known as Siquijor, the Island of Fire got its name from the fireflies that give the place a wondrous glow at night.
Land of the Mangkukulams
Siquijor is popular for its local mangkukulams. These mangkukulams are either healers or sorcerers. For a fee, they can cast spells against your enemies, get rid of spells cast against you, or cure any sickness that you may have. They work with aromatic, sometimes smelly potions of herbs and oils, when doing their clients’ bidding. They even sell amulets, or anting-antings, to ward off evil curses and spirits. These mangkukulams can be found in Siquijor Town, which is the capital of Siquijor, San Juan and San Antonio.
Far From the Usual Vacation
Aside from its dark, mystic side, Siquijor is the ideal island for the tired and weary to rejuvenate themselves. It is also the perfect place for adventurers, thrill-seekers, and even families. The island offers numerous beach resorts along miles of spectacular white sand beaches. Most resorts offer very affordable accommodations, with breathtaking views of the ocean at sunrise or sunset. They also offer guided day tours around the island, motorbike tours and rentals, and mountain bike rentals. Some resorts boast of giving the best traditional hilot, or a healing body massage, that leaves you feeling renewed and re-energized. There are many restaurants in the island which offer gastronomical delights to the serious food buff. They serve international as well as local Philippine cuisine. There are even some restaurants that cater to vegetarians, which is rare in the meat-loving Philippines.
Siquijor has many exceptional dive sites. Among them are: Paliton Beach, with its three submarine caves; Salagdoong Beach, where the strange Mako shark dwells; Sandugan and Tongo Point, known for its vibrant reefs; and the Larena Pier, which happens to be Siquijor’s main port, where the thirty-meter wreck of a Japanese hospital boat can be found.
Siquijor has a seventy-two kilometer coastal ring that goes around the entire island, with impressive views of the beaches of the island. The road is easy to travel by motorbike or even by mountain bike for a more leisurely pace. The sights along the coastal ring are one of the major attractions of Siquijor. Another popular attraction in Siquijor is the coral-stone church in Siquijor Town, which is a short distance from Larena. The coral-stone church was built in 1783 and is a living reminder of the era when the Philippines was colonized by Spain. The church has a tower which provides a stunning view of the island. The Bandila-an Nature Centre, which is located on top of Siquijor’s highest peak, is another attraction that cannot be missed. It is the beginning of a trail of natural springs, gorgeous butterflies, colorful birds, and a variety of flowering plants. For those who want to explore caves, there are guided tours to the Cang Anhao, Ambaka’g Baki, Dacanay and Cantabon Caves. These tours usually provide visitors with safety helmets and torches. Expect to get wet and dirty during these cave tours while going through narrow, vertical climbs, and water that goes up to the waist level.
For a vacation that is far from the ordinary, try one that offers equal portions of amazing sights, mysticism, and adventure. Try Siquijor Island.