Last-Minute SIQUIJOR Weekend (For Less Than ₱7,000 Including Airfare)

3 months ago, my friends & I went on a last-minute weekend trip to Siquijor. I consider it a last-minute trip because we booked the tickets a month before (which I normally don’t do) & we made the itinerary few days before our flight.

Siquijor is a small province island located southeast of Negros Island & south of Cebu. People normally refer to the island as the island of sorcery & witchcraft. They say (but I haven’t seen any proof) many locals practice sorcery & folk medicine in the island. I know for a fact the most provinces here in the Philippines have people who practice this, so I don’t see any reason why Siquijor be labeled as such.

Siquijor’s famous Cambugahay Falls 

One of the purposes of this post is to debunk that myth & to show to my readers that there’s more in Siquijor than witchcraft & sorcery. Siquijor is starting to gain attention from foreign & local tourists because of its beautiful landscapes & very accommodating people. I’ve heard amazing stories from my friends who’ve been there so I was happy I was able to experience what they experienced.

Siquijor squad : (L-R) JE, Geof & myself 😎

Another purpose of this trip was to reconnect with our friend JE who is now based in Dumaguete for work. It’s been years since we last saw him so we took advantage of this trip to visit him & spend the weekend in the chill island of Siquijor.

I will layout to you in this post how we went to Siquijor, where we stayed & what places we visited & how much I spent for this trip.

Ticket

Screenshot of my ticket to Dumaguete ✈️

30 days before the trip, Geof & I booked a round-trip air ticket to Dumaguete for only ₱2,013. That airfare is already cheap considering our trip falls on a weekend (Saturday morning to Monday afternoon) & the trip is 30 days away. We’ve planning to go to Dumaguete for quite sometime, so it was nice to finally push through with the plan.

How We Went To Siquijor

There are a few ways to go to Siquijor from Manila – you can fly to either Dumaguete, Cebu or Tagbilaran then take a ferry / fast craft ride to the island. Given we only had the weekend, we took the easiest option. We flew to Dumaguete in the morning, went straight to Dumaguete Port & took the earliest available ferry to Siquijor.

We initially planned to take OceanJet‘s fast craft service but the units used in the Dumaguete-Siquijor route were under maintenance that weekend. We had no choice but to take the 9:30 am Montenegro Ferry to the island. Upon arrival in the island, we took a motorcycle ride to the Larena Port (the other port) to meet our friend JE, who came from a work trip in Tagbilaran.

Our ride from Siquijor Port to Larena Port; Geof tried to vlog while on the road 😂

The Bruce Resort

Our plan was to spend the 3 days & 2 nights in Siquijor but JE had to go back to go Dumaguete on Sunday night for following day work commitments. We agreed to just stay there for 2 days & 1 night. My friend JE recommended that we stay in Bruce Resort in San Juan.

Our triple room in Bruce Resort

We got ourselves a triple fan room for ₱1,200 per night (without breakfast). The room is a few meters from the beach. It comes with 1 double & 1 single bed with private toilet (with towels & toiletries). Guests can also refill their water bottles for free. This resort is strategically located in San Juan, it’s in the middle of all the major tourist spots. The resort also had a swimming pool which we were not able to use.

Bruce Resort’s beach 😍

Accommodation choices in Siquijor vary; you can find luxury & budget resorts, hostels & homestays in the island. Make sure to choose the type of accommodation that suits you. If you are looking for a budget & nice place to stay, I’ll recommend The Bruce Resort in San Juan, Siquijor.

Siquijor Coastal Tour

Siquijor is only a small island. If you are coming from Dumaguete or South of Cebu, you can actually go there in the morning, explore for the day & go back in the afternoon. The island’s most popular tour is the coastal tour. The most convenient way for small groups to take this tour is to rent a tricycle for a day for ₱1,000. The rate is directed by the local tourism office, so expect that all tricycles will offer the same price. We arrived late on our first day so we decided to split up the coastal tour into 2 days, also to have more time in each place. We went to the following places:

St. Francis of Assisi Church

The St. Francis of Assisi Church, commonly known as the Siquijor Church, is the very first landmark you’ll see upon stepping out of the Siquijor Port. The parish was established in February 1, 1973. Just like any other church made during the Spanish colonial era, this was also made of stone.

