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:
In Lazi, there is an immense church built around the middle of the 19th centurye century, the church San Isidro Labrador. It is right in front of a large wooden building, which would be the oldest convent in the Philippines.
It is no longer a convent today. There is a school on the ground floor, and a small museum of bondages upstairs.
Throughout my visit, I am accompanied by the little Angel, the aptly named. The cute sketch willingly a smile a little frozen for cameras of visitors, under the watchful eye of his mother, the charming lady who holds the ticket office of the museum.
For 20 pesos, not much to see: faded statues, cult objects, old black and white photos. But the vast room upstairs, with its huge wooden floor with a patina of time, its guingois wood panelling and the golden light filtering through the windows, is full of atmosphere. One can see the various popes, whose portraits hang on the walls...
The cascades of Cambugahay
A few kilometers after Lazi, towards the north, another place full of atmosphere, serene, soothing, awaits me: Cambugahay, a series of small waterfalls, with clear and fresh water, near which it is good to ask.
As I am at the end of the afternoon, I have the whole site for me. There is no cat. Just run off the water and 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 occasionally for a last picture. At a final stop, an old gentleman comes out of a rice field, his peasant straw hat on his head and makes me a little chat in excellent English.
I'm back at "my" beach, Sandugan Beach, a little late for the sunset. Pity. But I'll catch up the next day ... I really love this beach. It feels far from everything.
As it is a little isolated, you must order in advance its evening dinner at the restaurant or pick up early morning fishermen who come to offer their fresh fish. And power cuts are frequent. But that adds to the charm of the place ...
Diving with Kiwi Dive Resort
Advantage, the Kiwi Dive Resort diving center is a stone's throw away from my bungalow... Finally, "center" is a big word for the compressor, the two rinsing tanks and the small room next to the bar, where we store bottles 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 poorly moored that remains stranded on a sandbank at low tide, or the diesel that arrives a little late can compromise the time of diving or diving itself ...
It's no big deal. We'll dive later or the next day! Quiet atmosphere, far from the "bubbles factories" or bubble plants, as we call them the big dive centers ... I'm always with my Maldivian bungalow neighbor Shareef as the only other diver in two or three days, it's perfect, since he is himself an instructor and is used to guiding groups under the water.
On the whole, the reefs are not as spectacular as Leyte...but there's still a lot of interesting stuff in there. On the "big" side, I saw a turtle yesterday and flew over a school of barracudas in snorkeling.
But it's the "little one" that keeps us busy: nudibranchs (sea slugs), scorpion fish, anemone shrimp and all the usual tropical fauna in 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 track of time a little. I start to look like an "old lady" on my beach, with my friends Marika and Shareef, as other tourists come and go. Together, we make fun of those we don't like (for the moment, a Finnish woman complaining about mosquitoes and a shameless Chinese woman swimming with the indispensable orange lifejacket have been our favourite targets).
I feel so good at 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's a safe bet that all hotels, guesthouses, cottages and resorts will be monopolized by tourists from Taiwan or Hong Kong ...
Oh yes, really, it is good to live on this island away from the crowds.