Our Siquijor Sojourn

Our Siquijor Sojourn

29/03/2013 Off By Bryan Ocampo

Siquijor Sunset

“Let’s go to Siquijor!”

“OK ka lang? Nakakatakot daw dun! May mga mangkukulam. ‘Di mo ba napanood ‘yung episode ng Magandang Gabi Bayan!?” (Rough translation: Are you crazy? That place is creepy! It has witches! Haven’t you seen the episode on Magandang Gabi Bayan (a local TV show)!?”)

That’s how I remember the conversation between the wife and I. I was the one who said that bit about the local TV show and I confess that I’ve been guilty of spreading stories about Siquijor, a place I haven’t even visited.

What do I know? Who’s my source? I just heard it from someone and that “someone” is reliable! More reliable than those who live or have been to this so-called enchanted island.

After years of being more aware (reading is the key, folks!), I was all set to go to Siquijor, a small island east of southern Negros. There are no direct flights so my wife booked a flight to Dumaguete. It’s an hour from Manila and then we rode a ferry for another hour to reach Siquijor.

We stayed in Coco Grove Beach Resort for four days. We’ve been planning this holiday since February. It was a much needed break from work. This vacation meant a lot to us. It’s to celebrate last year’s wedding anniversary, Christmas, New Year and both of our birthdays this year. I’ve been counting the days leading to this trip and I’m writing this post because it was just great, it was worth it.

* * *

Coco Grove Beach Resort has good amenities. The rooms are clean, they have shower heaters and flat screen TVs, the same model as ours back home! My wife picked a pretty good room, which was the beachside … because it’s near the beach. Hihihihi :-)

Inside Beachside II. It can accommodate four people.

Inside Beachside II. There’s a double bed on the ground floor and two separate beds on the second floor. There were occasional brownouts but Coco Grove has an electric generator.

Less than a minute from our doorstep. Scary.

Less than a minute from our doorstep. It’s white sand but just be careful when you’re out for a swim. There are spiky sea urchins and jellyfish. I later on found out that the jellyfish is a local delicacy. It tastes like mussels.

We didn’t do much on our first day in Siquijor. We spent the afternoon in the pool, took a lot of sunset photos and then had dinner at the Sunset Restaurant. Most of the guests in Coco Grove Resort are Westerners. There were a bunch of Germans, Aussies and Americans. Aimee and I felt like the minority during dinner.

One of the highlights of that day was the massage! We had a good night sleep because of that.

* * *

Aimee booked a guided tour around the island and we were lucky to get Joam for this trip (kudos to Pinoy Adventurista on this one!). Our tour started at 8:00 in the morning of the next day. Joam briefed us about the places we’ll visit: Lazi, Maria, Salagdoong, Larena, Siquijor town, Paliton and San Juan.

Before heading to the town of Lazi, we started with a visit to the huge balete tree along the way.

Bryan and the Balete Tree.

The balete tree’s said to be 400 years old. There’s water running under the tree and there are tiny fishes ready to nibble on your dead skin.

Wooden floors. San Isidro Parish Church in Lazi, Siquijor. Scary.

Inside the San Isidro Parish Church in Lazi, Siquijor. It was my first time to see an old church with wooden floors. These are polished every week in preparation for mass.

We had to stop by a public market to buy a pair of swimming shorts because I wasn’t expecting to get wet. I thought that it’s just a sightseeing tour! I had to make do with the tight yellow green shorts.

The waters of Cambugahay falls. Had a refreshing swim here in my sexy shorts. Scary.

The waters of Cambugahay Falls in Lazi, Siquijor. Had a refreshing swim here in my sexy shorts. Scary.

Santa Maria Church in Maria, Siquijor. Check out Santa Rita's statue inside. Scary.

Santa Maria Church in Maria, Siquijor. Check out the crazy eyes of Santa Rita’s statue inside. Scary.

The Jump. Never doing this again. Scary.

The Jump in Salagdoong, Siquijor. Never doing this again. Scary.

Saint Francis of Assisi Church in Siquijor, Siquijor. It's closed that day. Scary.

Saint Francis of Assisi Church in Siquijor, Siquijor. It’s closed that day. Scary.

A swim at Paliton beach. Yes, it's scary!

A swim at Paliton Beach in San Juan, Siquijor. The tides were too low, the sand’s white and the water’s too clear, it’s scary!

Even the coconut trees have that sinister look! Scary.

Even the coconut trees have that sinister look! Scary. Don’t go to Siquijor!

San Juan de Capilay Spring Park in San Juan, Siquijor. The water flows from the mountain. I didn't swim because it looks dark and scary.

San Juan de Capilay Spring Park in San Juan, Siquijor. The water flows from the mountain. I didn’t swim because it looks dark. And scary.

A photo with Siquijor's tour guide, Joam.

A photo with Siquijor’s tour guide Joam. A tour with him was like having a good friend showing you around his place and making sure that you are safe. He really looked after us. I love his story about a guest who spent thousands of pesos on mambabarang.

The tour finished at around 5:00 in the afternoon. We had  sunset cocktails and dinner at U.Story Bar and Restaurant, which was four kilometers from the resort so we hired a tricycle for a P250 roundtrip ride.

Sunset at U.Story's restaurant.

Sunset at U.Story’s restaurant to end a very good day. Scary? Nope. Not at all.

Aimee and her new friend. I want to have a pet dog someday.

Aimee and her new friend. I want to have a pet dog someday.

Joam mentioned that the island has rotating brownout schedules and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We had candlelight dinner. The moon was beautiful and shining so bright that night. We didn’t mind at all as we walked back to our tricycle. We were looking forward to next day’s activity, a swim with the whale sharks! :-) It deserves a separate post.

 

Tilaok

But last night in black and white
A dream of lovers’ eyes
A song on an old phonograph
A moving photograph of
U & I