I’ve been writing about Siquijor a lot, and for a good reason. The island in the central Philippines is fast becoming a must-visit destination in the country, particularly for backpackers, budget travelers, snorkelers/divers, and nature enthusiasts. It’s also a chill, balanced place that’s still offering authenticity that other, more commercialized destinations (read: Boracay, Palawan, etc.) have long lost. Even better, it’s easy to get to, as one can fly into the small, charming city of Dumaguete nearby – or take a ferry or bus there from Cebu – and then jump on an easy and scenic one-hour ferry ride to get to Siquijor.
What will they find once they touch down on Siquijor port? Amazingly beautiful, crystal clear and completely unpolluted water, for one. Even the water and beach at the port are so scenic that you want to throw off your pack and jump in immediately (while most ports are usually industrialized and pretty gross). But all around the island, you’ll find gorgeous scenic coastal views, Mangrove swamps, a few white-sand beaches (I’d rank them as B+ to A-, which is very good!) waterfalls (Cambugahay Falls is INSANELY cool and fun!), cliff jumping, and sleepy villages. They even have a 400-year old tree that is supposed to heal what ails you when you soak in the water by its roots, rolling inland peaks with a lookout where you can see Cebu, Bohol, and Negros Islands, and, of course, charmingly friendly and smiling locals.
But it’s not all sunshine and roses, as the island has a reputation of being haunted, with real-life witchcraft over the centuries, making it a popular site for Filipino horror movies!
You just feel GOOD when you’re on Siquior, and that glow remains on you even when you take the ferry back to Dumaguete after a few days.
That was the case for me, anyway, when I recently headed over to the island for a trip with four of my friends. Coming from Cebu, these four girls who work at call centers had worked the night shift, then hopped on a 5-hour bus ride at 8 am when their shift was up, meeting me in Dumaguete before jumping on the 2 pm ferry to Siquijor – what troopers!
They had arranged a nice room for all four of them (unfortunately, not me, too) at Belles Beachside Cabins on the northwest coast of the island, and encouraged me to come along for the trip. So, I got online and tried to book at Belle’s, too, but it was full. Looking on the hotel map on Agoda, I saw that there was a place nearby called Goldsky Seaview Beach Houses.
I booked it and envisioned a fat Polish owner with a rug of chest hair poking out from his sweaty shirt as he donned a gold chain and smoked a big cigar. But I soon found out that instead of “Gold-ski” it’s still pronounced “Gold – Sky,” despite the way it’s spelled.
Regardless, the property has three simple, nipa -hut accommodations within lush grounds of palm trees and flowers. It’s definitely simple, but you are right by the ocean, and the view is killer. Each cabana has a front porch and, inside, a big bed with an aircon, fan, fridge, and an upstairs loft with extra mattresses. It wasn’t fancy, but I found it to be clean, comfortable, and well-maintained, and the proprietor was a sweetheart.
The only problem I had was that it wasn’t right next door to my friends’ hotel at all, but an easy 10-minute walk along the road or so.
Try it out if you want a super chill, local experience on Siquijor!