Siquijor is one of the hottest, up-and-coming islands on the Philippines travel scene. In fact, in just the one year I’ve been living in nearby Dumaguete (where you catch the ferry to Siquijor), I’ve witnessed a meteoric increase in the number of travelers going there. The ticket window outdoors in Dumaguete for the ferry used only to have a few people waiting in line. But, now, I’ve seen lines of foreigners and Filipinos snaking around the fence. Sometimes, people wait an hour in the hot sun just to get a ticket to wonderful Sijuior.
And for good reason, since the island has everything travelers want: a nice stretch of white sand beach (I’d grade it a B+ compared to Boracay as an A at its best), heritage sites like an ancient church and monastery, waterfalls with rope swings that will be the most fun you had in years, hillside lookouts where you can see all of Siquior as well as neighboring islands Cebu, Bohol, and Negros, and more. There’s even a unique story behind the island, as its known to be the haunted island of the Philippines, complete with widespread witchcraft (and the love potion and voodoo doll souvenirs for sale to prove it).
So, what’s the downside of visiting Siquijor? The island’s available accommodations haven’t caught up with demand/ There are so many people coming to visit Sijuior now that there literally aren’t enough beds for heads on the island. Along the coastal road that circles the large island, you’ll see construction virtually everywhere, as foreign investors and Filipino moneyed families have gone all-in on Siquijor’s tourism growth, building concrete slabbed hotels and guest houses by the scores. A lot of locals have even tried to make a buck (or Peso) and meet demand by turning their homes into home-stay accommodations, charging by the room and offering communal dining and gardened grounds.
But, for me, the best place to stay in Siquijor if I’m visiting with friends (another thing if I’m going solo) is Belle’s Beachside Cottage.
Located near the popular Baha Bar on the north-western coast of the island, it’s about a 30-minute ride from the Siquijor ferry terminal where most people arrive (but the ride is chill and scenic). Once you walk down the dirt road into Belle’s property, you’ll instantly feel like you’re on vacation in paradise. There are about a dozen cottages laid out in a semicircle, all with nice front porches or front sitting areas and bamboo constructed chairs so you can relax outdoors with the view. The bungalows range from simple nipa huts (local bamboo construction) with just a fan (it’s usually not too hot at night with the sea breeze) to newer concrete constructed cabanas with aircon and nice showers.
No matter where you stay, the best feature of Belles is the million-dollar view. No matter where you stay, you’ll be looking out over a sea of colorful flowers, local plants, and carefully groomed gardens, with winding stone paths in between. After that, there’s a seawall and then the big, beautiful ocean awaiting, with nothing but turquoise water and a couple of fishing boats in your view. And while there really isn’t a beach there (it’s really rocky on this side) if you wear water shoes, you can easily hop in and out of the crystal-clear waters and explore up and down the rocks at sunset, exploring the tide pools.
Belle’s is a seriously chill place with one of the best sunset views I’ve ever seen, and I’ll be back soon!