11.6.11

Secret Philippines

Improvising a trip destination was never as good as Philippines. A quick research on the web only 3 days before holidays started and Siquijor Island came out as the perfect location for a relaxing holidays on a tiny island off the beaten track. Far away enough from London and longer than 30 h of intriguing journey were 2 more reasons that added exoticism to the plan.

Cebu Pacific airlines connected Manila to Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental (Visayas) and Delta Fast Ferry to Siquijor port. The final 30' of journey were on a tricycle (motorbike taxi) from the port to the Islanders Paradise Beach Resort on Sandugan Beach. Only one bungalow on the sandy shore was available and that was lots of luck considering it was the cheapest of the 3 resorts on the beach. Although the original plan was staying for a few days, the idyllic beaches, delicious food and friendly people were the reasons why we ended up staying longer than expected.

Siquijor island has only 102 km long coastline. Renting a motorbike was absolutely worth it, cheap and quick, and a way easy to drive around (I have never drove before!) It costs only 400pesos/day plus petrol, which is sold into coke bottles along the road. But dozens of smiling kids saying 'hello' along your drive, beautiful rice fields, skies of gorgeous colours and sunsets over infinite sea are absolutely priceless. Roads across the highland could be a bit adventurous but will surround you of impressive scenery, including little villages and Cambugahay falls.

Paliton Beach on the South is a gorgeous fishermen beach where there isn't hospitality which is and advantage as the whole beach might be all yours! Just a short ride from Paliton is JJ's Cafe, a popular resort that offers nice food on the shore.
Kagusua Beach is a hidden beach a few steps downstairs on the South. Quiet and idyllic as Paliton but keep an eye on your bag as thieves may be around! On the way back to Sandugan beach we stopped on the road to get some petrol and... surprise! no even a coin left on our little money bag... it was a good reason for us to come back to this side of the island and pay the petrol given by that kind philippino woman, for free. As she said 'it's an emergency!'

There are lots more to see around and also underwater. Siquijor waters have great corals and sea life to explore but sometimes it could be a bit difficult to find snorkels and masks to rent. Kiwi Resort, just at the end of Sandugan Beach may have some but maybe is a good idea to bring your own gear if you can! They also offer scuba diving classes and PADI certificates. At night their bar is the only one on the beach and it's also a good place to meet people.

Far away from the mass tourism and from the rest of the world, Siquijor Island is a way close to the idea of paradise :)

Dumaguete port. Siquijor Island on the horizon line

Sunset in Sandugan beach

Bangka, fishermen boat

Sandugan beach at low tide

Sandugan beach at low tide

Tide is coming up at Sandugan beach

little philippino fishermen

Paliton Beach

Paliton Beach

Bangksa at Paliton Beach

Paliton Beach

sunbathing

Sunset in Sandugan beach

locals catching seafood in Sandugan beach and thousands of crabs invading the beach at sunset

hammock in front of Islanders Paradise Beach Resort

Sunset in Sandugan beach

locals catching seafood in Sandugan beach and thousands of crabs invading the beach at sunset

Kagusua beach

Kagusua beach

sunset from Islanders Paradise Beach Resort, Sandugan beach

Islanders Paradise Beach Resort, Sandugan beach

sunset from Islanders Paradise Beach Resort, Sandugan beach

Buying petrol sold on the road bottled into coke bottles

beautiful rice fields next to the road around Siquijor Island

Gorgeous scenery on the main road around Siquijor Island

Tricycle, typical taxi from Philippines

Hairdresser in Larena Town, Siquijor

exploring the highlands in Siquijor

Cambugahay falls, Siquijor Island

Cambugahay falls, Siquijor Island

Sun drying fish at Lazi market

rice is sold into leaves knitted baskets in market at Lazi

sunset from Islanders Paradise Beach Resort, Sandugan beach

sunset from Islanders Paradise Beach Resort, Sandugan beach

 sunset from Islanders Paradise Beach Resort, Sandugan beach

sunset from Islanders Paradise Beach Resort, Sandugan Beach

thousands of crabs invade Sandugan Beach when sun sets

Paradise is in Paliton Beach :)

Paliton Beach

Fishermen keep nets in huts at Paliton Beach

Siquijor harbour

Bangka at Siquijor harbour

Siquijor harbour

locals swimming next to Siquijor harbour

locals swimming next to Siquijor harbour

locals swimming next to Siquijor harbour

bye bye Siquijor, salámat ho! (thank you!)

tricycle at slum in Intramuros, Manila

Walking on the spanish rampart of Intramuros, Manila

little philippino kids playing on a tricycle in Intramuros, Manila

On the way to China Town, leaving Intramuros behind us and crossing Jones Bridge on the Pasig River, Manila

tangled wires in China Town, Manila

jeepney [bus] from Manila

jeepney [bus] from Manila

Plaza Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Church, Manila