I was invited by a friend to join her on there high school batch reunion to be held in Limasawa Island the following weekend. As soon as I arrived from an official business trip to Iloilo and Bacolod, I tried to plan for our trip and accommodations on Limasawa Island. In the midst of our planning and negotiation for the accommodation, we heard from the news that martial law was declared for the whole Mindanao. This was due to the war against international terrorist groups invading Marawi City, Maguindanao.
My friend’s batchmates consider to cancel the reunion because of the possible threat in Limasawa Island being one of the possible exit points of terrorist groups from Mindanao. The island was said to be strictly guarded by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Sadly, this is happening in the Philippines but is under control of the government. Blessed that the country is divided into islands, with this, the siege is contained in Mindanao only while Luzon and Visayas area continue to live a normal life.
Being in love to travel, I can’t just stay home on the day I was suppose to be somewhere. Well, the country has 7,107 islands so we can still go on nearby provinces.
We think of alternate destination that can be arranged immediately.
Since we’ve been wanting to go to this small but too beautiful and enchanted island named Siquijor but can’t find time, we agreed to go there instead. It seems that this is the perfect time and timing to be there.
The island was first sighted by the Spaniards in 1565 during Miguel López de Legazpi’s expedition. The Spaniards called the island Isla del Fuego or “Island of Fire”, because the island gave off an eerie glow, which came from the great swarms of fireflies that gathered in the numerous molave trees on the island.Wikipedia
How to reach this beautiful island?
There’s no airport in this island. This can be reached via ferry and fast craft from nearby provinces such as Cebu, Dumaguete, Bohol. You may check the ferry schedules and routes.
For us, since we are coming from Cebu, we took a bus in South Bus Terminal in Cebu City bound to Dumaguete City. Travel time is estimated to be three to four hours, but in actual we had five hours (from 7am to 12nn). The bus will ride a RORO in Liloan Port, Santander, Cebu to Sibulan Port, Dumaguete. Travel time is only 25 minutes. Upon arrival in Dumaguete City, we dropped-off in Dumaguete Port to purchase ticket for Siquijor. It’s already 3pm. Unfortunately, no more available tickets for 4pm ferry. Remaining tickets are for 6pm only. We suppose to have a day tour upon arrival in Siquijor but with the delay and estimated arrival time if we take the 6pm ferry, we can’t have the tour within this day anymore.
Think. Think. Think!
After few minutes of discussion on the options we could take, we decided to stay in Dumaguete City overnight and will proceed to Siquijor early morning the following day. We just purchased the earliest trip in advance, 7:20am.
We are not familiar with the province, it’s our first time to be there. Usually, last trips on public vehicles in the secluded provinces are so early like before 8pm. We booked an overnight accommodation in a resort almost 1 hour travel from Siquijor pier, so it won’t be a safe to proceed that night. We stayed in Dumaguete City instead.
The following morning, we took the 7:20am ferry and arrived at around 8:30am in Siquijor.
We negotiated for a motorcycle tour . There are tricycle, motorcycle, and multicab that you can choose to for your day tour around Siquijor depending on the number of person(s).
We went to Larena Public Market to buy food for lunch then proceed to visit tourist spots in the province. We negotiated with the motorcycle driver to start the tour on the farthest spot going to the nearthest (Larena-Maria-Lazi-San Juan-Siquijor Port). With this, we will be nearer on the port since we need to go back to Dumaguete via 4:40pm ferry.
Guiwanon Spring Park, Larena
Salagdoong Molave Man-made Forest
San Isidro Labrador Church
Century-old Balete Tree and Fish Spa
Capilay Spring Park
St. Francis of Assisi Church & Triangular Landmark
We had our last stop here then proceed to the port at around 4pm, just in time for the 4:40pm ferry bound to Dumaguete.
A detour of detours….
With the delays on our departure for Siquijor, we decided to stay in Dumaguete City overnight.
We searched for an affordable hostel in Dumaguete City. Luckily, we found White Knights Dumaguete at Php650 per night for a standard air-conditioned room. It’s 5-minute away from the port and accessible via tricycle at Php10 fare.
