Moalboal is a relatively small town. It is very rare to wake up from traffic. Rather your sleep will get disturbed by roosters at 4 AM. However, the place is already very touristic, and with that comes a lot of travellers. I wanted to get away from tourist hot spots, diving centres and late night partying, off to an island where time seems to stand still. Siquijor is such a place. On this mystical island, known for its witchcraft and Voodoo magic, people live a quiet, religious life – at least during the week. There are almost no cars, it takes only one hour to go round the island, and in the backcountry farmers still plow their fields with water buffalos. A perfect getaway to relax for a few days.
To get from Moalboal to Siquijor, you can take the bus to Bato, change to a tricycle and go to the ferry terminal in Santander. From there you can take the ferry to Siquijor, either the direct one which leaves once a day at 10:00 PM, or the one that goes to Dumaguete City first. Siquijor can also easily be reached from Cebu City and Bohol.
After I arrived on the island I took the overprized motorbike taxi to my hostel, the Charisma Beach Resort. At that time it already dawned on me that there was no public transportation on the island, and tricycles were really expensive. The cheapest and most fun way to get around ist to rent a scooter for a day for 350 Pesos (7 USD) a day. Especially for beginners Siquijor is the perfect place to learn how to drive.
I was staying at the Charisma Beach Resort, which provides private rooms, but also dorms. There is a restaurant with good, fairly cheap food. The best thing, however, is the location: The resort is located directly at the white sandy beach. Here you can swim during the day and look at the stars at night.
After the long way to get there I wanted to have a look at one of Siquijor´s main attractions: Tubod Beach. The beach is home to a lot of beach resorts with restaurants in the shade. There is also a reef where you can go Snorkeling. However, because of low water levels in the morning, it is advisable to do so in the afternoon. Because of my sunburn I only went there in the evening. But even then, the water was very warm and clear. You just have to watch out for the odd sea urgin in the shallows.
The next day I rented a scooter early in the morning to explore the island. My first stop was the Century Old Balete Tree. According to lore it has existed for 400 years. In its shadows you can find another attraction, a pool with small fish who will eat the dead skin of your feet. For the duration of this treatment you can enjoy a fresh coconut from a stall nearby.
My next stop was the Cambugahay Falls. Out of the different waterfalls in Siquijor I chose these ones because they are free of charge. However, they are not breathtaking. The Tumalog Falls in Oslob are bigger, the Kawasan Falls in Moalboal are more fun to swim in and the Tukuran Falls in Puerto Galera are more serene. You can jump in the water from a platform or pay 50 Pesos (1 USD) to swing on a rope, but that is about it.
The last place I visited on Siquijor was Salagdoong-Beach. What interested me about the beach was its location: to get there you have to drive through a scenic forest. The beach itself is not really special, nor is it big. However, you can jump from a platform on a rock. Other than that I found Tubod Beach in the south the better and more accessible beach.
Insgesamt wird mir Siquijor nicht wegen den Touristenattraktionen, sondern wegen der besonderen Atmosphäre in Erinnerung bleiben. Man man an Hexenkräfte glauben oder nicht, aber die Insel hat mich mit ihrer wunderschönen Naturkulisse, den freundlichen Menschen und der entspannten Lebensart in ihren Bann gezogen. Wer ein abgeschiedenes Fleckchen in tropischer Lage sucht, der könnte hier tatsächlich das Paradies finden. Dass Siquijor jedoch auch anders kann, durfte ich an meinem letzten Abend erfahren: Dann nämlich fand die wöchentliche Inselparty mit Live-Band statt, zu der Touristen und Einheimische gleichermaßen zusammenströmten. Etwas verkatert, aber sehr zufrieden nahm ich am nächsten Morgen die Fähre nach Bohol. Ich kehrte der Hexeninsel den Rücken, werde den Ort und seine Bewohner jedoch immer im Herzen tragen…
All in all, I will keep Siquijor in my heart not so much because of its tourist attractions, but for its special atmosphere. You may or may not believe in witchcraft, but the island cast a spell in me with its scenic landscape, the friendly locals and their easy-going, relaxed way of life. If you are looking for a peace