Larena Triad Coffee Shop & Restaurant

View from the restaurant 😍

This coffee shop & restaurant was the place we had lunch after meeting up with JE. Situated on the top of a hill, this place offers a panoramic view of the coasts & the sea. From the view deck, you can see the islands of Cebu, Negros & of course, Siqujor. Food was unexpectedly good & was reasonably priced.

Guiwahon Mangrove Park

This mangrove park has a man-made wooden track / bridge between mangroves. They also have cottages for rent if tourists decide to stay for a few hours. I forgot to ask for the cottage rental rates (sorry). Guests are required to register & pay ₱10 entrance fee.

Enchanted Balete Tree

The enchanted balete tree is a 400-year old tree located along the national road in Lazi. A visit to the tree premises is free; but the place also offers a fish spa for only ₱10 per person.

San Isidro Labrador Church

The San Isidro Labrador Church or Lazi Church is the largest & oldest Church in Siquijor. It was built in 1884 using stone & wood.

Inside Lazi Church ⛪

San Isidro Labrador Convent

The San Isidro Labrador Convent is situated in front of the Lazi Church. This is a museum of historical artifacts & antiques. Unfortunately, the museum was closed when we were there.

Cambugahay Falls

Cambugahay Falls is a three-tiered cascading falls with clear water coming from natural springs & rainwater. The falls is 100+ steps down from the main road. The highlight of visiting this place is trying their Tarzan swings – hanging in the man-made vine & jumping into the water. There are 3 swings (with different heights); each swing costs ₱40 but you get unlimited tries. We stayed for more than 2 hours in this place & had more jumps than we expected – definitely our favorite in this trip.

Tip: Best to hire a guide that will take you around the falls. The guide will also serve as your photographer when you jump into the falls. They don’t have a prescribed rate; but I think it’s best to give them ₱100-₱200.

Salagdoong Beach

Salagdoong Beach is located in the small town of Maria, Siquijor. Located a few downhill minutes from the main road, this place is famous for its cliff diving spot, rock formations & a nice white sand beach. The resort has a restaurant where you can have your lunch. They also have cottages for rent & rooms for overnight accommodation. Entrance fee to the resort is ₱25 per person. Make sure to conquer your fear & try cliff diving. I tried it twice & it was hell of fun!

View from the cliff diving spot 😍

Tip: Do not go here on a weekend, especially on a Sunday. Locals usually go here for Sunday family excursions. We were there on a Sunday & the place was crowded.

Two other tourist spots we missed out (due to time constraints) in the coastal tour are Calipay Spring Park, a public natural spring made by the local government for the locals & visitors, & Paliton Beach, one of the nice beaches in the island.

Cebu Detour

After enjoying a nice late lunch & afternoon in Salagdoong Beach, we went back to Siquijor Port to buy tickets for the last ferry trip to Dumaguete. Upon arrival in the port, we found out that Ocean Jet still doesn’t have trips & all the other trips were fully booked. It was a blessing in disguise we were with JE – he knew another way of going back to Dumaguete, via Liloan in Cebu.

View from the ferry en route to Liloan, Cebu

We immediately went to the other port in Larena & got tickets for the 5:00 pm ferry trip to Liloan, Cebu. The slow ferry ride took us about 2 hours. Upon arrival in Liloan Port, we took the tricycle to the fast craft terminal to Sibulan. Thank God we made it to the last trip for the day at 7:30 pm. The trip to Sibulan Port (located in the town beside Dumaguete City) took us 30-40 minutes. We were back in Dumaguete before 9:00 pm.

Dumaguete City Side Trip

We only had 1 night & 1 morning in Dumaguete so we weren’t able to go to the nearby attractions like Manjuyod Sand Bar, Casaroro Falls & Apo Island. We only stayed in the city in our short stay. Upon arrival in the city, we headed to the Sans Rival Bistro to have dinner.

