The Philippines has numerous beaches and nature attractions, but if you’re looking for somewhere off-the-beaten track, then check out the island of Siquijor.
Siquijor is a favorite day trip destination among locals coming from Dumaguete City. Foreign tourists, meanwhile, love the island’s charm, its quiet and seclusion away from the hustle and bustle. Here you can spend your days lazing in a casual beachfront, exploring the jungles for waterfalls, and learn about the island’s interesting history and culture.
This island isn’t as commercialized as other provinces in the Visayan Region such as Cebu. One of the reasons it receives fewer visitors is its lack of own airport. To get to the island, you need to ride a ferry from the neighboring Dumaguete City.
This island province is a great destination to relax and unwind. Discover the best Siquijor tourist spots including beaches, waterfalls, cold springs, and heritage areas such as the century-old balete tree, Spanish-era churches, and more.
Without further ado, here’s our travel guide to Siquijor and a sample Siquijor itinerary for 2 days.
P.S. Planning a trip to Siquijor? Don’t forget to read our Dumaguete-Siquijor Itinerary.
- About Siquijor
- My solo trip to Siquijor
- How to get to Siquijor
- How to get around
- Tours in Siquijor
- Day trips from Siquijor
- 2 Days Siquijor Itinerary
- Where to eat
- Where to stay in Siquijor
- Siquijor Budget and Rates
- Reminders and Tips
- What to read next:
Siquijor has an interesting history. It’s called the “Mystic Island” since it is said that the locals in Siquijor used to practice magic. There are also folklore stories of aswang (a mythic creature who flies and eats people) and mambabarang (a type of black witch).
Over the years, the island province has transformed its unique history to that of a healing destination, with the Healing Festival held in Holy Week every year. Visitors can still buy potions and voodoo dolls in souvenir shops, or even seek out faith healers and psychic readers, although they are now far and between.
Over the years, Siquijor has slowly been getting into the main tourists’ radar and becoming a favorite especially of foreign backpack travelers. It’s likely that tourist attractions such as Cambugahay Falls and Salagdoong Beach will get more crowded in the future, but if you want to get away from the scene you can always find a hidden waterfall or empty beach coves to visit.
My solo trip to Siquijor
I went on a 3-day solo trip to Siquijor in 2017. As a millennial, I love learning about the folk lore history of towns and the scary stories I used to hear about it as a kid. I also met a famous psychic healer, Anthony Vivero, who claims he had seen actual aswangs on a visit in the province.
I liked visiting the nature attractions in Siquijor, particularly Cambugahay Falls and Tulapos Marine Sanctuary which at that time wasn’t well known yet and where I snorkeled with baby sharks. I remembered being so giddy about seeing them in the wild that afterwards I texted my boyfriend about my experience.
Truth be told, I also had encountered issues on my visit as a solo female traveler. I booked a tricycle tour from the port in Siquijor and my guide made me deeply uncomfortable throughout the tour (such as when he suggested swimming in the falls with me). I also find the lack of public transport stifling. Since I do not have license (or know how to ride a motorcycle to be honest), I was dependent on tricycle rides and it was expensive paying for P300-500 to visit a tricycle from my resort.
In terms of the spiritual aspect of the island province, most of the witchcraft culture is already commercialized. You can find love potions and other items in shopping stalls near Balete Tree, for instance, and it wasn’t clear whether these are the authentic ones they used to make or just souvenir.
It has been years since I traveled here, so I hope that the island province has improved, particularly in terms of safety for solo female travelers like me.
How to get to Siquijor
Siquijor is connected by 2 major ferry routes: Dumaguete and Tagbilaran (Bohol).
This is the easiest way to get to Siquijor. Dumaguete has an airport (Sibulan Airport) and from there you can ride a motorbike or tricycle to the port.
- From Dumaguete Port, ride a ferry to Siquijor. Regular ferry takes 2 hours (P140 per person) / fastcraft takes 1 hour (P210 per person).
- Schedule is from 5:30AM to 6PM. Same schedule applies for the return trip, so you have to be at the port before 6PM for the last trip.
Click here to book ferry tickets from Dumaguete to Siquijor.
There is a ferry that runs from Tagbilaran in Bohol to Dumaguete once a day. Travel time is 1.5 hour.
