Siquijor

Siquijor

The mystical island is home to white beaches, caves, parks, and churches.
By Kristy Texon

Overview

An island province between Visayas and Mindanao, Siquijor is one of the smallest provinces in the country in terms of both land area and population. Siquijor has a reputation for being a mystical island--it is rich in Pinoy supernatural folklore. Folk healing is also popular in the province. The island's eerie glow--which comes from fireflies in Molave trees--prompted the Spaniards then to call it Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire). The island also offers white beaches, caves, and parks, and can serve as a jumpoff point to the Apo and Balicasag Islands.

History

  • While Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was staying in Bohol, a member of his group, Esteban Rodriguez, led a small party to explore an island nearby. The glowing fireflies in molave trees drew the Spaniards to the island.
  • The island was first named Sikihod after King Kihod (it was said that when the Spaniards asked him the island's name, he replied "Si Kihod," thinking they were asking for his name). Later on, the island's name was changed to Siquijor after the Spaniards had difficulty pronouncing Sikihod.
  • After Father Vicente Garcia arrived in the island in 1794, several parishes were also established in 1877: Larena, Lazi, Maria, and San Juan.
  • Siquijor became part of Negros Oriental from 1854 to 1892, and later on became a sub-province in 1901.
  • During the American occupation, Governor James Fugate was the lieutenant governor of the island for 16 years.
  • Siquijor was occupied by the Japanese in 1942, and Filipino guerillas tried to keep them at bay. Fights between Japanese and Filipino forces and Japanese and American forces lasted until the middle of 1945, when Filipino soldiers liberated Siquijor.
  • In 1971, Siquijor was declared an independent province, and the municipality of Siquijor was named the capital.

Travelers' Attractions

  • The Enchanted Balete Tree, a 400-year-old Banyan tree, is a famous spot for travelers.
  • The unconventional statue of St. Rita of Cascia draws the curious to the Church of Divine Providence in Maria, Siquijor.
  • The Lazi Church or the St. Isidore Church, a National Historical Landmark, is an impressive edifice.
  • White sand beaches like San Juan, Salagdoong, and Cagusuan are perfect for beach bums.
  • The island boasts many caves, the most famous of which is the Cantabon Cave. The cave features a natural pool.
  • A man-made forest in Lazi and Siquijor is Mt. Bandilaan Nature Park, which was part of a previous Reforestation Project.
  • Cambugahay Falls is a famous attraction in Lazi because it is perfect for a refreshing dip.
  • The Capilay Spring Park, which has a natural spring, is a good spot for swimming.

Getting There and Away

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly daily from Manila to Dumaguete, which is the jumpoff point to Siquijor. Travelers can go to Siquijor via ferry from Dumaguete.

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Enchanted Balete Tree

The Enchanted Balete Tree in Siquijor is 400 years old.

Salagdoong Beach

Salagdoong Beach is among Siquijor's picturesque beaches.

Cambugahay Falls

The Cambugahay Falls features several drop levels, making it a picturesque spot for travelers.

Capilay Spring Park

Travelers can take a dip in Capilay Spring Park's natural pool.

Lazi Church

The Lazi Church or the St. Isidore Labrador Church is a National Historical Landmark.
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