What to do in Siquijor Island. Siquijor is known as a mysterious island tucked away in the mountains of the Philippines, home to many healers, also known as shamans. Here you can avail yourself of love elixirs, voodoo dolls, and other magical items. Or go to the mountains to meet the shamans who will “check” your health and prescribe treatment in the form of massage.
Even though the Siquijor Island is best known for its shamans, it is also chock-full of different locations worth visiting, seeing, and trying out for yourself. Exquisite, white sandy beaches, waterfalls, narrow caves perfect for bungee jumping, caves, mountains, the underwater world, and excellent food.
How to get to Siquijor
There are two main ways to reach Siquijor – either take a flight via the City of Dumaguete, located on the Negros Island, or get on a ferry from Taglibaran, located on the Bohol Island. A third option would be to take a ferry from the City of Cebu, located on the island of the same name. However, we do not recommend the latter option because the ferry makes a stop in Taglibaran and Dumaguete, and therefore takes longer to get to its destination.
If you decide to travel to Siquijor from Manila, take the flight to Dumaguete, located on the Negros Island. From the airport of Dumaguete, go to the seaport located in the same city. There, take a ferry to the City of Larena in the Island of Siquijor. From the seaport, take a bus, car, or tricycle to your hotel.
If you want to start the journey to Siquijor from the islands of Bohol or Panglao, take a ferry from the City of Taglibaran, which should get you to Siquijor in about two hours.
Upon deboarding the ferry in Siquijor, it may seem as if no one is going to offer your a ride. Not to worry! Just leave the seaport and you should see countless tricycles, scooters, and other vehicles.
What to see in Siquijor island
Spanish people call the Siquijor Island “Isla del Fuego” – the island of fire. The reason for this are the countless fireflies (bioluminescent insects) native to the island. If you want to see them during your visit, though, make sure to talk to the locals first – it might not be the right time. We came to Siquijor in September and were told that we’re not going to see much because the locals are currently spraying their mango trees. So much for the beauty of nature…
Must visit places in Siquijor
Old Enchanted Balete Tree
This tree is over four centuries old. It’s a truly mysterious place. As I’ve mentioned before, the Siquijor Island is home to many shamans, and shamans are very fond of holding their various rites next to such ancient trees. Even though I don’t know whether any such rites are being held there right now, I’m absolutely positive that they have been in the past.
There’s a fish pool located right at the foot of the tree where you can soak your weary feet and let the fish provide you with a pedicure. The pool has not only the small fish typically seen in spas, but also a number of rather large ones capable of mouthing your entire heel! You might feel a little squeamish at first, but I can promise you it doesn’t hurt – just tickles! All you have to do is relax and enjoy the magical atmosphere of this ancient tree.
Salagdoong Beach A tidy, enclosed beach with a beautiful view of the sea. Since the beach is usually crowded on the weekend – mostly with locals who like to have picnics here – we recommend you go somewhere else, unless you’d like a glimpse into the local lifestyle. If you’re a fan of jumping off high rocks, the Salagdoong Beach is just the spot for you. The beach has some 7-10 metre rocks where you can test your mettle by jumping into the sea below!
There’s also a slide built on top of a mountain that will take you all the way to the sea. Upon reaching the top, make sure to first look around and take in the beautiful views, though.
What to do in Siquijor – Waterfalls
The Luganson Falls are like a big adventure park. Here you can not only swim in the refreshing waters, but also jump in from swinging ropes. Or navigate a small jungle path and try to find all the twelve zodiac signs.
The Cambugahay Falls are not particularly tall, but very cosy and a real treat if you’re looking for a break from the characteristic Filipino heat.
Cambugahay Falls are comprised of several individual waterfalls and basins. The water is quite transparent and cool, and there’s also a number of ropes that you can use to either climb down or jump into the basin below. An excellent opportunity for those who love jumping into water from up high!
If you like, you can also swim underneath the waterfall and gaze at world on the other side, or have a back massage, courtesy of the copious amounts of running water.
The water of the Cambugahay Falls comes down from up high in the mountains. Many years ago, the stream went dry and the waterfall stopped flowing. According to the locals, the shamans then blessed the stream and the water started flowing again. Clearly, shamans are king here!
