Philippines

Siquijor during rainy season

October 14, 2015
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After a quick day in Dumaguete we popped over to Siquijor for nearly 3 days. We came in with a little bit of sun with an overcast in the horizon. Typhoon Jenny was entering the Philippines area of responsibility though fortunately it didn’t land directly in our country though it left us quite wet during our trip to Negros! The next few days would be about hopping on and off the bike in between and during rain showers.

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On our first day we checked in to Buco Beach Resort in a quieter (as if Siquijor could get any quieter than it is) part of the island to the east. We took a ferry from Dumaguete and in 90 minutes we got off Larena port trying to negotiate with a tricycle driver to take us to our resort 30 minutes from the port. At 300 php we were almost ready to hop in. However, we we’re approached by a man who had a small car who said he’d take us for 350 php. Sure it’s an extra 50 php but it was a bit of an upgrade. From there we checked in our hotel and rented a scooter. (*Tip- rent your scooter at the port to save time and money. More in the logistics section at the bottom).

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Given our few hours of daylight left we opted to go to Siquijor’s famous Old Enchanted Balete Tree. Of course there are tons of stories that come with such a mystical looking tree given Siquijor’s reputation for witchcraft and sorcery. Some say a kapre (large beared smoking demon) or a tikbalang (a demon horse) occupy the tree, I can’t really say as we were there in the middle of day. When we arrived we we’re greeted by a group of Chinese tourists and a Filipino man selling coconuts. They are taking visitors’ 10 php entrance for the site. There was a bunch of tilapia and other smaller fish nibbling the dead skin on our feet and legs. This was a bit of a tickle! After about 15 minutes of this flesh eating activity we headed for San Juan. We completely underestimated the distance and got there later than expected. The sun was dropping and we decided to simply pop into a road side restaurant for a drink before heading back to the hotel.

 

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When we rolled up to the restaurant there was no electricity so we visited the Coco Beach Resort for sunset. Rainy season is tough time to travel especially if you’re trying to have a beach trip. Below is a photo of what we imagined Coco Beach Resort to look like. Under that is our photo.

Photo by Geolocation

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The next day it started off quite sunny so we got back on our scooter and headed the other way this time in an effort to go around the entire island in a day. Our first stop was a bit random, we went onto a bridge that went through mangroves and over tons of coral. We paid 20 php to have a look and would have gone in to snorkel but it was low tide.

 

 

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From there we ended up at the Larena Triad Cafe with an amazing view of the western part of the island and dark clouds that we prayed would go another path. Of course these clouds came straight for us and it started pouring. What a great way to start the day. We ended up waiting it out until it the rain slowed down. We got on our bike and headed towards San Juan beach (the longest stretch of sand on the island). Shortly after getting back on the road we ended up at Villa Marmarine, a Japanese owned resort with a beautiful beach front. The only problem was it was raining. After waiting a bit we hopped on the bike and ended up pulling over again at the nearest gas station as it was pouring. Hopped on, hopped off, this time around at a sari sari store. We ended up eating snacks, having a soda and chatting with the store owner about his life in Siqiujor and Mindanao. It’s always such a blessing to be able to talk to the locals in these unexpected moments! He had a lot to say about his life in Davao and his life in Siquijor.

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After our time with Kuya we decided the rain wouldn’t stop but only slow down. Our next stop was only a few miles away. We visited Paliton Beach (see below). Of course this wasn’t what our picture looked like as it was windy, rainy, and the water was a bit choppy. It’s a small beach and one we would have gladly stayed at, sunbathing and swimming but the conditions weren’t quite right for that. We hopped on the bike again and went out to a resort on San Juan beach which was windy and empty. After grabbing lunch we made our way back, exhausted, wet, and a bit disappointed in the weather.

Photo by Draketravels

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We had a couple more hours of daylight so stopped by the Lazi Church and convent to take pictures and then made our way to the Cambugahay Falls. We knew we wouldn’t be swimming and just wanted to get a sneak peek of what we’d missed. We parked our bike and from the road there was a path with concrete steps (slippery when wet) and imagined how gorgeous the waterfalls could have been if it wasn’t raining. Below are two photos and by now you can already guess which one is ours.

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Being hopeful we figured what are the chances of it being rainy 3 days in a row 🙂 In response to this optimism we’d like to thank Typhoon Jenny 2015 for pouring on us this entire trip. We packed our stuff hit the road for the port and had absolutely no rain as we we’re leaving. The only issue was when we got to open water on the ferry and the weather picked up in a negative way. People all around us were freaking out, throwing up and looking for life jackets. In the end we made it to Dumaguete, headed to to Hayahay restaurant for terrible service, a quick stop to to Sans Rival for some pasalubong (gifts) to bring to our family and friends and were back in the airport.

Logistics

Transportation

Two options to Siquijor
Slow ferry approximately 1.5-2 hours

Fast jet 1 hour

Dumaguete to Larena- We took this coming in as it was closer to our hotel

170 adult price

145 student price

From Dumaguete
10 am

6pm

From Larena

6am, 2pm

Siquijor Port has more a more frequent schedule and costs around 120-150 per person to Dumaguete. In the morning there are rides going in almost every hour. No need to book in advance.

To most resorts based on a tricycle hire at the port
300-350 tricycle to resort. We got a car for 350

300 getting around on a scooter

Food

Most resorts and hotels provided food. If you are in Larena, San Juan or Siquijor it’s easy to find budget meals but if you are stuck in a resort you will be stuck with the prices of the hotel restaurant. Buy snacks at the port before going to your resort.

Stay

We stayed at Buco Beach. We we’re happy about the location as it was a quite side of the island and a resort on the beach neighboring a fishing village. It was easy to walk around on the beach and run into local life. The space itself is relaxing as currently there are only 3 cabins but they are starting to build more. The price is 800-1200 depending on how long you stay and how many people are with you. We stayed in two different rooms, both with air-conditioning. The rooms were super spacious and for a 100 php upgrade you can get more space and a TV. This was nice to have during our stay as the rain kept us in. One issue in Siquijor is there are tons of brown-outs (electricity goes down). Fortunately for us there were generators run by solar panels that powered the lights and fans. Overall, we had a great stay at the resort.

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