La fillette m'observe aller et venir dans la grande salle. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
The girl watches me come and go in the big room. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

Sweetness to live in Siquijor

  Philippines: Visayas - February 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

I am under the spell of the island of Siquijor, in the Philippines ... I continue to discover it, a little random, according to my walks after the dives.

The angel of Lazi

I did a little trip to scooter the day before yesterday, after an abortive morning dive: leak in my air gauge ... Nothing serious, a seal to change. But suddenly, 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, this time I drove 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 San Isidro Labrador. It is right in front of a large wooden building, which would be the oldest convent in the Philippines.

L'église San Isidro Labrador, à Lazi. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
San Isidro Labrador Church, Lazi. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
L'ancien couvent de Lazi abrite désormais une école et un musée. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
The former convent of Lazi now houses a school and a museum. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

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 there: tattered statues, objects of worship, old black and white photos. But the vast room upstairs, with its huge wood floor weathered by time, its wooden lopsided and light golden filtering through the windows, is full of atmosphere. It is observed by the various popes, whose portraits are hung on the walls ...

La petite Angel, la bien nommée. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
Little Angel, the aptly named. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
L'amosphère est envoûtante, avec la lumière filtrée qui met en valeur l'ancien plancher. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
The amosphere is haunting, with the filtered light that highlights the old floor. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
La fillette m'observe aller et venir dans la grande salle. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
The girl watches me come and go in the big room. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Je fais mine d'admirer les statues pieuses, sous le regard espiègle de la fillette. (Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
I pretend to admire the pious statues, under the playful look 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: 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.

Le site de Cambugahay, petit écrin de fraîcheur au milieu de la verdure. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
The site of Cambugahay, a small case of freshness in the middle of the greenery. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Les cascade de Cambugahay forment une piscine naturelle. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 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 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.

Le long de la route, entre deux montagnes, le vert tendre des jeunes pousses de riz. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 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 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 diving center Kiwi Dive Resort is close to my bungalow ... Finally, "center" is a big word for the compressor, the two rinsing tanks and the small room adjoining the bar, where we store bottles and equipment. There is only one guide, Filipino, Neal, very friendly and very competent.

Sur Sandugan Beach, il y a un petit centre de plongée, Kiwi Dive, qui propose aussi des hébergements. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
On Sandugan Beach, there is a small diving center, Kiwi Dive, which also offers accommodation. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Ma "maison" chez Islanders Paradise... (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
My "home" at Islanders Paradise ... (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Sandugan Beach à marée basse. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
Sandugan Beach at low tide. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Au fonf, une zone de mangrove. (Sandugan Beach, Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
At fonf, a mangrove area. (Sandugan Beach, Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)

But we have to reckon with the vagaries 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 does not matter. We dive later or the next day! Quiet atmosphere, far from '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 we still find a lot of interesting things. On the big side, I saw a turtle yesterday and flew over a barracudas 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 coral reefs. Among the pretty surprises of the day: an orang-utan crab in its coral-bubble, as well as, twice, black snakes spotted with white stripes ...

Une raie pastenague à pois bleus, planquée sous un rocher. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
A stingray with blue dots, hidden under a rock. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Une rascasse volante, appelée "lion-fish" (poisson-lion) en anglais. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
A lionfish, called "lion-fish" in English. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
Encore une bien drôle de bestiole : le crabe orang-outan dans son corail-bulle. (Siquijor, Philippines, février 2008)
Another very funny creature: the crab orangutan in its coral-bubble. (Siquijor, Philippines, February 2008)
(Siquijor, Philippines, février 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 bit of time. I am starting to look "old" on my beach, with my friends Marika and Shareef, according to the departure and arrival of other tourists. We laugh at those we do not like (for the moment, a Finnish woman who complains about mosquitoes and a noiseless Chinese woman who is swimming with the necessary orange lifejacket, have been our favorite 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.

  Philippines: Visayas - February 2008