- Bohol to Siquijor: 10:20AM / Siquijor to Bohol: 12:30PM
Click here to book ferry tickets from Bohol to Siquijor.
From Cebu City, it is also possible to get to Siquijor via Dumaguete. Travel time is 6-7 hours.
- From Cebu City, head to the South Bus Terminal. Ride a Ceres bus to Dumaguete which includes a roro ride. Get off at the last stop (Ceres Bus Terminal) in Dumaguete. Travel time is 4-5 hours, fare is P330 per person.
- From the terminal, ride a tricycle to Dumaguete Port.
- Same instruction as above.
Click here to book ferry tickets from Cebu to Siquijor.
How to get around
Siquijor is an off-beaten destination and public transportation is limited. There are tricycles available, but they are more expensive compared to tricycles in the city.
- Option 1: Rent a motorbike. The cheapest way to get around is by renting a motorbike. Take note that a driver’s license is strictly required.
- Option 2: Book a local tour. You can also book tours from the local tour guides. They are stationed at Siquijor Port, so you can immediately start the tour after arrival. You can also pre-book the tours, especially if you come during summer.
Tours in Siquijor
There are 2 standard tours you can take in Siquijor: Island Tour and Mountain Tour.
For day trippers, the best option is the Island Tour because it covers the main attractions in Siquijor. The Island Tour can be done in half a day, depending on your pace and how many stops you want to make. Each stop takes 20-30 minutes to get to. In my case, it took me almost a whole day since I stayed for a while in Cambugahay Falls and snorkeled at Tulapos Marine Sanctuary.
If you’re planning on exploring your own, you can still follow the routes in the tours.
Here are the Siquijor tourist spots that you can visit during the Island Tour.
- St. Francis of Assisi Church. The oldest church in the island, built in 1774. It is located just outside the Siquijor Port, with a “Welcome to Siquijor” signage. Selfies and Touch-Down posts are mandatory.
- Lazi Church. An 18th-century church, also known as San Isidro Labrador Church. The church has wide ceilings and huge stained-glass windows. A must-visit if you like historic buildlings.
- Capilay Spring Park. A public pool with refreshing water where locals swim and hangout.
- Century-Old Balete Tree. One of the most popular attractions in Siquijor, this balete tree is said to be 400 years old. Beside it is a small pool where you can enjoy a fish spa. There are also stores nearby selling souvenirs and other items such as voodoo dolls and love potion bottles filled with herbs.
- Cambugahay Falls. Cambugahay Falls is definitely one of the best nature attractions in Siquijor. It is a 3-tiered waterfall where you can swim and use a tarzan swing. The water is usually a shade of light blue, except on rainy days when it is more green-ish but still clear for swimming. The trail is established, so hiring a guide is optional.
- Salagdoong Beach. Salagdoong Beach is an Insta-famous spot in Siquijor. It’s located inside a private resort, so you have to pay an entrance fee and rent a cottage for a day trip if you want. It has beach coves and dive boards 20 feet and 35 feet high. Beside Salagdoong Beach, you can find the Salagdoong Forest Reserve. It’s a man-made forest with molave trees.
- Guiwanon Spring Park. A mangrove protection and preservation area. I stayed here for a few minutes and watched some kids swim in the water, but in general it’s not noteworthy. In my opinion, you can skip this entirely.
- Paliton Beach. A laid-back, white-sand beach. It’s said to be the best beachfront in Siquijor. However, Siquijor does not have very good beaches in general if you want to swim and the said can be found about Paliton Beach. It’s also a public beach and, in my visit, I found some trash in the area.
- Hapitanan Cafe. A new tourist spot in Siqujor, where you can have a photo taking a broomstick ride. This is a must-stop especially for the young-at-heart.
- Dumalaay Boulevard. Located in Larena, this boulevard is a nice place to watch the sunset before leaving the island.
The Mountain Tour involves trekking and caving. There are only 2 places to go to and the tour takes around 4 hours, but it can be exhausting.
- Mount Bandilaan. One of the highest points in Siquijor. Trek to the summit takes about 30 minutes. There is a watch tower at the top, surrounded by the mountain forest. There is an established trail so you can trek by yourself.
- Cantabon Cave. This is an almost-kilometer long cave in Barangay Cantabon with gorgeous stalactites and stalagmites.
