The girl watches me come and go in the big room. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The girl watches me come and go in the big room. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

Sweetness of life in Siquijor

  Philippines: Visayas - February 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 


I am under the spell of the island of Siquijor, in the Philippines... I continue to discover it, a little bit by chance, as I walk around after the dives.

The angel of Lazi

I went on a little scooter trip again the day before yesterday, after an aborted morning dive: leak in my air gauge... Nothing serious, a gasket to change. But as a result, I stayed on the boat. Frustrating.

After my ride along the East Coast to Salagdoong Beach and the town of Maria a few days ago, I drove this time along the west coast of the island, to the village of Lazi all the way south.

In Lazi, there is an immense church built around the middle of the 19th centurye century, the church of San Isidro Labrador. It is right in front of a large wooden building, which is said to be the oldest convent in the Philippines.

San Isidro Labrador Church, Lazi. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
San Isidro Labrador Church, Lazi (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The former convent of Lazi now houses a school and a museum. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The former convent of Lazi now houses a school and a museum. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

It is no longer a convent. There is a school on the first floor, and a small museum of bondieuseries upstairs.

Throughout my visit, I am accompanied by the little Angel, the well named. The little girl willingly gives a smile for the cameras of the visitors, under the watchful eye of her mother, the charming lady who is in charge of the museum's ticket office.

For 20 pesos, there is not much to see: faded statues, objects of worship, old black and white photos. But the vast room upstairs, with its huge wooden floor with a patina of age, its ragged woodwork and the golden light that filters through the windows, is full of atmosphere. One is observed by the various popes, whose portraits hang on the walls...

Little Angel, the aptly named. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Little Angel, the aptly named. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The amosphere is haunting, with the filtered light that highlights the old floor. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The amosphere is mesmerizing, with the filtered light highlighting the ancient floor (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The girl watches me come and go in the big room. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The girl watches me come and go in the big room (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
I pretend to admire the pious statues, under the playful look of the girl. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
I pretend to admire the pious statues, under the mischievous gaze of the girl (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

The cascades of Cambugahay

A few kilometers after Lazi, towards the north, it is another place full of atmosphere, serene, soothing, which awaits me: CambugahayA series of small waterfalls, with clear and fresh water, near which it is good to rest.

As I am there in the late afternoon, I have the whole site to myself. There is not a cat. Just the trickle of water and the wind in the small surrounding jungle.

The site of Cambugahay, a small case of freshness in the middle of the greenery. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The site of Cambugahay, a small case of freshness in the middle of the greenery. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The cascades of Cambugahay form a natural swimming pool. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
The cascades of Cambugahay form a natural swimming pool. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

Villages and rice fields of Siquijor

I decide not to take the "highway" circular and to return by the interior of the island. Easy road, interspersed with some unpaved passages, in the middle of small mountains. Rice fields, villages, bits of jungle.

The welcome in the villages is warm. The famous raised eyebrows and the "Hello! Hi!" I continue to shoelace every time I meet people. I greet each other with dignity, perched on my motorcycle, hair in the wind.

I stop from time to time for a last picture. During a last stop, an old man emerges from a rice field, his straw hat on his head and chats with me in excellent English.

Along the road, between two mountains, the tender green young shoots of rice. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Along the road, between two mountains, the tender green young shoots of rice. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

I'm back at "my" beach, Sandugan BeachA little late for the sunset. Too bad. But I will make up for it the next day... I really love this beach. We feel far from everything.

As it is a bit isolated, you have to order in advance your dinner at the restaurant or catch early in the morning the fishermen who come to offer their fresh fish. And the electricity cuts are frequent. But it adds to the charm of the place...

Diving with Kiwi Dive Resort

Advantage, the Kiwi Dive Resort is just a few steps away from my bungalow... Well, "resort" is a big word for the compressor, the two rinsing tanks and the small room next to the bar, where we store tanks and equipment. There is only one guide, a Filipino, Neal, very nice and very competent.

