The magic island of the Philippines

Above you bright green trees shield the sky, with the sun cutting through and shining light on to the glistening water. There’s no one around. Just you and the earth. These are the most peaceful moments. The moments you realise the true magic of the island. You realise why thousands of people are drawn to this piece of land. That’s the true witchcraft, that feeling that you will never leave. Why would you want to leave somewhere so magnificent?

One of the waterfalls

Siquijor, can only be described as breath taking. I don’t think a blog post, recommendations or photos will ever paint the full picture. You have to go to understand. When I went to Thailand, everyone spoke about how people get stuck in Pai, or in the “pai hole”. For me, this island was that. There’s just something so fulfilling about it.

The roads of siquijor

So, where to go? Although it’s described as a “small island”, it’ll take you all day to get round, and even then you won’t travel the whole distance. The famous waterfall Cambugahay Falls is a must visit. I know everyone says stay away from tourist hot spots. But, it’s a hot spot for a valid reason.

Morning swimming with the dogs on the island.

Now, it was hard to find. That might’ve just been us, but I’d keep a map handy. When you get there, a volunteer will take you down the 135 steps (yes it hurts to get back up). They don’t ask for any money, just a donation for helping you. You can get water for 40 peso at the top of the stairs, and I definitely would invest.

The waterfall is made up of three swing rope jumps and a swimming hole.

Jumping into the waterfalls.

However, there’s so much more to see. On my last day on the island, we found more secluded waterfalls, where it was just me, my travel buddy and a guide. It was so nice to see the island away from everyone and everything else and just be deep down in nature. Even the plants are magical.

Now, if you don’t know the history of the island, check it out. Because of it’s past- tourism has only just starting picking up in the past decade or so. We happened to stumble across a “viewpoint” that was still getting built. It was beautiful and you could see out to everywhere.

Some of the best moments on this island were getting lost in the true Filipino parts- on someone’s back garden, following the locals on the back of a motorbike because there were police helmet checks, watching hundreds of locals gathered for church.

There also the ancient 400 year old tree to see. We didn’t stay for long, but it was on the way to the waterfalls and only cost 10 pesos.

The ancient tree.

Where to stay:

Well, actually I’d like to start with where not to stay. Unfortunately, everything was booked on this island- so do try to pre book. I booked a hostel called Lazy Lizard. Now, this might have been the ideal place for some, but not a young girl traveling on her own. The hostel was situated 400m from the beach, in a forest, with no lights and no door on the dorm..

Luckily, my friends were staying at Jj’s Backpackers. This place, I recommend. It has everything you need, security, a bar, a bed and it’s on the beach. We spent every night here just sat drinking on the beach and it was perfect.

The view, whilst having a beer and dinner at the hostel.

For food, monkey business down the road was out of this world. I’ve been vegetarian for nearly three years and I’ve never tasted food like that. They also serve banana chips, which I actually thought were potato fries before I read the menu properly on my second visit.

Getting there:

There’s no direct flight to the island. I chose to travel there from Moalboal. You can get a direct ferry from Cebu at 10am every morning, but that’s the only direct journey all day. If you miss that, you can get a ferry to dumaguete and then to siquijor.

Arriving by ferry to the island

I could write a book on this island and the things that happened here, but I’ll wait for a publisher to do that. In the meantime, just visit the island.

Hannah

xoxoxo

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