Magical and mystical Siquijor Island is a glowing gem in the Visayas region. With centuries-old trees and an abundance of resorts on white sand beaches (and often for less than the cost at similar destinations), this palm tree-packed tropical paradise is another wonderful option in the Central Visayas region to spend a few days, whether you are solo, a couple, or in a group.
Island Transportation Overview
Because tourism is not a large industry on Siquijor like it is on some of its sister islands (like Bohol or Siargao), getting around on a tricycle will cost you a bit more.
The good news is that prices have been somewhat standardized for foreigners, so you can know what to expect and create a budget ahead of time. Daily transportation can be an often overlooked expense when choosing accommodation. Make sure that the activities that you want to participate in are close by to your hotel if possible, as it will save you time and money. This article will help you figure out the major towns on the island.
The major towns on Suquijor are listed below, in geographical order, counter- clockwise around the island. Starting with the largest port, and most populous town: Larena. This is the port that the large boats travel to. Supercat 2Go and Oceanjet have regularly scheduled trips here, while smaller boating companies port at Siquijor.
• San Juan
• Enrique Valencia
The majority of the resorts are in the first three destinations, and they are also by far, the most popular because they are closest to the ports, potentially saving tourists a significant amount of transportation money.
Foreign tourists can expect to pay an unofficially standardized fare of 250 pesos between each town. If you find the need to go between two towns, then the fare is 500, 750 and so on. A private tricycle hire for the day will cost about 1200p if your negotiation skills are good.
There are Always Exceptions
Larena is the largest port and therefore where the big companies can be found. Ocean Jet and Supercat each have ticketing windows and regular journeys here to the nearby cities of Tagbilaran, Cebu (via Tagbilaran) and Dumaguette.
Exiting the port terminal at Larena will land tourists in the center of a busy intersection lined with tricycles, motorbike rentals and even a few vans, though these vans are typically privately owned by resorts and are here to provide a transfer service for their customers that already have reservations.
A small number of cafes/ places to eat can be found in this intersection as well.
A smart, budget minded tourist will bypass the initial wave of offers from tricycles drivers and choose to spend some time and money in one of the cafes. The hard working drivers know the ferry schedules, and it is very obvious when one dumps a few dozen passengers off. This rush creates a glut of quick offers, all at full price because there are so many passengers trying to get to their destinations as soon as possible. Accepting a ride at this point, all but guarantees paying full price.
Exiting the café after a quick drink or even a small meal (one can expect to pay 100 pesos for fried chicken and rice) visitors will find only a handful of other tourists around, and several dozen tricycle drivers, eagerly waiting for their next fare. Depending on the ferry schedule, the next opportunity could be hours away.
With some keen negotiation skills, and persistence, a fare can often be negotiated for slightly less than the standardized rate, as the tricycle driver would likely be able to take a discounted fare and still return to the port for the next boat’s arrival. Its possible to get from Larena to San Juan, a 15 minute, 6 km trip for around 400 pesos. No promises, but the right combination of haggling skills, boat schedule, and luck could save you enough to pay for that chicken and rice.
Siquijor is an enchanting island and is worth a visit in the Filipino summertime (Jan-May) so don’t be discouraged by the higher transportation costs and slightly higher rate of difficulty getting around the island on a tricycle, the low cost/ high performing resorts and the super friendly people will far make up for the extra transportation money spent.
Enjoy your days on Siquijor Island!