Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Siquijor, Siquijor

The island province of Siquijor is the third smallest province in the Philippines in terms of both land area (343.5 km²) and population (81,598), behind only tiny Camiguin and Batanes. Almost all travel to the island is through the port of Dumaguete City, where pump boats and fast ferries bring passengers to and from Siquijor almost hourly. A trip costs just 160 pesos. It takes just 30 minutes. And it's kind of weird that I've never been there until last weekend, making it the 13th island of the Philippines that I've had the pleasure of setting foot on.

I didn't realize I would be going to Siquijor until an invitation came on Saturday afternoon to go on an overnight vacation the next day. And why not... I didn't really have anything else planned, and there was no hurry to get back to work thanks to the Independence Day holiday being moved to Monday. It's a happy success story of the government's holiday economics policy working exactly as conceived.

We departed from Dumaguete on Sunday afternoon at 3:30PM.

In a 24-hour period I got to pass through the sea ports of Siquijor, Dumaguete, and Cebu-- it helps one to appreciate how much more pleasant a quiet port is. The port in Siquijor is clean and simple. The island province is significant enough for the government to have spent the resources to make a port that's clean and functional, but not nearly big enough for the hordes of people to stink it up.

We stayed at Villa Marmarine, a beach resort in the town of Siquijor not too far from the port. It didn't have a swimming pool, but it does what it can, and the cottages are nice enough.

The resort isn't the most luxurious, but it does what it can to give a pleasant experience, like this dining area on an elevated ledge with a view overlooking the sea.

The sand at the beach is light, fine, and powdery-- though speckled with corals and pebbles and seaweed. You'd need to wear slippers while swimming in the water to protect your feet from all the rocks and seaweed. The rock wall near the beach is kind of nice, helps give the feeling of being in a wild undeveloped place (in the good way).

For dinner on Sunday night we went to this cool dome thing high up on a hill overlooking the town of Larena. It's a bizarre sensation to suddenly encounter this awesome done when you expect to be on a quiet rural island. From up here you could look down at the town, and in the far distance the faint lights of Dumaguete's boulevard are visible. It must be a wondrous sight during the day, but at night all that's visible are the lights.

Umm... Mabuhay! ^_^

Hmm, not a bad set of pictures considering I didn't get to see much else aside from the pier, the resort, and the dome thing. It would have been better to get the chance to actually go exploring the island and seeing the sights.

They say that Siquijor is infamous as a hotbed of sorcery and witchcraft. I... don't really have anything to say about that, but it feels necessary to mention it.

Someday I really do need to go back there and actually see what there is to see.