Monday, November 2, 2009

Isla del Fuego - Siquijor!

Coming from Apo Island, I took the bus back to Dumaguete City and from there, hailed a tricycle to the pier (PHP10) and took the 12:00PM schedule of M/BCA Jaziel ferry to Larena, Siquijor (PHP100).


An hour and a half later, the ferry arrived at the Larena port of Siquijor. Fantastic view of white sand coast line greeted us to think that it is a port area!


The surrounding water around the port is so clear, that we can see fishes and some corals underneath the not-so-deep water.


First to greet the visitors and near the port is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and its bell tower. Built in 1870, it was mostly made of corals.
 

From the port, I rented a tricycle for the rest of the day to tour around the island (PHP 600 after haggling) and our first stop is at the town of Lazi where San Isidro Labrador Church stands proud. Built in 1884 of corals and local materials, it is said to be hunted that non-locals refuse to stay overnight nearby.


inside the church


A convent completed in 1891 is just across the street from the church.


Inside the convent is a small museum showcasing the relics from the past. Need to be a bit careful though as the flooring and some structures are already getting brittle.
 

stairs


The church and convent complex built by the Agustinian Recollects is now a national landmark due to its religious importance and history.
 

Cambugahay Falls, a few kilometers from the church and convent, is another attraction in the town. It does not have a spectactular view of a large body of water falling from high above but it attracts visitors due to its clean and bluish water, making it a perfect pool for dipping during hot days.
  

It is said that there are 135 steps downwards (from the main road, upwards going back) to reach the place. A bit steep, but it's worth a visit if you plan to relax and take a short dip. Take note that during my visit yesterday, they were collecting parking fees (PHP10) for visitors.


We then went to Salagdoong Beach, a popular beach resort operated by the government. It boasts of pristine white sand and cool water perfect for dipping and swimming.


I find the place very serene and scenic. Molave trees, limestones, white sand, clear blue water - what else can you ask for? Too bad this was just a day trip!


After an hour's relaxation in Salagdoong Beach, it's time to hit the road again, this time to check-in to where I will be staying - Islanders Paradise Beach Resort.


There were literally no other guests at the time and the business seems to be slow. I got a good deal to stay in a cottage for only PHP670 that night!


The rest of the day was just spent with me watching the sunset while resting in a hammock outside my cottage. There were no internet, intermittent cellphone signal and no TV so nothing much to do but reflect and stay rested on this getaway place!


beautiful sunset


I had a bit of a hard time though during dinner. Since there are no other guests, they were not that prepared to serve meals that night. I asked what is available and was told there was fresh fish, then they asked me how I liked it to be cooked - and this was my dinner! Served in the comfort of my room! Still yummy, delicious and fresh!


I slept early last night so I can wake up early this morning. It was a beautiful day, so I took the rest of time before I get picked up for getting around the island on the way back to the pier. There were literally no one else wherever I look!
 

I also took time to check out the marine life around and bravely stormed the sea with my camera, I took just a few shots of them only at the shallow areas.

sea urchin


crab?


starfishes burried in the sand


I was picked up around 10:00AM by the tricycle driver I hired yesterday. This time he brought a motorcycle for touring around (costed PHP400), and I thought it was faster and more efficient.
Our first stop that morning was at the Island Butterfly Garden. Entrance fee was PHP25.


It's the usual butterfly garden - a small area enclosed in a net with butterflies flying around. What's interesting is that they have a few statues made of coconut husks like the bird on the lower left of this picture.


butterfly


scorpion-shaped coconut husk


dragon fly


butterfly


insect?


cocoons


butterfly


butterfly


dragonfly


butterfly on a flower


caterpillar


I'm not sure what these are though! I haven't mentioned above but Siquijor is known in the country as a mystic island where black magic and curious things happen! Oh and today is All Soul's Day!


It was such a shame that our next destination was closed, Cantabon Cave which is said to be very beautiful. Actually it is not closed, but the local officials who can guide us are not available because it was holiday today and it is (supposedly) forbidden to go in yourself without a guide. We then instead went to a view deck. It is located amidst trees and a path has long been covered by plants and mud on the way there.


So here is the view deck. Be careful when climbing up for it is a rusting steel structure!


I'm not sure why I was brought here, perhaps nothing else to see on such a short time. The view from the top was covered by trees but I was told there was a spectacular view (of what?) years back.


I just surveyed the area as there's nothing much to do and saw three crosses. It wasn't Holy Week but I find it creepy.


pathway and cross


going down


That was the end of the trip as I had to catch the ferry on the way back to Dumaguete after lunch and then catch a plane back to Manila. I was dropped off at the beautiful Larena port and I'm still amazed at the beautiful scene that I don't think anyone who think this is a port area and that ferries dock here.
 

It was such a short visit (in fact just around 24 hours) around the province but I guess I covered a lot. With the help of friendly locals whom I can ask questions and the driver, I've circled the island around 1.5 times and I'm looking forward to be back soon as I'm writing this blog at the airport waiting to board my flight back to Manila!

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