Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and 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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.