My Austrian friend Ernst Leuthner and his Filipina wife Erma went to Siquijor Island for a brief vacation and invited me to join them.
Siquijor Island has a reputation as a spooky place, full of witches and magicians. We found it to be friendly and beautiful. The island is about 30 by 20 km., with a population of 80,000.
Erma & Ernst, just off the boat.
Shortly after arrival we found our nirvana at Islander's Paradise Beach & Restaurant. It has a white sand beach with snorkeling offshore & great sunset views.
My cabin at Islander's Paradise.
Next afternoon we rented motorbikes to tour the island.
We rode up into the central mountains, looking for healers called mangkukulam.
We didn't find any healers, but I found a wise old pig.
On the way home, I bought a big tuna at the market for dinner.
Next day we rented bikes again and drove the 72 km. coastal road around the island. First stop was Salag-Doog Beach. Great snorkeling.
Mandatory photo stop to watch a farmer plowing a rice-field with his carabao.
Fishermen resting in their hammocks, awaiting nighttime to go fishing.
Erma and Ernst at Paliton Beach.
Next day I visited the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary near the town of Enrique Villanueva. The sanctuary was established along with several others on Siquijor in 1984, to protect the fragile coral reefs against dynamite, cyanide and cholorine fishing methods as well as plain old overfishing. When outside funding was stopped, the Tulapos Sanctuary was the only one to survive, thanks to the realization by local fishermen that their livelihoods were being protected. Here is Ruby Rose Alkala, wife of the barangay captain who looks after the sanctuary. She invited me to tour the sanctuary and informed me that the coral has started to re-grow and fish stocks have risen sharply since creation of the refuge in 1984.
Several treehouses have been built in the mangroves bordering the sanctuary, to keep watch for pirate fishing and to provide guest lodging.
Path through the mangroves to a treehouse.
Views from up high.
Young mangrove plants.
That afternoon we boarded the Ocean Jet back to Cebu City. I'll be back to Siquijor for sure...mo balik ko!
Budget for 5-day trip to Siquijor Island (one person)
|Activity||Philippine pesos||US dollars|
|Ocean Jet boat Cebu to Siquijor||P480 One way, P960 roundtrip||$17|
|Cabin rental at Islander's Paradise||300 x 4 nites = 1200||$21|
|Breakfast at Islander's Paradise||70 x 4 = 280||$5|
|Lunches (on the road)||50 x 4 = 200||$3.60|
|Dinner at Islander's Paradise||120 x 3 = 360||$6.40|
|Motorbike rental||150 1/2 day, 300 full day = 450||$8|
|1/2 liter of gin||40||$.71|
|Staff gratuity (well-deserved)||200||$3.60|
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