THE MYSTIQUE OF SIQUIJOR

The Mystique of Siquijor


The beautiful beaches and trusting natives of a province known for witchcraft and sorcery has this traveler under its spell.

By Abet Lagula
October 24, 2010


Photographer Abet Lagula discovers the charms of Siquijor by accident—or perhaps by design—when he is stranded on the island.

St_Francis.Siquijor.jpgI can't resist the charm of Siquijor. In terms of tourism, the province is underrated. Sure, it became infamous among Pinoys for witchcraft and sorcery, but if the helpful, sincere, and trustworthy people I met were aswangs, I would pack my bags in a huff and relocate there to prove everyone wrong.

We were supposed to stay in Siquijor for just a day and catch the last trip going back to Dumaguete which was to leave the port at 4:30PM. We arrived at the port by 4PM, and the ticketing officer told us the ferry hadn't arrived yet. We took a late lunch, coming back 20 minutes later, only to find that—lo and behold—we had been left behind by the boat.

We had left our stuff in Dumaguete. My phone's battery was already dying, and I only had a hundred pesos in my wallet. We were forced to spend the night somewhere else. The nearest—and only—ATM machine on the island was 30 minutes away. We needed to get a ride. A stranger whom we met at the port offered to help us find a cheap place to stay. He then offered to rent us his bike for just 200 pesos overnight. He didn't get our names, nor did he look at our licenses. We couldn't pay him since we still needed to withdraw money from our accounts. You know what he did? He just left the bike on the side of the road. He told us to just return the bike the next day, along with the fee for the rent.

It is no wonder that foreigners love to stay here. We visited a resort where one of our friends was staying, and were amazed that some foreigners who were spending time drinking beer at the bar weren't tourists, but were residents of Siquijor, and had been for years now. They came, they saw, they never wanted to leave. I felt the same way too. For years, I've been dreaming of getting out of the city and settling down elsewhere. This is one of the places I would consider. Siquijor's mystique just got me.

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