Monday, September 17, 2018

Enchanted Siquijor : A Mystical Island in the Philippines

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I have always been interested with the unknown --- the paranormal, the supernatural, the mystic. I love listening to ghost stories, watching horror films, and exploring so-called-haunted places. So, when it comes to travelling, what would be the best destination for me than Siquijor.

Siquijor  | BigStock Photo

Siquijor is a mystical island in the Philippines known for its numerous supernatural tales. This island in the Philippines is famous for being a home to witches, diabolic beings, environmental spirits, and the likes. Thinking about all these supernatural things made my heart leap as I rode the ferry from Dumaguete to this mystical island. [Read: Dumaguete to Siquijor Ferry Schedule]

I arrived at the Port of Siquijor just when the sun is about to rise. Upon disembarking, I already noticed that their port is unlike any other ports in the country. Its structure is pretty much simple but it is embellished by the pristine, blue waters of the sea. Had I not just stepped off the ferry I would mistake the place as one of its beautiful beaches.

In its entirety, the province of Siquijor is pretty much a laid-back place. There is nothing much to do in the area but bask in its beauty and be enchanted by its sceneries. The island is basically undeveloped – this made Siquijor so precious. Such kind of place is indeed rare to find these days. As I explore around the island, I noticed that the houses and other structures are made of cement, yet they still look rustic. The island surely showcases contrast between beauty and mystery --- the old, delved cemeteries right beside the streets and the blue seas in the background is certainly captivating.

Lazi Church and Convent

For someone interested in the paranormal, of course I will never miss the old enchanted Balete Tree. The tree is not something new to the visitors of the province. In fact, it is one of their tourist destinations. The 400-year old Balete tree has spiritual background and is often used for sacred rituals by the local shamen. The roots and the vines of the old tree that hang so beautifully can convince one that it is definitely something enchanted. 


Of course, the people do not just visit the area to look at the tree. They also visit the place to enjoy the free fish foot spa because just right next to the old Balete tree is a small pool where you can dip your feet and allow the fishes to nibble your feet’s dry skin. 

As I enjoy the free foot spa, I noticed that the place is well kept. It is clean despite the fact that many people come to visit it. This is not however surprising since there are caretakers maintaining the cleanliness in the area. I had a chance to talk to one of them and asked if there is something magical about the tree. The caretaker shared that the tree is believed to be a dwelling of an engkanto (nature spirit), which often appears in a form of a white dog and sleeps on the surface of the pool. I waited for an hour hoping to see this so-called-white dog, but there was none. Too bad. [Read: Cheap Places to Stay in Siquijor]

Siquijor, although is known for scary stories, is also a home to many beautiful beaches. I love the paranormal but I also love the beach. I asked the locals for the best beach in the province and they recommended Salagdoong beach. They were telling the truth. My heart stopped for a moment when I arrived at the beach. Its unspoiled sandy beach and crystal blue waters will definitely take your breath away. 


While enjoying the beach, I saw people jumping off the cliff. Adrenaline junkies would definitely love to try jumping off Salagdoong beach’s 7-meter and 10-meter high cliffs. You just got to make that jump and allow yourself to fall straight to the clear waters. For those who simply cannot make the jump, there are also water slides built into the rocks that wind around and will still drop you off into the sea. I am not much of an adrenaline junkie, hence I opted to just enjoy swimming on the beach’s warm water. 

I consider myself more of a beach person than someone who loves hiking and climbing mountains and stuff. However, they said that when in Siquijor, Lugnason Falls is something that you should not miss. And I am glad I took time to see the magnificent falls. It is tranquil with crystal clear waters that falls into the turquoise basin at the bottom. Its water pressure is also good enough to make you feel as if you are getting a back massage.
Lugnason Falls | BigStock Photo

I talked to one of the locals and told them that they are fortunate to have such beautiful falls in their province. She thanked me and told me that many years ago the spring that produces the falls’ water has completely dried up. There is no spring, there is no water, and there is no falls. However, one day, a local shaman blessed the spring and it came back to life. The water started to flow again and the falls was reborn. 

Siquijor, with its beautiful sceneries, will definitely capture your heart. Its beauty did not however make me lose interest of the supernatural stuff it has to offer. I interacted with the locals in the area and asked about the mambabarangs (those who practice voodoo and the like). They said that there are some who practice the dark arts but what is really common in the province is faith healing. In fact, they hold Faith Healing Festival during Holy Week. 

According to locals, the most common form of faith healing is the Bolo-bolo. Such healing is done using a wooden tube and a wooden stone in a glass of water. The healer will blow the water using the wooden tube. When dirt comes out of the tube, it also means that the dirt from the body is being removed. This, they believe, would result to healing. They even said that in some cases, insects would come out from the tube and into the water. Whew! That’s creepy.

Siquijor is a small island that can be explored by hiring a tricycle to drive you around, by riding jeepneys, and by renting motorcycles. I prefer to explore the place on my own pace hence I rented a scooter from the simple hotel I was staying in. Since I have my own ride, I get to visit Siquijor’s gorgeous places and stay at the said places for as long as I want. Despite the scary tales that surrounds this wonderful province, Siquijor remains to be safe for both its visitor and residents. 

As I rode around Siquijor, I also searched around for witches and dark magic. However, other than the voodoo dolls and mixture of herbs that serves as potions and are sold as souvenirs, Siquijor remained peaceful, safe, and enchantingly beautiful. I found stunning beaches, quiet neighborhoods, and millions of stars in the night sky. Siquijor indeed made me fall head-over-heels in love but it’s not because of its love potion. I was simply charmed by its simplicity and my heart was captivated by beauty.


About the Author

LUCKY A.M. EBROLE works as a technical writer for an LGU. Her way of coping up with stress is sleeping and travelling. She wants to visit the unexplored places in the Philippines. She also dreams of seeing the beauty of the world.

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