Historically famous for its healers and spirits, the real magic of Siquijor is in the water, which is at least five shades of blue that you've never seen outside a Crayola box. If you're expecting tons of attractions, this isn't the place for you. But if you want a laid back isle with some local flavor, then hop on a ferry and head over to Siquijor. After all, a place pronounced "sicky-whore" is sure to deliver some memories, right?
See and Do
While the local tourism board boasts of the wealth of Siquijor's attractions, for us, the only must-see and do was relaxing on one of the many beautiful beaches. Staying in Sandugan put a beach, and a thriving coral reef, right outside our door, so most of our days were spent lazing on the hammocks above the water, swimming, snorkeling.
We did rent a motorbike for a day to do the obligatory "island tour," but we both felt that nothing we saw blew our minds. Our favorite stop was at Salagdoong Beach Resort, which boasted water of several shades of blue, and two super tall platforms from which to take the plunge. It was great fun, though I was sore as hell the next day from the impact!
Other interesting places were the old church and convent, and the huge balete tree that doubled as a natural fish spa. We heard mixed reviews of the waterfalls and mangrove resorts, so we skipped both of them in lieu of more beach time in our villa.
So to go or not to go? If you're expecting to SEE a ton (and some people are, as the brochures are quite convincing), then skip Siquijor and head to another island. But if all you want to do is relax and swim, then Siquijor is a quick trip from Dumaguete, with great beaches and relatively cheap accommodations.
That said, our sunsets sucked. Obviously the sun witches took the week off.
Getting into Siquijor at 10pm didn't leave us much opportunity to scope out guesthouses. Taking friends' recommendations, we headed to Islander's Paradise in Sandugan. We had emailed ahead of time to let them know we may be arriving late, but by the time we got there at 10:30pm, everything was dark and closed. It took about 30 minutes to find someone to show us a room.
Unfortunately, the room sucked. It was musty, there was a spider in the fridge, and literally no water coming out of the shower—not what you want after traveling for almost 16 hours. They also tried to charge us 850P, which we laughed at. We ended up paying 600P and leaving the next morning to get next door to Casa de la Playa.
Since our only goal on Siquijor was relaxing, we splurged a bit on our room and upgraded ourselves to Villa Romantica. We had a huge balcony with an oceanview, and the room itself was well-appointed with good AC. The fridge proved handy for storing fruit, snacks, beer, and takeout.
Eat and Drink
The problem with all beach resorts, even if they're "budget," is that the food isn't. Eating three meals daily at Casa de la Playa would have broken the bank, so we rented a motorbike and headed to Larena, the closest town, to stock up on food and drinks.
Without a stove, we were limited to food that didn't need cooking, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, or take out. Lucky for us, Larena had several local eateries, so we bought meat dishes for Rob and veggie dishes for me (around $3 combined) and brought them home to enjoy with the sunset.
If you can swing it with your packs, your best bet is to rent a motorbike at the ferry terminal in Siquijor, where you can negotiate the price down to 200P/day. Not only does this give you maximum flexibility while on the island, but two days pay for themselves because you save the tricycle fare to your guesthouse.
If you get in too late or have bags that are too heavy, you'll have to take a tricycle to your guesthouse. Don't pay more than 200P for the guesthouses in Sandugan. Staying by San Jose should cut your fare to around 100P. Motorbike rental at your guesthouse will run 300P-400P/day.
We headed to Dumaguete from Siquijor, which was a quick ferry trip costing us 200P each. There are also frequent departures to Cebu. In hindsight, we should have taken the latter option, as Negros was a huge disappointment.
Interested in seeing the beautiful beaches of Siquijor without paying for a plane ticket? Jump into our Siquijor photo tour.
If you have any tips for Siquijor on a budget, please leave a comment!