Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bewitching Siquijor

Last weekend was the last long weekend for the first half of the year, and the next one is not due until November which is like 4-5 months away. With the good weather holding and the job sked allowing a break, followed the lead of blog reader, Eric Mahinay, and went to Siquijor. No, not in search of the usual tales of witching hours and strange brews that have kept this beautiful province under the radar for most tourists.N ot a few people warned me about coming here. But I trust God will keep me from harm and my curiosity and wandering itch cannot be quelled that easily. 

My jump-off point was Dumaguete since the plane fare was cheaper than Bohol's and the ferry service much shorter. A delay in Cebu Pacific sked last Saturday caused me to miss the Delta Fast ferry trip at 9.15 am in Dumaguete so had to settle for the slower Delta Car ferry at 11.30. This was well and good since i had a chance to catch up on sleep (was up so early -- at 12mn maybe because of the excitement over the trip, my first lonely-planet style trip in a long time). As always, I made instant friends with all sorts of people -- from the habal-habal driver who drove me to Sandugan from Siquijor port, to Hans, the transplanted German who stays at the Casa de la Playa -- so much so that wandering around was easy. I was making lakwatsa the moment after I ate my late lunch.

My departure yesterday was not without tense moments as i made a tactical error -- not buying ferry tickets in advance. I missed the Delta Fast ferry again at 10. But the Delta Car ferry was a Godsend, leaving at 1.15 and docking in Dumaguete at 3.15. I was practically flying through dumaguete airport to check in. Hahaha, so much for really enjoying the stay. So will Ibe back? Definitely. this island needs more than a week to fully explore, and Cantabon Cave is right there in my radar. 

How to go to Siquijor: Several ferries ply the Dumaguete-Siquijor route daily docking at either Siquijor (Delta Fast & Delta Car ferry, travel times: 1 hour & 2 hours respectively, P160 & P70) or Larena (Montenegro); pumpboats also ply the route daily (haggle for rates; travel time around 1.5-2 hours) • Other ferries from Cebu passes through bohol headed for Siquijor several times a week • Accommodations available: from cheap inland inns (as low as P200/day) to upscale resorts (up to P4800/night at Coco Grove) • electricity and water supply available round-the-clock • Majority of establishments accept only cash • Two ATMs in Larena town (Allied & Landbank)
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