Dinner with the boys at Sans Rival Bistro

After dinner, JE took us around the city. He showed us the church, the boulevard (like Manila’s Baywalk), the city church & bell tower, the city & provincial halls, the malls (haha) & other notable establishments. Then, we went to Golden Gate Suites to check in, leave our stuff & freshen up. We went out for coffee at midnight before we finally dozed off.

Our room in Golden Gate Suites, Dumaguete City

The following morning, we went out for breakfast at Cafe Mamia & dropped by Sans Rival Bistro to buy some treats for families & friends back home. We went back to the hotel & spent the rest of the morning there before heading to the airport for our flight to Manila.

A trip to Dumaguete will never be complete w/o buying the famous silvanas! 😋

Summary of Expenses

Everything might last-minute for this trip, but let’s have a look at how much I spent for the entire trip.

Spending ₱6,836 for a Siquijor weekend getaway (airfare included) is not bad. The airfare was definitely a bargain, considering it was booked 30 days before the trip. We obviously spent more on food but it was all good. We didn’t have enough time to explore more of Dumaguete but I look forward to visiting the city again soon.

Until our next trip! 😊

My friend Geof made vlogs about this weekend trip! Make sure to check  his Day 1 vlog & Day 2 vlog. Don’t forget to subscribe to his channel for more travels & adventures.

Have you been to Siquijor? How was your visit to the beautiful island? Are you planning to go there soon? I think you should! Feel free to post your questions in the comments section below. You can also send me an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. Drop me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

PS. Photos were taken using my HTC Re & HTC U11.

Throwback Thursday Treat: Third Time Fun in El Nido

It’s been over a month since my last trip blog post. I am very sorry I haven’t posted anything; I’ve been busy with work & personal stuff. I had several birthday celebrations; I’ve also been just back from a week in Bali & a weekend in my hometown in Albay. I hope everyone is doing well. I promise to keep up with all the content planned for the past weeks.

Anyway, back to business. It’s Thursday, so it’s time for another Throwback Thursday Treat! It’s been a year since my high school friends & I spent a long weekend in El Nido, Palawan (my 3rd time). I think it’s a good time to relive the good times we had in that short weekend trip.

View from El Nido town 😍

Airfare

Philippine Airlines had their annual Christmas sale last December 2015. I was able to book a round-trip ticket to Puerto Princesa City for only ₱1,636. The fare included a 10 kg check-in baggage allowance per way & in-flight snack. Not bad, right?

Screenshot of my ticket to & from Puerto Princesa, Palawan

All the while, the plan was to go to El Nido / Port Barton alone for a weekend, but my high school friends decided to join me on that same weekend. We had plans of going to El Nido but I never thought it will be during this trip that we’ll go there. At least, I didn’t have to enjoy paradise by myself.

Trip to El Nido

2 friends flew to Puerto Princesa days earlier & went around the city for a day & a half. Junelle & I flew on the same afternoon, but with via different airlines. Upon arrival in Puerto Princesa, we immediately went to our friend’s hotel located a few meters from the airport.

Upon arrival at Puerto Princesa International Airport

We had dinner at Kinabuch’s Grill & Bar in Puerto Princesa before heading to the bus terminal to catch the last night bus to El Nido. The air conditioned bus left at 9:00 pm & arrived in El Nido at around 2:30 in the morning. We headed to our respective accommodations & slept for the rest of the morning.

Accommodation

I already booked my accommodation right before my friends booked their flights. I got a dormitory bed in El Nido’s newest (that time) hip hostel – Spin Designer Hostel. I booked via Booking.com; the nightly rate includes a bed in a 4-bed dormitory room with toiletries & breakfast. I paid ₱2,750 for 4 nights.

Each guest is provided a room key card, a spacious bed & locker. Guests have access to common shower & toilet facilities. Wi-Fi is only available in common areas (not sure if they have given access up to the rooms). The hostel also organizes day trips & night activities like acoustic nights, sports nights, barbecue nights, etc. The common areas were well-designed & spacious. The hostel is very social; it’s very easy to meet & connect with new people.