On Sandugan Beach, there is a small diving center, Kiwi Dive, which also offers accommodation. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
On Sandugan Beach, there is a small diving center, Kiwi Dive, which also offers accommodation. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
My "home" at Islanders Paradise ... (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
My "home" at Islanders Paradise... (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Sandugan Beach at low tide. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Sandugan Beach at low tide. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
At fonf, a mangrove area. (Sandugan Beach, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
At fonf, a mangrove area. (Sandugan Beach, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

But we have to take into account the hazards of our isolated situation: a compressor failure, the banca badly moored and stranded on a sandbank at low tide, or diesel fuel that arrives a little late can compromise the time of the dive or even the dive itself...

It's not a big deal. We dive later or the next day! Quiet atmosphere, far from the "bubbles factories" or bubble factories, as the big diving centers are called... I am always with my Maldivian bungalow neighbor Shareef as the only other diver for the last two or three days, which is perfect, as he is himself an instructor and is used to guiding groups underwater.

On the whole, the reefs are not as spectacular as in LeyteBut you can still find a lot of interesting things. On the "big" side, I saw a turtle yesterday and flew over a school of barracudas in snorkeling.

But it is the "little one" that occupies us the most: nudibranchs (sea slugs), scorpion fish, anemone shrimps and all the usual tropical fauna in the coral reefs. Among the nice surprises of the day: an orangutan crab in its bubble coral, as well as, twice, black snakes spotted with white stripes...

A stingray with blue dots, hidden under a rock. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
A stingray with blue dots, hidden under a rock. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
A lionfish, called "lion-fish" in English. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
A flying scorpionfish, called "lion-fish" in English. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Another very funny creature: the crab orangutan in its coral-bubble. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Another very funny creature: the crab orangutan in its coral-bubble. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
(Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
A nudbranche who thinks himself in the middle of a bull fight ... (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

The days go by and I lose a little the notion of time. I start to look like an "old lady" on my beach, with my friends Marika and Shareef, according to the arrivals and departures of the other tourists. We make fun of those we don't like (for the moment, a Finnish woman who complains about mosquitoes and a shameless Chinese woman who swims with the indispensable orange life jacket, have been our favorite targets).

I feel so good in Siquijor, that I decided to stay there until the end of the week. Especially since this weekend is the Chinese New Year. If I decide to move these days, it is likely that all the hotels, guesthouses, cottages and resorts will be taken over by Taiwanese or Hong Kong tourists...

Oh yes, really, it is good to live on this island away from the crowds.

  Philippines: Visayas - February 2008

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  1. Siquijor, I love it!!! It looks really beautiful! Calm, warm, the paradise what!!!! On my side, we came back yesterday from Gap, we leave tomorrow for Alès, then Lyon! The journey by bus was long and painful, we remained blocked 30 mn because of the snow! Well, the landscape was beautiful, I thought of you in the middle of all this white, while you were in swimsuit in the middle of the fishes! Gap is a lost hole in the middle of the mountain, but the people even if they did not greet us by raising the eyebrows were very nice.

    I kiss you!!! See you soon!

  2. The orangutan crab is still easier to identify than the seahorse (which I finally managed to distinguish thanks to your second plot). I thought it was photographed from the front. It looks very nice, Siquijor. Enjoy it until Sunday.

  3. Quickly a last comment for the pleasure, I still have 10 minutes before going to the bus that takes us to Alès. Big blue sky and sun, but also very cold... We hope that our IBIS room will be bigger than the last time... But, I have doubts... I think a lot to you, enjoy!

    I kiss you, Greg too!

  4. Yes, Siquijor is a nice little island. The atmosphere is more Filipino than touristic, I'm starting to get used to it... It's going to be fun to leave here on Monday!

    Thank you all for your little comments. It's a real pleasure to read you from so far away...

    See you soon!
    😉

  5. Hi, I still have a month before leaving for Siquijor, your travel diary makes me dream while waiting, it can be a month long .. Enjoy your stay.

    @ more for to CR on diver.com ...

    laurence

  6. Hello Siratus,

    Welcome to Petites Bulles d'Ailleurs! As for me, I'm thrilled to see that we both loved Siquijor. I envy you for going Tubbataha!!! Who knows, maybe it will be for another time?

    Good bubbles too!
    🙂

  7. Nice to discover your blog 8) ... I was also diving in Siquijor with Neal, two months after you, coming back from Tubbataha. Siquijor Island, beach and diving, I really liked it. I plan to go back there.
    Good bubbles
    (I know too well, ANAK)

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