Siquijor Island has a reputation for witchcraft which both attract and repel Filipinos from exploring the island – attract those with adventurous and curious spirit while repel those who’d rather not take risk attracting and getting entangled with otherworldly mysteries. Sure it is common to see potions and medicines made of herbs, insects, and tree barks being sold in souvenir shops but there’s definitely more to Siquijor than just dark magic and mystic traditions. It has numerous dive spots, caves, waterfalls, and of course whitesand beaches. Spanish colonizers nicknamed Siquijor Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) due to its eerie glow from the shores caused by a great swarm of fireflies living in the molave trees. The island, with all its natural attractions and laid back vibe, is truly enchanting and makes you want to stay longer to enjoy what offers.
This brief guide to Siquijor Island will let you know how to get there, what to do, eat, and drink, where to stay, and must-see spots.
Best Time to Visit
It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.
Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.
The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.
TIP: Booking for summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.
The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances. Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well. This happens frequently so beware!
This guide recommends traveling to Siquijor Island in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get to this destination depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while on Siquijor Island: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The major ports of entry for this destination are provided below.
The following are the modes of transportation available on Siquijor Island …
SEE & DO
The following are popular places to see and activities to enjoy while on Siquijor Island.
1 | Beaches
Beaches in Siquijor are known for their whitesand and clear waters. Salagdoong Beach, the most popular beach in the area, is flocked by tourists not only for its whitesand and clear waters but because of its cliff diving platform. Thrillseekers can choose between the 20-feet or the 35-feet high cliff to jump from. For less crowded beaches, head over to the town of San Juan. The unspoilt Paliton Beach is free of entrance and its azure and calm water is perfect for swimming even for kids. Other beaches worth visiting in San Juan are Solangon Beach and Tubod Beach. On the other side of the island, there’s Kagusuan Beach located in the town of Maria. It is another unspoilt beach with pebbles and whitesand filling the shoreline.
2 | Cave
Near the center of the island stands Cantabon Cave, an 800-meter long cave with an underground river. Within the cave are columns, flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, and white rocks. The cave is safe to explore even for newbies as it is not that challenging but expect to bend, crawl, slide, squat, and be wet and dirty while exploring.
3 | Churches
If you are into history or ancient architecture, there are three spots you must not miss when in Siquijor – the centuries-old churches in the towns of Siquijor, Lazi, and Maria. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Siquijor town is impossible to miss as it is conveniently located just outside the port. Mostly made of coral stones, the church was constructed from 1795 to 1831. In the town of Lazi approximately 27 kilometers away from the port stands Lazi Church and Convent. Also referred to as San Isidro Labrador Parish, the church is of Baroque architecture and recognized as a National Cultural Treasure along with its convent which is made of sea stones and wood and considered one of the largest convents built during the Spanish era.
Next to the town of Lazi is the town of Maria where the Sta. Maria Church is located. Also made of coral stones, this church built in 1880 has a humble facade and elaborate fixtures the other two churches have.
4 | Enchanted Balete Tree
This 400-year old balete tree is believed to be enchanted and where sacred rituals are done by local shamen. While it is unlikely for tourists to see those rituals taking place in the area, people dipping their toes into the fishpond under the tree is what to be expected. Fishes in the pond are considered fish spa for they eat the dead skin off the feet.
5 | Spring Parks
There are two spring parks in Siquijor popular among locals. Capilay Spring Park, a favorite weekend destination of family and friends, has a three-chamber swimming pool fed by natural spring. It’s a great spot to enjoy a refreshing dip on a hot day however it can be crowded during summer. Guiwanon Spring Park, on the other hand, has a more natural setting. It is actually a coastal area where spring water gushing from the roots of nearby trees joins the sea water. Bamboo cottages are held by posts and standing in the water.
6 | Waterfalls
Cambugahay Falls is one of the most famous tourist spots in all of Siquijor. It is a three-tiered waterfall with a large natural pool at the bottom tier. While the drops are short, Cambugahay Falls has placid green waters and lush surroundings adding to its beauty. Lugnason Falls, with drops higher than that of Cambugahay, is also a three-tiered waterfall with tempting blue water. However, it tends to dry out during the dry season (March to May) so make sure to visit during the rainy season.
NOTE: The Dilaab Festival occurs annually in Siquijor Island every 1st week of October.
EAT & DRINK
The following are flavorful foods to enjoy and restaurants to try while on Siquijor Island.