After we checked-in, we relaxed for a while then went out for a leisurely walk to visit famous destinations nearby:
Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry Tower
Rizal Boulevard at Night & Try the Street Food
Sweet Treat in Sans Rival
The following day, we woke-up 5am and head to the port at 6am but it’s too early that we took some pictures first of the morning view of Rizal Boulevard.
Actually, we went to the port at 7am and almost missed the ferry due to long ques in terminal fee payment and check-in counters.
Wherever our feet bring us, we find ways to have fun, create moment, and enjoy life. Love the detours!
I was assigned for an official business trip to Ilo-ilo and Bacolod. I’ve been there the previous year so I’m thinking of having side trip on the weekend, prior to my scheduled date of work, to nearby town or province like Capiz or Antique. Going to these places requires long hours of travel and I only have 2 days and one night prior.
I looked into the map (like Dora The Explorer) and seek the help of google, travel apps, and more, until I thought of going to Guimaras. The island is just 15 minutes away from Ilo-ilo City via boat and the fare is Php14 only.
So I arranged my schedule, planning for a tour in Guimaras and stay overnight in a resort.
The day has come. I woke-up at around 3am for my 5:40am flight. I felt hyper-active even though I only had 3 hours of sleep. I imagined myself jumping off the plane in Iloilo City welcomed by the morning sun.
As I arrived into the airport around 5am, I checked-in thru the kiosk but it wasn’t successful. I went to the counter instead. But upon checking by the in-charge, there is something wrong on the booking, it was not confirmed and it is equivalent to NO TICKET!
So I went to the airline office and have them check my booking. It was settled by the airline and so I was supposedly allowed to board on the 5:40am flight but unfortunately, it’s too late. The plane is closed and preparing for take-off.
I was rebooked to next flight which is 12:50pm.
Oohh! it was heartbreaking. My 7 hours was just wasted to waiting.
Anyways, after 7 hours of waiting at last I’m boarding – feeling exhausted though.
I arrived in Iloilo City Airport at around 2pm. It was a gloomy afternoon in Iloilo.
I went to the Public Utility Vehicle Terminal and rode into a UV Express Van bound to SM Iloilo (Fare is Php50). From there, rode a jeepney going to Ortiz Wharf (Fare is Php7).
From Ortiz Wharf, purchase a ticket going to Jordan Wharf (Php14). Wrote my name on the passengers’ list then proceed to the boat’s boarding area.
On my way to the boarding area, I was like – Oh the waves! It’s splashing on the walls of the wharf. Seeing the boat, it doesn’t have Iife vests on it and I don’t know how to swim!
But fear doesn’t bother me anyway! I did go on…
After approximately 15 minutes, I set foot on this little town, Guimaras.
I went to the Tourism Office for registration, asked for some directions and guides on the tour. Since it’s around 3pm already, I can’t proceed with the standard land tour, so I went to the resort directly (pre-booked via Agoda.com). I booked in Czech Beach Resort, in Igdarapdap, Nueva Valencia. There are available UV Express Van in Jordan Wharf that go directly to Nueava Valencia. Travel time is approximately 35 minutes. I was the last passenger so the driver and his assistant dropped me off on the resort’s gate. It’s about 2 minute walk from the hi-way. They’re very kind when they knew it was my first time to go in the resort and don’t exactly know where it is.
I was welcomed by the resorts staff and introduced me to the owner – Libor. Now, I get it why the resort’s name is Czech. The resort is owned by a couple from Czechoslovakia, they’re very kind and accommodating. They transferred me into a better room since the guests who booked the room, shorten there stay due to work-related issues. The room is wide with overlooking view.
The resort was awesome. I would probably recommend the resort. The ambiance is very relaxing, tranquil, away from the noise of the city.
My disappointment on the changed flight and arriving in the island too late just vanished. I would probably would like to come back in this place.
