Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Siquijor

Our last stop in the Visayas (after much deliberation) was Siquijor an island famous for witch craft and a place not many Filipinos date to venture. As my family is from the Visayas when I told my Aunt we had visited this island she was pretty shocked, I haven't told my Mum yet but I am interested to see what she says...(Hi mum). There are a lot if rumors about the island, the most famous involving creatures called Manananggal which have wings and can detach the top part of their body and feast on blood.. I am happy to say we never encountered these creatures or any of the spells or curses we had heard so much about. Instead we found Siquijor to be beautiful unspoilt beach paradise with incredibly friendly locals. 

Our first view of Siquijor  from the ferry as we arrived to the port

Look closely at this photo, this man was on our ferry, those feathers sticking out of the bags are live cocks who spent the whole journey crowing

We stayed in the San Juan area where most of the resorts are located, at the well known JJ's backpackers. The place is small with a good cafe and beautiful beach. The vibe was also very friendly and sociable with most people coming from the backpacking scene and everyone very much up for hanging out. 


Hammocks and beach at JJ's

On the day of our arrival we ended up heading out with the others in the hostel to Ceaser's place, which appeared to be the one and only Friday night destination on the island. Scooters and motorbikes seemed to be arriving from miles around. It was definitely the place to be. Everyone was really friendly and wanted to chat, we were given shots of rum during our walk to the bar and offered lifts home from everyone. Even the guys whose table we accidentally stole were nice (yes you had to buy tables off a women who had a pile stacked up - in the end The Photographer got one for 50 pesos, his first ever table in a club). I just wish I had taken my camera!! 

The next day, a little tired the photographer and I set off to see a few things around the island; The 'enchanted' old tree, Cambugahay falls and Kagusuan beach. This was a nice way to spend an afternoon, especially the falls where lots of locals were hanging out and there was a rope swing and rocks to jump off. 


Waterfalls, can you spot the man about to swing out?


At the Old tree

View of the streets from our tricycle

The upper part of the falls, most popular fro swimming and diving from the rocks

Our last day in Siquijor was spent relaxing on the lovely beach at JJs reading our books, drinking mango shakes during the day, hanging out with other backpackers and drinking rum at sunset. This also happened to be my birthday, but I didn't let on as I am not a big birthday person!! 

Birthday beach photoshoot


Where I spent most of my birthday

The next day we had to make our way back to Cebu city  for our flight to Manila. This turned out to be quite expensive by direct ferry. Instead we went back to Damugete, got a tricycle down the road to Sibulan port, caught a short boat across to cebu island and then a taxi up to cebu city, saving about 800 pesos each!! 


Birthday kiss at the Henry hotel

Lobby of the Henry Hotel

For our last night in the Visayas we were staying in the fancy and quirky Henry Hotel (as a bit of a birthday treat). The hotel was beautiful, rooms were huge with big comfy beds and the breakfast buffet (one of my favorite things about hotels) was tasty. I really loved the decor of the hotel, it felt much more interesting and stylish than the regular sterile hotel vibe!! Definitely a good way to end this section of our trip.


Summary

Highlights: Relaxing on the beach at JJ's Backpackers, drinking rum with sugar and lime on the beach at sunset and partying with the locals at Ceaser's place

Top tips: At the waterfalls some parts can be quite shallow, be careful where you jump, watch the locals and if unsure ask!! If you are in Siquijor on a Friday night head to Ceasers place - late opening Fridays only, live band and lots of dancing. 

Getting around: If you are going to attempt motorbikes or scooters this is the place to do it, the roads are mostly good quality and they are quiet (not many cars). We still ended up getting a tricycle though (I didn't want to break myself on my birthday).

Eat: In Cebu if you are stopping over in Cebu City, head to Zubuchons for some pork lechon, its delicious local roasted pork packaged nicely in a tourist friendly restaurant. (Also featured in one of Anthony Bourdains programmes I think).

Minutes spent lost: 0, but we thought we were on the was to Ceaser's as the walk from JJ's is a little bit long. 

Epiphany's: 0 (it was my birthday and everything - you would have thought I would have had some inspiration).


Contemplating life in Siquijor (hahaha - I was actually just messing around on the sand bar)

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