As the origin of many Filipino tales of magic and tress that glow in the night time, the island of Siquijor has forever been shrouded in mystery, but getting there should never be one of them.
About this Tropical Beauty
A small tropical island in the Bohol Sea, it features a single, well-paved, circumferential road that goes through the heart of each of the six major towns. Larena, the capitol Siquijor, San Juan, Lazi, Maria, and Enrique Valencia. San Juan and Lazi are the centers of the island’s tourism industry, but neither of them are directly accessible by boat.
One legend of the glowing trees belongs to the Spanish, but the islands complex barrier reef system kept their ships from visiting Squijor until much later than neighboring Cebu. Still, its existence was known to them from very early on. The islands abundance of fireflies would take to the trees at dusk at slightly cooler, higher elevations. In their enormous numbers, the tiny creatures illuminated the trees, making them appear red and glowing from the distant ships. This phenomenon earned Siquijor the nickname of “Isla Del Fuego” which translates to island of fire.
The descendants of the islands natives believe that the trees which attract the highest concentration of fireflies, are the resting place of spirts. One of these sacred trees, which is thought to be over 400 years old, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Siquijor.
The mountains and shores of the island, at one point in history, were all part of the ocean floor. You can’t walk more than a few meters before finding some coral rock. Ancient seismic activities forced up some of the earth’s crust and formed Siquijor, she was not born of volcanic fire like many of her neighboring islands. Despite the origins, the soil on the island is rich and fertile. There are few inhabited islands in all of the Philippines that have more trees per meter than right here. Packed thick with palm, banana, and countless varieties of plant life, Siquijor is perhaps the greenest island in all of the region.
With all of her clean, environmental beauty comes a peacefulness on Siquijor. Outdoor activities dominate the to-do list here, and it balances well with the spiritual vibe of the friendly, extremely welcoming, locals.
There are two major ports of entry on the island
Larena is home to the larger commercial fast boat companies Supercat To Go, and Oceanjet. These vessels have regular daily schedules to Dumaguette and Tagbilaran. The latter of the two, continues on to Cebu on those daily trips as well. This is the largest and most developed port on the island, capable of handling larger ships with cargo. There is a massive queue of tricycles and drivers just outside the seaport fence, along with a parking area for private hire vans, a testament to the amount of tourists that DO come to the island.
The island’s second port is in the capitol town of Siquijor. An old church and a number of restaurants mark the entry point to the seaport. A line of parked tricycles and motorbikes line the last half kilometer before arriving at the gate. At this small booth, customers are able to purchase the much less expensive alternative passenger ferry rides to Dumaguette and Liloan, which is the southern tip of Cebu Island. These boats are smaller, not as fast, and often not as comfortable as the Supercat and Oceanjet, but some routes they are the ONLY option. At a fraction of the cost, they are a safe and fantastic way to get around the Philippines.
Plan on visiting?
Getting around Siquijor itself via tricycle is super easy, but you should first understand the standardized pricing and get some tips on the best way to do it, maybe even save a few Pesos. A link to that article can be found here.
Enjoy the magic and mystery of beautiful Siquijor!