They say that you can travel the whole mystical island of Siquijor in about half a day – on a motorbike. Yes, it’s true!
If you want to hit all the major attractions though, it is best to save a full day for your personalized tour. I say personalized because you are most likely with kids (reading this blog!). Traveling with kids obviously take up much more time. You also cannot be renting a bike as most tourists do. Although this is the Philippines so I am sure you can get away with it (eep, no helmets!) but I wouldn’t recommend that! Safety first especially when traveling with young children!
We went to hire a personal driver and jeep from a contact in Coco Grove Beach Resort. Tip: Ask for Franklin, he is the husband of one of the employees at Coco Grove’s restaurant. He charges 1,500php for a full-day tour in his open-air jeep which can comfortable ride 9-12 pax depending on your size. He also owns a trike so if you are traveling with a much smaller group 3-4pax, you can choose this cheaper option.
The Filipinos love kids so if you are traveling solo with children, it is easy to find help with caring for them. While I took photos, Franklin who is a father himself, held my daughter at the opening of the cave entrance.
* Cantabon Cave While not for small kids, other parties in your group may want a thrilling adventure of spelunking 800 meters down the Cantabon Cave. Go to the nearby barangay hall and pay for the tour guide fees which includes rental of helmet and flashlight. I suggest proper shoes for this as your flip flops might break!
Those left behind chose to picnic on the sprawling grass listening to birds and crickets nearby. You must remember to always bring insect repellent, water and snacks for instances like this! Good thing my friend Adi had her Spotify album on her Iphone and speakers ready for this!
Will you look at that view? That is just outside the cave entrance. So very peaceful out there! We waited about 2 hours. So, yes, we eventually got hungry and thirsty…
….So, get your local Siquijor tour guide or driver to find you a supply of coconuts. While the rest of the group were spelunking inside the Cantabon Cave or waiting at the picnic, me and my little one decided it was time for refreshments.
We drove to the nearby barangay or town hall and asked some local boys to climb a coconut tree for us. I paid only 200php for all of these. What a steal considering that in the resort you will have to pay 95php per coconut!
Continue along the path around Siquijor Island. Imagine the road with absolutely no one else but you and your vehicle (jeep or motorbike). Here’s the stunning view from the open jeep.
I had my baby in my arms who was then napping so I didn’t get to go down the jeep at this point but took the opportunity to shoot my friends 🙂
- Salagdoong Beach You will need to an pay entrance fee of P25 per person. There is a restaurant there if you decide to stop for lunch but they don’t serve anything fancy. If you are a vegetarian, the only edible thing on the menu for you would be the pancit or noodles. Request to have it cooked without MSG and any meat bits (which they normally put!).
- Cambugahay Falls Now this was physically challenging to get to! You will be going down 135 stones steps, some of them very steep and slippery. I was lucky to have brought a baby sling for my 2-year old daughter for safety measures but if you are with small children, you can also choose to have one of the locals carry your child down for you, as they offered me this service which I declined because I wanted the work out. Just pay them fairly for their labor. Prepare to be greeted by many tourists doing the same thing as you. So, if I may suggest, walk north away from the crowd.
You will eventually find a quieter spot for you and your children. Remember that it is slippery so, wear aqua shoes with good grip! We didn’t come with shoes so we were barefoot which is OK too but we had to walk real slow.
If you’ve got older kids, encourage them to jump from the waterfalls to gain confidence. Please do this though at your own risk!
Before leaving, make sure you try swinging on the rope at the main Cabugahay Falls (First one when you descend from the 135 steps!)
- San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent Also known as the Lazi church, the San Isidro Labrador Church is a candidate of the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site Seal. Built with sea stones and wood back in 1884 by Filipino artisans, it is a sight to behold. I wish I had the energy to roam around but by this time, I was completely exhausted caring for my daughter so we stayed put in the jeep while waiting for others to tour the church and convent.
Right across from the church is the beautiful convent. I totally regret not going down to check it out! I am sure it looks just as amazing inside. There will definitely be a next time, then!
- Enchanted Balete Tree This 400-year old Balete tree is believed to be enchanted. They say that locals perform rituals here and also conduct some sorcery.
True or not, you will find a sari-sari store just in front (annoyingly, it is blocking the beautiful view of the Balete tree) selling herbal oils and magical potions.
There is also a fish spa at the base of the Balete tree. With no entrance fees, you may choose to donate instead.
- You can also opt to visit the Butterfly Farm which we skipped because we didn’t have enough time.
There you have it, Siquijor in a day! If we missed out on any special spots, please do let me know so I can add this to my future itinerary when we return with my family.