Aside from the reputation as a place of magic and sorcery, Siquijor Island is also famous for its attractions such as beaches caves and waterfalls.
During the Spanish Colonial Period, Siquijor was referred to by Spaniards as the “Island of Fire” since it is commonly associated with mystic traditions which currently serve as the province’s means in acquiring more tourists.
Siquijor’s reputation as a place of magic and sorcery both attracts and repulses visitors, but, aside from these, its festivals which focus on healing rituals where incantations are sung while old folks make potions out of herbs, roots, insects, and tree barks. You will also be able to see locals sharing a story or two about folk legends that point to the existence of witchcraft, witches, and even “aswang” – various bloodthirsty monsters that lurk in the island.
Aside from the hair-raising stories, the island of Siquijor is also famous for its attractions such as its beaches caves, waterfalls, and many others. It also has white sand beaches and great coral reefs and diving /snorkeling sites in the Philippines.
The Cambugahay Falls is one of Siquijor’s main attractions which charm not only tourists but locals as well. Cambugahay Falls is a perfect place to relax at after climbing down 135 stone steps, it is a place where one can enjoy basking the clear, clean, and fresh blue waters rushing through multi-tiered waterfalls which flow down to smaller lagoons.
The waterfall is composed of three levels – all of which flow right down into smaller streams that are sometimes used for irrigation systems. One can simply lay down on the fresh, cool, shallow waters to help you cool off from the trip down from the stone steps.
Its waters come from natural springs and watersheds from rain forests up above mountains and ends downstream and goes to the Lazi Bay.
If you want to have the place for yourself and enjoy that calming, tranquil ambiance, you may opt to visit the waterfalls during weekdays since most visitors and locals flock the area during weekends to relieve stress from their weekday activities.
You may not leave Siquijor without visiting this very popular landmark because if you do, it would be your loss. Imagine getting the chance to gaze up a gigantic natural attraction with your very own eyes, awesome, don’t you think?
The Old Enchanted Balete Tree is centuries old and many believe that it was already there for 400 years now. It is also considered as the best setting for a horror movie, and trust me, it really is! It is locally known as the oldest and largest in the province of Siquijor, making it a popular landmark that one shouldn’t miss.
The tree have also become setting for various legends and myths which are quite natural; making it known to many as a dwelling place of supernatural beings. Mysteriously, water flows underneath the tree and comes out into a man-made pool or stream and locals couldn’t tell where the water comes from which triggers the surfacing rumors about the tree.
Its scary and eerie outline makes almost everyone believe that the tree is enchanted especially when they look at its massive and unidentical roots. Interesting, eh?
Mount Bandila is a mountain with amazing height – 1, 394 feet high and is 557 feet above the sea level. It is known to many as the highest peak in Siquijor and is frequently compared to the famous Mt. Mayon of Albay. It has a naturally aesthetic terrain. It has five springs and rivers flowing at its foot which would definitely give you a rejuvenating feeling after a long day of trekking in the mountain. There are also vegetable gardens around the park.
Mt. Bandila National Park is a very exciting place to be, because aside from the common mountain activities such as trekking and exploring caves, one can also enjoy various activities ad sceneries that would definitely take your breath away. The National Park has very diverse flora and fauna that you could feast your eyes with. Many visitors on the hand fancy watching the colorful species of butterflies that fly around the park. You will also get to see a shrine called “Our Lady of Lourdes” which is located along the way to the peak of Mt. Bandila – an; as well as the stations of the cross which has a total of thirteen.
You may also get the chance to climb the Metal Observatory Deskwhere you can get the chance to have a breathtaking view of the whole Island of Siquijor.
Worried about sustenance? Don’t worry, there are some stores along he was that sells snacks to guests where you can purchase cold bottled drinks or some chips and crackers. They also sell “magic” stuff such as amulets, potions, charms, oils, and the like that are said to be effective. According to locals, those magic thingy can provide you shield from evil forces as well as a cure for some diseases. Siquijor locals are known to be experts at concocting such things – accompanied by rituals that can only be uttered by them.
The Cantabon Cave is a great place for mountain climbing and could also add to your trekking experience – which is an excellent way to enjoy your Siquijor trip even more! The excitement will keep you hyped up right from your preparation of your gear, while you take every step, and until you get to the cave and get the chance to explore it.
Be fascinated with various rock formations found in the cave’s walls which will be visible along the way as you explore the cave. Cantabon Cave measures about 30 meters long and 10 meters wide and is filled with the huge range of glittering icicle – like stalactites and stalagmites hanging from the cave’s ceiling and was formed by the continuously dripping water containing calcium carbonate. These stalactites and stalagmites are even more emphasized by the darkness of the cave.
Another pride of the Cantabon Cave is its cool undisturbed body of water which runs along the way and is dubbed as “natural pool”. The cave was discovered in 1985 by foreign hunters who once lived in the place.
The Butterfly Farm is a 1, 460 square meter property composed of a botanical garden that is as big as the entire space. As recorded, it has a total of 102 species of butterflies and moths that feed on the garden itself. It is believed that this destination holds the record of having a butterfly with the largest wingspan in Asia.
In the sanctuary, visitors will get to see many butterflies of various species including Moths of Two Continents; Attatus Atlas – widely known as the biggest species of moths in the world; Kalima – also called as the Dead Leaf Butterfly; Snow Butterflies from the Swiss Alps; Birdwing Butterflies; Philatelic Butterflies that are usually seen on stamps; Philippine Moths; and many others.
The Butterfly Farm also features an enclosure which serves as dwelling place for larvae until they reach metamorphosis.
During the tour in the place, a staff will serve as your guide as you go trough the green, ecologically sustainable farm. Feel free to ask them questions regarding the species of butterflies that you see or even ask them to take pictures of you.
Tulapos Marine Sanctuary is highly noted for its existence and is, in fact, the oldest of its kind that was established in 1986. This sanctuary encompasses 14 hectares of coral reefs, white sand beaches, and of course, mangroves. Definitely the marine counterpart of Mt. Bandila – a National Park.
Visitors may snorkel in the area and may expect schools of batfish or barracudas flipping with them. As the locals say it: “Heaven can be found down under”. You may enjoy various coral species and colorful schools of fish as you try and relax in the place. Be captivated be its very natural beauty!
The sanctuary has an abundant amount of fish which makes it also helpful as source of living for many locals.
The mangrove in the sanctuary embellishes the sanctuary and, closely related to these is the famous two–storey Mangrove Tree House. Despite the sticky mud that serves as hinder on your way to the tree house, the journey will be worthwhile once you reach your destination. Many locals and visitors are left in awe of its complex structure. It is fully packed, complete with rooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, electric outlets, and a veranda which overlooks the whole Tulapos Marine Sanctuary!
On its topmost room, guests can get the chance to see a huge bed made of bamboo and dried leaves spread all over it – just like a bed sheet. So ‘natural’ don’t you think?