For most Filipinos, Siquijor is famous for stories of magic potions, sorcerers and witchcraft. One of my friends is afraid of visiting this province because of these stories. I guess this is the same reason why not too many Filipinos explore this beautiful island. When I was there last January, the majority of the tourists are foreigners. In the hostel that I stayed at, I was the only Filipino guest. I’m glad I visited this island. It has amazing sunsets, beautiful waterfalls, white sand beaches with crystal clear waters and there’s something about the place that makes you want to stay there forever. Here’s a solo traveler’s guide to Siquijor to help you plan your trip to the island.
Map of Visayas (Screenshot of the map from Google Maps. Map data ©2019 Google)
Located in the Central Visayas Region in the Philippines, Siquijor is the third smallest province in the country. The province can be explored in just one day. It is a small island midway between Visayas and Mindanao Islands. It is bounded on the north by the island of Cebu, Bohol to the northwest, Negros Island to the west, Camiguin to the east and mainland Mindanao to the south. Facing its northern shores is Bohol Strait while at the southeast shores is the Mindanao Sea.
Best Months to Visit Siquijor
Siquijor has a tropical climate. Rainfall is significant in most months of the year. Its rainy season is from May to December with November being the wettest month. On average, the warmest month is April and the coolest month is September. February is the driest month. For me, the best time to go to Siquijor is right after the rainy season, January, because it won’t be too hot, not much rain and everything is green.
How To Get There
Siquijor doesn’t have its own airport. People who want to go to Siquijor normally take a flight from Manila to Dumaguete in Negros Oriental then take a ferry to Siquijor. Tagbilaran in Bohol could also be an option as there is a ferry to Larena, Siquijor from Tagbilaran. If you are in another country and would like to avoid Manila, you can fly to Cebu and either ride a bus to Dumaguete and ferry to Siquijor or take a ferry to Siquijor via Tagbilaran. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (PAL) have daily flights to Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, and Cebu.
From Manila to Siquijor via Dumaguete
- From Manila, fly to Dumaguete via Cebu Pacific or PAL. Then from the airport, walk to the highway and hail a tricycle. Ask to be dropped off at Dumaguete Sea Port. (You will save Php 50 (~US$ 1) if you get the tricycle outside the airport. Tricycles inside charge Php 150 (~US$ 3) while those outside charge Php 100 (~US$ 2). The highway is just a 2-minute walk.) At the port, buy a ticket and board a ferry to Siquijor. There are different shipping lines bound for Siquijor. Ocean Jet is more expensive than the others but the tricycle driver recommended it and said it is safer (and faster). In case you are taking Ocean Jet too, their ticketing office is outside the port about 2-3 minutes walk. Fare is Php 250 (~US$ 5) for the Tourist Class/Open Air and Php 380 (~US$ 7.60) for the Business Class. Their schedule for Dumaguete to Siquijor is as follows: 7:20, 9:40, 12:20, 14:40 and 17:00.
Note: The island has two main seaports: one in Siquijor (the town) and the other in Larena. Choose the one nearest your resort or hotel/hostel.
From Cebu to Siquijor via Dumaguete
Make your way to Cebu South Bus Terminal. Once you are at the bus terminal, look for aisle C11 and look for the Dumaguete-bound buses. (Check out this post for the details of traveling by bus from Cebu to Dumaguete). When you get to Dumaguete, just follow the procedure above on how to get to Siquijor from Dumaguete.
From Tagbilaran to Siquijor
- You can easily travel from Tagbilaran, Bohol to Larena, Siquijor and vice versa by ferry. You can book your ticket here. Fare is Php 850 (US$ 17). The ferry schedule is:
- Tagbilaran, Bohol to Larena, Siquijor: 10:20 am, daily
- Larena, Siquijor to Tagbilaran, Bohol: 12:30 pm, daily
Mobile Signal and Internet Connection in Siquijor
Mobile signal is available in Siquijor but there are spots that have very weak or no signal at all. There is mobile data but in most areas the signal is intermittent. Most hotels and hostels have a free wifi connection.
Getting Around Siquijor
There are several ways of getting around Siquijor. Public transport is not a good option as there are very limited trips available.
- Rent a motorbike- If you are traveling alone, and you know how to drive a motorbike, renting one is the cheapest option. There are motorbikes for rent available in shops near the port. Some hostels have motorbike for rent too and costs around Php 350.00 (~USD 7) per day.
- Charter a tricycle- If like me you don’t know how to drive a motorbike and you are alone, you can hire one of the tricycle drivers waiting outside the port. Tricycle fare from Siquijor port to San Juan (where most hostels are located) costs around Php 250 (~USD 5). The tricycle drivers offer tours and costs Php 1000 (~USD 20).
- Hire a multicab or van- If you have a big group, hiring a van or multicab is the best option. It costs around Php 3000 (~60 USD). You can hire van/multicab near the port.
Where to Stay
Siquijor has a range of options for accommodations depending on your budget. From luxury hotels to backpacker’s hostel, Siquijor got you covered. You could do glamping on the island too.
I stayed at Cliff Garden Hostel during my trip. It is not located in the central part of San Juan, where most hotels/hostels and restaurants are located. What I love there though is hanging out by the cliff every afternoon, watching the sunset. And at night when it is dark, you can see fireflies. A dorm bed costs Php 350 (~US$ 7) a night.
A popular choice among tourists is Coco Grove Resort. It is a huge property along San Juan Beach and has a wide array of amenities such as swimming pool, restaurant and pool bars.