Other tourist spots in Siquijor
Here are other places you can visited in Siquijor. In standard tours, these aren’t normally included so you have to request for them specifically.
- Lugnason Falls. One of the “hidden” waterfalls in Siquijor, Lugnason Falls is smaller than Cambugahay Falls but it’s perfect for those who prefer a quieter swimming hole.
- Tulapos Marine Sanctuary. This is one of the most enjoyable places I found in Siquijor. Here you can snorkel to see corals and barracudas, turtles and black-tipped reef sharks. There is also a giant clam area. This is where I first saw baby sharks in the wild, so I was overjoyed during our stop here. Hiring a guide is advisable so you’ll know which way to go.
- Tubod Marine Sanctuary. Another great place to snorkel, with a variety of tropical fishes and corals.
There are also beaches in Siquijor you can explore on your own including Minalulan Beach, Kagusuan Beach and Solangon Beach.
Day trips from Siquijor
Some resorts in Siqujor arrange day trips to Apo Island in Dauin. This is a small island where you can spot sea turtles in the wild and snorkel in coral gardens. I had a lot of fun in Apo Island and I highly recommend this experience.
2 Days Siquijor Itinerary
Here’s a sample 2 days Siquijor itinerary for a weekend visit.
|Day 1||9 – 10AM Ferry from Dumaguete to Siquijor|
10AM – 5PM Island tour
– Siquijor Church
– Lazi Church
– Capilay Spring Park
– Balete Tree
– Cambugahay Falls
– Salagdoong Beach
– Guiwanan Spring Park
– Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
– Paliton Beach
– (Optional) Hapitanan Cafe
5 – 5:30PM Sunset viewing in a beach
6PM Check in at accommodation / dinner
|Day 2||7AM – 12NN Mountain tour|
– Mt. Bandilaan
– Cantabon Cave
12NN – 2PM Check out / lunch
2 – 3PM Ferry from Siquijor back to Dumaguete
Where to eat
You can find a number of local restaurants near resorts and homestays, and some in-house dining options in resorts as well. There aren’t a lot of restaurants on the roadside since most of the island comprises mountain forest.
Here are some of the most recommended eats in Siquijor.
- Larena’s Triad Coffee Shop. Decent and reasonably priced food. This coffee shop is located on the mountainside and offers the best view in Siquijor.
- Baha Bar and Dagsa Restobar. Great options for seafood.
- Luca Loko. Excellent food with vegan options such as buddha and poke bowls.
- BBQ grills near Aloha Grill. This is one of the cheapest places to eat in Siquijor. A series of unnamed BBQ grills with the food laid out so you can pick what you want to eat.
You can also visit a bakery to watch how pan de bisaya is made.
Where to stay in Siquijor
There are several mountain and beach resorts in Siquijor and it’s relatively cheap especially if you’re traveling with someone.
Siquijor Budget and Rates
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2020):
|Tours and services||Motorbike rental:|
P300-350 for whole-day use (excluding gas)
Motorbike – P350-500 (solo) / tricycle – P1200 (good up to 3 people) / multicab – P1500-1800 (good up to 15 people)
|Fees||Entrance fees (per person):|
– Cambugahay Falls: P20
– Guiwanon Spring Park: P10
– Salagdoong Beach: P35
Local guide fee (required): P500 (good up to 3 people)
Tulapos Marine Sanctuary: Entrance fee – P50, snorkel rent – P50, fins rent – P100, guide fee is P250
Tubod Marine Sanctuary: Entrance fee – P50, snorkel and fin rent – P150
Siquijor is a budget-friendly destination. If you’re visiting here for a weekend with someone, a budget of P3000+ above would suffice.
Reminders and Tips
Here are some reminders and tips before your travel Siquijor:
- Bring enough cash. There are only few ATMs in the island.
- Bring a reusable container or bag. Not only for sustainable purposes — there is a penalty fee for using plastic.
- Bring an insect repellent especially if you are staying overnight.
- If you want ocean views, stay in the beachfront resorts and homestays in San Juan. Other towns in Lazi are located far from the ocean.
- Based on my experience, if you’re a solo traveler like me, it might be best to pre-book a tour from a recommended guide. Also, bring your license so you can rent a motorbike to visit places outside of the standard tours.
Has this Travel Guide to Siquijor Province been helpful to you? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).