The staff were one of the nicest & the most helpful I’ve met. The hostel is also secured with guards on duty 24/7 on both gates. If you are alone & keen on meeting new people, Spin Designer Hostel is the hostel for you. Make sure to book your stay early as they are usually fully-booked.

Note: My friends stayed in a different accommodation because there were no other beds available in Spin Hostel.

Nacpan Beach Day 1

We hired 2 tricycles for ₱1,200 each for a day trip to Nacpan Beach. We left around 10:00 in the morning & decided to stay there up until 4:00 in the afternoon. It was supposed to be a day of relaxation, but the weather didn’t cooperate. It was raining most of the afternoon. We still had fun in the beach despite the heavy rainfall.

‘Habang umuulan’ photo with Junelle 😂

We headed to Las Cabanas Beach to watch the sunset, but it wasn’t at its best. The sky was cloudy; you could barely see the sunset. We went back to our respective accommodations to freshen up. We met up at 7:00 pm to have dinner at Trattoria Altrove, a known Italian restaurant in town.

Tour A Island Hopping Tour

Tour A is a must when in El Nido. It is my 3rd time to visit this place & I still go back for this tour. For the third time, I took Tour A – an island hopping day tour which goes to different lagoons & beaches in Bacuit Bay.

We booked the tour in the agency partner of our Nacpan tricycle driver. The tour is priced at ₱1,200 but we got ours for ₱1,100 each because we were a group of 4. Our driver picked us up at 8:00 am & we went straight to the beach. We left the town at 8:30 am & enjoyed the tour around the islands until 4:00 pm. Here are the places we visited:

Small Lagoon

Secret Lagoon

Snorkelling somewhere near Miniloc Island

Shimizu Island (also the place where we had lunch)

Big Lagoon

Seven Commando Beach

Nacpan Beach Day 2

We had a little debate whether we’ll take Tour C or go to Nacpan Beach again for our 3rd day. We wanted to relax a bit so we went for the latter. The weather was perfect & the beach was at its best! I’ll let the photos show how relaxing the place was.

Nacpan & Calitang Twin Beach 😍

Last Day

Right before eating lunch in Badjao Seafront Restaurant 

We took the 8:00 am Camarih Transport shuttle back to Puerto Princesa; dropped by the pasalubong center to get some goodies for families & friends back in Manila; ate lunch at Badjao Seafront Restaurant (a must-eat restaurant in Puerto Princesa) & headed to the airport for our flights back to Manila.


It was short but fun weekend trip with my high school friends. We’ve been to different places & countries & I think this El Nido was one of the best trips we had. We don’t have anything planned for our next trip (ehem); I hope we get to decide where we’ll go next & when will that be. I could travel the whole world with these people.

El Nido ’16 crew group photo 😊

If you haven’t read it yet, I already blogged about my past 2 El Nido trips – March 2014 trip & 2014 Birthday Weekend. Have you been to El Nido recently? Any notable changes in infrastructure, island hopping tour costs, etc? Feel free to let me know by putting some comments below. You can also send me an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. Drop me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

The world-famous Big Lagoon during low tide

Curious how I booked my super duper cheap round-trip ticket to Puerto Princesa? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Head over to this post (and this post too) to know more.

‘Til the next throwback Thursday post! 😉

PS. All photos above were shot using my HTC Re.

Good News Sunday: Philippine Passport Validity Extended To 10 Years

GOOD NEWS Filipino travel community!

Last 2 August 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10928 amending Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8239, commonly known as the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.

RA 10928 extends the RA 8239 5-year passport validity provision to 10 years. Note that this this only applicable to Filipino citizens 18 years old & above. Filipinos under 18 years old at the time of application will be issued passports with 5-year validity.

The republic act also mentions, “That the issuing authority may limit the period of validity to less than ten (10) years, whenever in the national economic interest or political stability of the country such restriction is necessary.

It also states that the act will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a national newspaper.