One of the low points on this place was having power interruptions. That night, no electricity and because of that, me and the french couple Veronica & Rocco dine together on the nipa hut cottage. We had pasta for dinner cooked by the owner, Libor. It’s an experience for me to had a fun conversation with European people. The couple is from Causica.
The following morning, a sumptuous breakfast was served, Tuna Salsa.
During our conversation with the owner, I learned that it’s Manggahan Festival and a grand celebration will be happening on this day. He suggested that instead of going to The Pitstop Restaurant for lunch, better go to the trade fare. There you can see everything the province offers.
At around 11am, I checked-out on the resort and waited for a van on the hi-way. The van rarely comes to the place and so I waited around 30 minutes. On my way back to Jordan, I see vast mango plantations. No doubt, the province is the Mango Capital of the Philippines. Upon arrival in Jordan, unfortunately, the vehicles need to take detours as the street activity already started. So I wasn’t able to drop by on the trade fare, instead, we had a stop on the mango and delicacies’ stall along the road.
Then we proceed to Jordan Wharf and went back to Iloilo City.
Misadventure came too early. The plan may have went wrong but it doesn’t stop me to enjoy, have fun, and learn.
See you next time Guimaras! …I’ll have the land and island hopping tour on my return!
After 6-hour travel from Puerto Princesa, we’re here in El Nido, Palawan.
It’s somehow scary arriving in a far-away land in a very dark night and you will sight huge karst mountains upon embarking on the vehicle. It seems that Kingkong will just go out behind those mountains anytime and crush us.😱😜😵
…but early morning the following day….
….all you can see is a jaw-dropping view. 😱😍😍
El Nido Protected Area.The largest marine sanctuary in the entire Philippines. The protected area status accords the areas of El Nido and portions of its neighboring town of Taytay a place among the eight priority sites inthe country in nees of coservation. The protected area covers a total of 9)3.21 sq.km, of which 40% are terrestial and 60% marine. Patrolling within the Protected Area especially in the marine zones is regularly conducted with the help of the World Wildlife Fund. (excerpt from Map of the Philippines published by NEXLIGHT Corp)
We stayed for two days and availed of the island hopping tours (pre-booked with the accommodation).
Standard island hopping tours offered by different travel & tours agency in El Nido are classified into Tour A, B, C, and D. Each tour is composed of five (5) islands.
Tour A will take you to the Secret Lagoon, a tropical jewel that will probably remind you of the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio. You will also discover the island of Shimizu, known for its numerous nests of Salanganes, highly prized by Asians for their medicinal properties. You will then set sail on the Big and Small Lagoon, where you will discover the very abundant sea life. The last stop will be the Seven Commandos beach, whose name comes from the seven Japanese commanders who stayed on the island after the Second World War, castaways on this splendid sandy beach.
– Tour B
Lesser known, tour B will take you to magnificent natural sites, like the islands of Pangalusian and Pinagbuyutan and their dream beaches, as well as Snake Island, whose name comes from its characteristic shape. Tour B will also take you to the Cadugnon cave, which is very interesting for history lovers because it contains remains of the Sung dynasty (960-1279 BC). The excursion will finally end on Pinasil Island and the Cathedral Cave, only illuminated by a ray of sunlight coming from top of the cave.
– Tour C
As popular as Tour A, Tour C takes you to Dilumacad Island and Helicopter Island, the latter taking its name from its shape, but also to the island of Tapiutan, particularly recommended for practicing snorkeling. The tour will then continue on the island of Matinloc, famous for its secret beach only accessible by sea, and to Kulasa Beach, where the shallow water allows you to see underwater. Still on the island of Matinloc, you will discover the beautiful Star Beach, ideal for a lunch break, as well as the temple of Matinloc, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
– Tour D
Tour D will first take you to Ipil Beach, only accessible by boat. You will then leave for Cadlao Island, the largest of the archipelago, to discover the magnificent beach of Pasandigan and the lagoon of Cadlao. You will continue your trip to the island of Pangulasian where you will enjoy the beautiful beaches of Nat Nat and Bukal. Finally, you will end the day on Paradise Beach, located on the island of Entalula, which really is a paradisiacal place.