Tubod Marine Sanctuary
Tubod Marine Sanctuary. There are three main rules you must observe here – stay away from the shells, don’t step or otherwise damage corals, and refrain from fishing. As far as I’m concerned, these rules should apply everywhere.
The Sanctuary is located near the Coco Grove Beach Hotel. Here you can soak up the natural beauty, swim in the water, go snorkelling, or simply kick back and relax.
The Paliton Beach is located near the City of San Juan. The best time to visit would be in the evening, because sunsets here are quite the sight to behold. For an expertly framed picture, ask the locals for help and be prepared to pay small donation.
If you want to break away from the crowd and enjoy even more natural beauty and tranquility, make sure to walk along the beach all the way to the end. Cross the tiny palm grove and you’ll see a small, but extremely cosy bay. If the waves aren’t too high, bring your snorkeling gear along as there’s plenty to see under water, too.
SEE KEE HOR restaurant
Near the Paliton Beach you should also find the recently opened café called SEE KEE HOR which serves absolutely incredible food. The café isn’t located right on the shore, though, so you’ll have to make your way into the city. If you can’t find it right away, ask the locals for directions.
SEE KEE HOR’s food is completely different from the rest of the Philippines, as each dish is painstakingly made by hand, without any rush. Upon ordering, you’ll get the chance to see your food being made right in front of your eyes – hummus, granola with fruit, soups, salads, lava pie with home-made ice cream, macha tea, and other goodness.
The food in SEE KEE HOR is a solid 10 out of 10. Just be prepared to wait, as the dishes are made with great care and love, which takes time. Some of the foods are even grown locally.
In addition – the bathroom here is among the cosiest we’ve seen in the whole country.
Restaurant Saki located on the highest mountain of the Siquijor Island. To be honest, the view here is more impressive than the food. We recommend you take a seat, order one of the great Filipino cocktails and enjoy the beautiful vistas of the island.
Cantabon Cave – a challenge for the brave. Grab a torch and start your 800 metre descent! The Cantabon Cave is a great option if you want to test your level of courage.
A guide is mandatory if you want to get inside. During the tour, the guide will take care of your safety and explain what you should and shouldn’t do. We recommend you bring some warmer clothes as it can get rather chilly.
During our visit the cave was unfortunately closed for maintenance, so we didn’t get the chance to explore it, but we are determined the remedy the situation as soon as we return to Siquijor.
A great place to learn about butterflies and see a bunch of them all in one place. If you’ve already been to a similar museum, sanctuary, or other such location, you might as well skip this one. In case this is your first time – the Bohol Butterfly Garden is probably a better option anyway.
Other Places to Visit in the Siquijor Island
While in Siquijor, we also visited the San Isidro Labrador Convent. This is one of the oldest and largest convents in all of Asia. If you’re interested, there’s also a museum here which displays clerical clothing, books, statues, and similar items. If that’s not to your liking, you’re probably better off spending your time elsewhere.
The Siquijor Island is known for its beautiful nature, both inland and under the coastal waters. If you enjoy snorkeling, Siquijor is just the place for you. Regardless of the beach or specific location you choose, there’s never any shortage of fascinating sights to take in.
The Kagusuan Beach and the Seashell Museum are two additional places you might consider visiting while in Siquijor. If at all possible, get a scooter and simply ride around the island – this way you’ll be in full control of your adventure. Rest assured, there are plenty of new, as yet undiscovered, places to see. This might be an even better option than following along “Places to visit in the Siquijor Island”!
Where to Eat in Siquijor
The SEE KEE HOR Café
Jau aSince we’ve already described how much we liked it, we won’t repeat it here – just remember, the food here might just be the best in all of Siquijor! So, if you’re a foodie, make sure to include SEE KEE HOR in your own list of places to visit on the island.
Very cosy café, great food. Since there is no floor here – just sand – you can even enjoy being barefoot for a change!
Luca Loko Restaurant
Serves absolutely delicious vegetarian BUDDHA BOWL.
Where to Stay in Siquijor
You’ve now read about all of the visitor attractions that our family had discovered on Siquijor. If you plan to include the island into your itinerary for the Philippines, you’re probably going to need a hotel. Our recommendations on where to stay in Siquijor can be found in this article.
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