Siquijor is a small island in the centre of the Philippines. It’s so small you can circle it on a motorbike in about two and a half hours if you don’t stop anywhere. That would be a mistake though, because it’s a beautiful island with beaches, hills and kind people along the way.
But before we started exploring our surroundings, we got a transport from the ferry terminal to our new home for the next few days.
We booked a very basic room in an otherwise newish looking resort right at the sea. It soon became clear why the rooms were that cheap; it was obviously off-season. In fact, we were the only guests for the first night.
It’s not every day you get to enjoy a hotel’s pool and bar all by yourself. Our dinner was so private, the chef closed down and left the kitchen simultaneously with our food.
We didn’t go to bed late, but you are wrong if you think that we got a lot of sleep. As it turned out, the hotel’s neighbours had a bunch of roosters. And not the half decent ones that start bagawking at 6AM, no, those were some vicious sons of chicken. These bastards proclaimed their reign of terror at 2AM and wouldn’t stop until 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning. And just to complete our luck, the aircon went out at about 11PM and wouldn’t turn on again for the rest of the night. Needless to say, we had a suboptimal first night. Nevertheless, we headed out for the Tour de Island on our scooter around noon the next day. It didn’t take long for us to forget our lack of sleep once we drove the quiet street along the coast and soon slowly winding upwards between palm trees and then through the forest. Our first halt was at a tree, supposedly about four hundred years old. Personally, I was a bit more excited to find out that there was a pond with small and mid-sized fish that nibble on your feet. The locals that had already been sitting there with their feet dangling in the water had a blast. Now and then a few of them would scream, leaving the rest of them crying with laughter.
Next up was Salagdoong Beach, a popular hangout and weekend spot for the locals. It was a Saturday and therefore, we were far from alone. People were playing at the beach, picnicking and jumping from the cliff into the crystal-clear water. This is the kind of scenery where it is possible to spot even the rarest of all creatures: the unicorn. What a sight! But sadly, these moments never last. It’s a disgrace that humans prefer trophies instead of simply appreciating the living animal.
We kept driving around the island and when it was time for dinner, we headed up to one of the highest points and got a wonderful meal at this nice Japanese restaurant with a view over the whole northwest of the island.
Early morning next day, I hopped on the scooter and drove to one of the local dive centers. I got lucky, caught the owner right when he came in and also met the Dive Master. We agreed on two dive sites: Paliton Wall and Paliton Sanctuary. About 75 minutes after that I was looking at wondrous fish and colourful corals with up to 38 metres of water above me. Because not that much sunlight makes it down there, these depths are not great for photography if you don’t bring artificial lights and suitable filters. A lot of the red colours gets lost and images appear overly green and blue.
And what is better than enjoying a beautiful sunset on the Philippines after a day of diving?
That was also one of the last tranquil moments of the night. Very soon, the friggin roosters would commence their psycho-show and make our lives miserable for a couple of hours.
After four amazing days and horrible nights, we left Siquijor and got ready for our last destination in the Philippines: Siargao.