It’s quite daunting to hear someone going on a solo trip to mystical Siquijor. A lot of times I heard people say the place is known for witchcraft and whatever wizardry they have there. I went anyway, though it’s my first time to travel alone in my own country. Because despite those stories I heard, I still believe in the goodness of people and more so, the kindness of my fellow Filipinos.
On the ferry back to Bohol, I had a flashback of my trip in Siquijor. I had an awesome journey; enjoying the Tarzan jump at the breathtaking Cambugahay falls, touring the island on a motorbike, visiting old infrastructures, walking the pebbled beaches and talking to these friendly locals who have been part of my journey:
Irvin – the first I’ve met in the island who offered me ride to my hostel and tour on a motorbike. I was hesitant at first because I thought it’s too expensive so I asked for the town’s tariff just to make sure. He was so patient with taking my photos and me pleading to bring me somewhere I could watch the sunset. He didn’t mind wearing my hobo bag while I was enjoying the waterfalls. He has a 15yr old daughter and loyal to his wife. He said his daughter wants to pursue a course in the PMA and he said he would gladly support her. He’s been a guide in Siquijor for 7yrs and when asked how he finds his job, he said he loves what he does. If you plan to visit Siquijor, contact him through his mobile (0915) 890 3286 facebook account @Irvin Jay Bation
Eisen – (sounds like a German name huh?!) Eisen is a 5yr old kid I’ve met at the beach. I watched her while she wrote her name on the sand. She drew a huge heart around her name. I thought: that’s right, love and appreciate yourself Eisen. In time, you’ll realize how important it is to love and accept who you are. Eisen is really a German word which means “iron”. May she grow as tough as her name. I joined her writing names on the sand. Her dad’s a fisherman and her mom a housewife. She’s the youngest of her two siblings. She said she wants to be a teacher someday and I will never forget to include that in my prayers.
Marlo – the Baha Bar’s waiter with his authentic, broad smile. He noticed I was alone so he started a conversation and gave me tips on where to eat. He said Baha’s owner is a Filipina from Surigao and her British husband. The bar is fairly new and the first to have reggae and acoustics nights in the island. They celebrate Ladies Night on Wednesdays and drinks are 50% off. Damn, I should have visited on a Wednesday.
Casa Miranda family owner – I usually hang out on a hammock at the beachfront just beside their house. One night while their family was having dinner, and I lounging on a hammock, one of the kids invited me to join them. I remember they were talking to me in English when I arrived at the hostel, they thought I’m Japanese. Told them I’m from Manila, they said “Ah, Tagalog” and would refer to me as Tagalog lady since then.
The security guard at the port – I was checking in to get a seat number and he said I should pay the terminal fee first and that the ferry booth where to get the seat number is located more than 1km which meant I should walk under the blazing heat of the sun with my backpack. He offered to leave my backpack with him as I get my seat number, and I did. I trusted him and I got my bag back.
These are the humans of Siquijor. I’d say forget about the tales of spells and talismans that surround the island. The urban legend and semantics are irrelevant when you look at the macro picture and the most satisfying aspect of this trip was the glimpse of what it’s like to live in this place. If you go beyond such belief, you’ll discover that Siquijor is actually a hidden gem that every traveler should take time to visit at least once. Yes indeed there’s witchcraft here – and that’s the beguiling sights. This trip took a small leap of faith to trust that despite being a medium-sized Tagalog solo female traveler, I would nonetheless reap the great rewards from trying something new. With each experience, I’ve gained confidence to keep trying and my curiosity has only grown. With the stories of these people I’ve met, I wasn’t alone after all.
Daghan kaayong salamat Siquijor!