Whenever the day gets too hot and I’m stuck in front of my desk beating a deadline while being distracted by the heat and a blue sky devoid of clouds, begging to be enjoyed outdoors, I do either of these two simple things: I lie on the bed and imagine I’m lying on the beach (it’s hot enough in the room, anyway) or I stay seated and still imagine I’m on the beach. Among my favorite spots to revisit in my head are the many enchanting islands of Palawan, the clear, blue waters of Boracay (more than a decade ago when it wouldn’t have that long streak of green algae and seaweed during peak season), and the idyllic little island of Siquijor.
Unfortunately, when you mention Siquijor, Filipinos don’t immediately think beach destination. That goes to the likes of Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, Panglao, Pagudpud… it’s a long list before you hear Siquijor. And when you do hear its name, it’s often followed by inquiries on magic potions and shamans, witches and aswang. When we went there summer of last year for a few days to visit my sister who was spending some months in her friend’s house to finish her book, we didn’t see, hear or feel anything of the supernatural sort. We were not looking for it, anyway.
What we found was a beautiful and sleepy island, without a lot of restaurants or internet cafés. No nightlife for the partying crowd. Not a lot of cars or jeepneys on the road, not even a gasoline station (Whoops, my bad! There is one gasoline station but most people do get their gasoline in stores that sell it by the bottle.). It didn’t matter. All we were looking for was a quiet stretch of white sandy beach where the hours went idly by and we found it in Siquijor.
Where to stay: While we stayed at the house of my sister’s friend, there are a number of nice resorts in the area. Coral Cay Resort at Solangon, San Juan has affordable cottages that face the beach, its swimming pool or its garden. It’s not such an attractive beach for swimming during low tide, but you can always take a swim at the pool, sit back and watch the sunset, or watch some local folks look for some shellfish on the shore. There is also Coco Grove Beach Resort, a more upscale resort (but still affordable) and their 800-meter private white beach is better maintained. It will open a dive school and shop by November of this year, so diving enthusiast guests have the chance to see the spectacular dive spots nearby.
How to get there: Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Dumaguete daily. From Dumaguete airport, take a tricycle to the Dumaguete pier, where there are a number of fast ferry trips to Siquijor, including Delta Fast Ferry, Ocean Jet Ferry and Jaylan. You can also take a ferry from Cebu or Tagbilaran (Bohol). Both Coral Cay and Coco Grove offer transfer and pick-up options.