1 | Baha Bar
Known for their best cocktail mixes and craft beer, Baha Bar also boasts of their extensive menu which includes several Filipino dishes altered to suit a more adventurous palate. They also offer international and vegetarian dishes, all using fresh and organic ingredients grown locally. Al fresco dining is available too as they have an outdoor seating with fantastic view of the ocean.
2 | Dolce Amore Restaurant
For your Italian cuisine cravings, Dolce Amore Restaurant is the place to be. This must-try restaurant in Siquijor offers the best pizza, pasta, and desserts in the island. The prices may be a bit steep for provincial standards but you will surely get what you paid for.
3 | Luca Loko Restaurant
Luca Loko is a favorite place for breakfast by local and foreign tourists alike. The restaurant is vegetarian-friendly and offers vegan options as well. Their colorful food bowls, particularly smoothie bowls, Buddha bowl, and poke bowls are a favorite among customers.
4 | Salamandas
Located inside Coco Grove Beach Resort, Salamandas Restaurant offers Asian, Western, and European cuisines at a tropical beach setting. In addition to hearty breakfasts, fresh seafood, vegan choices, and international dishes, they have impeccable customer service which makes the experience more memorable.
5 | U.Story Guest House Bar-Restaurant
This restaurant offers authentic flavors from Southern France and other exotic tropics. Apart from their delectable food choices, it has a charming boho-chic vibe perfect for dining and hanging out with loved ones while enjoying the magnificent view of sunset.
6 | Villa Marmarine Restaurant
Head over to Villa Marmarine Restaurant to satisfy your Japanese favorites cravings. Located in the lovely Villa Marmarine Beach Resort, the restaurant boasts of its exquisite Japanese dishes such as tempura, sashimi, noodle, and many others.
KNOWN FOR: Saang Sa Alat
WHERE TO STAY
There are many different types of accommodations available on Siquijor Island ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following are our top choices for each price range.
1 | Treasure Island Beach Bungalows (Budget)
2 | Infinity Heights Resort (Mid-Range)
3 | Coco Grove Beach Resort (Luxury | Resort)
When doing research online of where to stay for specific destination, we use the following sites to conduct our research:
Book your room with these trusted online booking sites. Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive. We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:
TIP: Coco Grove Beach Resort is the best property to experience this destination.
This chart is your guide to get an idea of how much to budget daily on Siquijor Island. Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.
A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD). For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).
Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night. For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.
Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.
Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD). For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD). For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD). Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.
Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD). A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).
A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person. However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!
There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly.
Public Transportation is cheap. Bus services on the islands are inexpensive. Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).
On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips.
Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap. Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.
To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly. There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option.
Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter.
Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less. You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!
Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).
The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.
Always book your tours and activities when you arrive. Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will. Booking tours online is almost always more expensive.
Typical Costs on Siquijor Island in 2021:
- Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
- Budget Hotel: 700 PHP ($14 USD) night
- Mid-Range Hotel: 1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
- Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
- Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
- Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
- 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
- Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
- Tricycle Ride: 20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
- Public Ferry Ride: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) ride
The following is some of our best advice on traveling to this destination. This is your guide on what you need to know BEFORE you go to Siquijor Island!
Tips & Hacks
These Top 10 Tips can help guide you when visiting Siquijor Island in the Philippines:
- Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
- Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
- Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
- Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
- Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
- Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
- It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
- Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
- Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
- Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.
For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.
The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on Siquijor Island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Siquijor Island, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.
Consult your hotel, resort front desk, or tour guide as they are more likely to give you reliable information about Siquijor Island than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.
There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines.
The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to.
The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
- Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
- Get Plenty of Rest
- Allow Your Body Time to Adjust
- Keep Active
- Sanitize Often
- Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
- Take Your Vitamins
- Practice Safe Sex
- Be Prepared Should You Get Sick
You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.
While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province. So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.
Recommended Travel Apps
Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling. Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- Klook (attractions & activities )
Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.
For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below. Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.
Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options.
We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.
The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list. This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing. To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list. Click the link below to download it for FREE now.
Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.
Things to Remember
There are some things you need to keep in mind to guide you from doing prohibited or illegal activities on Siquijor Island or anywhere in the Philippines.
There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas. Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.
The minimum legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores. The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold. Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit. Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.
Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana. It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children. The penalties are severe … up to and including death.
Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated. Most locals consider it offensive. There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.
Foreigners & Expats
If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly. Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
Don’t Forget …
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