If you want to do glamping, check out Glamping Siquijor by the Beach.
Where to Eat in Siquijor
For my first two nights in Siquijor, I only ate at the restaurant of Cliff Garden Hostel because it was a bit far from the area where most restaurants are located. I don’t know how to drive a motorbike and there aren’t tricycles around the area. But on my third day, I met a Taiwanese girl at the hostel and she has a motorbike which she rented at Larena. Because of her, I was able to try Baha Bar and Monkey Business. These are the ones I have tried:
One of the most popular restaurants in Siquijor is the Baha Bar. It has a relaxed vibe and good food. There is also a live band playing. I have to warn you though that it can get very busy so even giving out your order takes time (because there aren’t waiters in sight). It also takes a long time for the food to arrive and the food is a bit pricey.
Triad Coffee Shop
Located at the top of a mountain in Larena, this coffee shop has an amazing view of the coastline. And their food is not that bad either.
U.Story is a resort with a restaurant located near the hostel where I stayed at, Cliff Garden Hostel. It has a zen atmosphere and the decoration is Balinese-inspired. The food is really good and reasonably priced. You can eat in the garden where you have a really nice view of the sea. The resort also has a lounge area that leads down to a stone staircase that runs into a swimming cove. Even though we only ate in the restaurant and are not booked in the guesthouse, we were allowed to hang out by the lounge area and swim at the cove.
A must visit when you are in Siquijor. A nice place with really good food and drinks. The restaurant has a very chill vibe. They offer Asian and European cuisine.
Siquijor Tour Packages
There are two types of tour packages in Siquijor, the Mountain Tour and the Island Tour. If you have very limited time, I recommend skipping the Mountain Tour.
- Mountain Tour– Mt. Bandilaan, Butterfly Sanctuary, Cantabon Cave, Triad View Park, Guiwanon Spring Park, and Lugnason Falls
- Island Tour– St. Francis de Assisi Church, Old Enchanted Balete Tree, Lazi Church and Convent, Cambugahay Falls, Salagdoong Beach Resort, Paliton Beach and Capilay Spring Park
Siquijor Tourist Attractions
One of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. It is a three-tiered waterfall with natural pools and clear waters that can be reached by going down the one hundred thirty-five stone steps. You can swing by the rope and jump over the water. There is no entrance fee to the waterfalls but there is a parking fee of Php 20 (~US$ 0.4).
Another waterfall in Siquijor, this is a great spot for adrenaline junkies. They can climb the side of the falls and cliff jump from the top.
This beach is claimed to be the island’s most beautiful beach and locals dubbed it as little Boracay of Siquijor. It has powdery white sand, clear turquoise waters, and tall coconut trees. I love this beach so much that when my guide noticed that I wasn’t enjoying the Mountain Tour he brought me to the beach again.
St. Francis de Assisi Church
One of the old famous churches in Siquijor, it is a well-known landmark as it is just a hop away from the local port. In front of the church is a Welcome to Siquijor signage.
Old Enchanted Balete Tree
A 400+-year-old Balete Tree, it is considered as the oldest and the biggest in the island of Siquijor. A natural spring flows underneath the tree to a man-made pool where fishes swim around. You can have a fish spa at the man-made pool. Entrance fee is Php 20 (~US$ 0.4).
Hapitanan Cafe and Restaurant
Many tourists drop by this place after visiting the Old Enchanted Balete Tree to do the broomstick challenge. There is no entrance fee here, but you can leave tip in the tip box.
Lazi Church and Convent
The San Isidro Labrador Church, also known as Lazi Church, is one of the oldest churches in the island. Known for its huge convent located across the church, it was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.
Salagdoong Beach Resort
One of the most popular beaches in Siquijor, it has fine white sand and crystal blue waters. Another spot for adrenaline junkies, it has a 20 ft and 30 ft platform where one can go cliff jumping. Entrance + parking fee to the resort is Php 55 (~US$ 1.1).
Capilay Spring Park
Situated in the middle of the town park, it is a natural cold spring pool where locals love to hang out.
It is the highest point of Siquijor Island at 632 meters above sea level. There is a viewing platform at the top and it takes about 20 minutes to climb the stairs from the parking area. Don’t expect too much though as high trees cover most of the view of the island.
Located close to the highest point on the island, this is a place where you can observe and get close to the butterflies. Entrance fee is Php 100 (~US$ 2).
It is the most famous cave on the island. You need to hire a guide to explore the cave. Inside the cave runs a subterranean stream.
Guiwanon Spring Park
This is mainly a mangrove forest with elevated pathways made of wooden planks going to the open sea. At the end of the pathway looks like a bar/coffee shop. The bar is a good place to do sightseeing. There are also few wooden houses on some trees that are for rent if you want to stay overnight.
Additional Tips When Visiting Siquijor
- Don’t forget to bring sunblock. You’ll be staying under the sun for very long periods of time so better protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Insect repellent may come in handy too.
- Philippine peso is the currency used on the island. Make sure you exchange your money to the local currency in big cities before going there to avoid having the problem of looking for money changers.
- There are banks on the island where you can withdraw money but I suggest bringing enough cash before going just in case the machines are offline.
- The island is very safe even for solo female travelers but as in any place, don’t leave your things especially your valuables unattended. There has been a reported theft incident in Cambugahay Falls.
- If you are in Dumaguete and want to do a day trip to Siquijor, you can book a tour with Klook. You will be picked up from your accommodation in Dumaguete. Click on the link to find out more about the tour.
Hope you find this guide useful. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or write it down in the comments section. Happy travels!