Philippines Travel

Island of Witches: Siquijor, Isla de Fuego (Island of Fire)

Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor is like a treasure chest of natural wonders, cultural gems, and a sprinkle of magic. Siquijor, the mystical island of the Philippines, has secrets that only the bravest souls dare to uncover.

Here are some things to know about Siquijor:

Island of Fire

Island of Witches in the Philippines
Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor, also known as the “Island of Fire,” where the fireflies put on a dazzling light show in the mangrove forests, making it a must-see spectacle.  These fireflies create a magical spectacle as they light up the trees with their luminescence.

Natural Wonders

Island of Witches in the Philippines
Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor’s got it all – gorgeous beaches with water so clear you can see your reflection and sand so fine it’s like walking on powdered sugar. If you’re looking to soak up some sun and sea, don’t miss out on the hotspots of Salagdoong Beach, Paliton Beach, and Kagusuan Beach. Take a dip in the cool and calming natural pools of Cambugahay Falls and Lugnason Falls, two of the stunning waterfalls that grace this island paradise.

Mystical and Healing Traditions

Island of Witches in the Philippines
Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor is known for its enchanting reputation of mystical practices and ancient healing rituals. On the island, you can find some skilled “mambabarang” who can cure your body and soul using a mix of herbs, prayers, and rituals. The island’s reputation for witchcraft and sorcery certainly adds a touch of mystique to the place.

Why Siquijor is Known as the “Island of Witches?”

Siquijor, the enchanting province in the Philippines, has earned the title of “Island of Witches” for its close ties to traditional folk healing, mysticism, and folkloric beliefs. The island’s mystical reputation is not just a myth, it’s rooted in a rich history of traditional healing practices and folklore. 

Here are some reasons why Siquijor is known as the “Island of Witches”:

1. Folk Healing and Traditional Medicine

Siquijor is renowned for its traditional healers or “mangkukulam” who are believed to possess supernatural powers. These healers use traditional herbal remedies, rituals, and incantations to treat ailments and provide spiritual guidance. Their practices are deeply rooted in local beliefs and traditions.

2. Occult Practices and Mysticism

The island has a long-standing association with mysticism and occult practices. It is believed to be a place where magic, sorcery, and witchcraft are practiced. However, it’s important to note that these beliefs are deeply rooted in folklore and cultural traditions, and the portrayal of Siquijor as an “Island of Witches” is more of a tourist attraction rather than a reflection of actual witchcraft practices.

3. Festivals and Rituals

Siquijor sure knows how to keep things mystical and exciting with its year-round festivals and rituals. The “Healing Festival” or “Festival of the Anitos” is the talk of the town, where folks come together to pray, perform rituals, and ask for blessings to heal and seek blessings for healing and protection.

4. Tourist Attractions and Myths

Siquijor’s mystical reputation is now a sought-after tourist experience. The island’s mystical aura has a way of luring in curious visitors who can’t resist the temptation to explore its captivating beaches, mesmerizing waterfalls, and intriguing historical sites while indulging in the local folklores.

It’s important to note that the “Island of Witches” perception is largely based on folklore, cultural beliefs, and tourism marketing. Siquijor is a real-life paradise, where tranquility reigns supreme, the scenery is breathtaking, and the locals are as warm as the tropical sun. Plus, the island’s cultural legacy is as rich as its coconut cream pie. This place is like a mysterious enigma wrapped in a riddle, sprinkled with a dash of natural beauty. It’s the perfect spot to unravel the secrets of folklore and tradition.

Cultural Heritage

Island of Witches in the Philippines
San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi, Siquijor Island

Siquijor’s cultural heritage is as diverse as a box of chocolates, with a Spanish colonial flavor that will leave you wanting more. The island is a real-life history book, complete with ancient churches like the San Isidro Labrador Church and the Lazi Church. If you’re into time travel, the St. Francis of Assisi Convent is a must-see. It’s like stepping back in time but without the awkwardness of accidentally altering history.

Diving and Snorkeling

Island of Witches in the Philippines
Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor is a treasure trove for those who love to explore the underwater world. The island’s underwater world is a bustling metropolis of vibrant coral reefs and a diverse ecosystem, from flashy fish to chill sea turtles and even the occasional celebrity sighting of a whale shark. Tubod Marine Sanctuary and Paliton Wall are the Beyoncé and Jay-Z of dive sites – popular, iconic, and always in demand.

Festivals and Celebrations

Island of Witches in the Philippines
Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor knows how to throw a party and celebrate its culture with festivals bursting with life and tradition. Holy Week isn’t just about chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs, it’s also the time for the renowned Siquijor Healing Festival to work its magic. During this time, the island comes alive with processions, traditional dances, and healing rituals.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Siquijor is the perfect destination for those who want to indulge in the finer things in life, with a plethora of luxurious resorts, cozy guesthouses, and mouth-watering restaurants that cater to the discerning traveler. Hop on a ferry or fast craft from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental or Bohol and you’ll be island-bound in no time! 

How to Get Around Siquijor?

Siquijor may be small, but it’s got a big heart and an even bigger road network. Getting around is a breeze, so you can spend less time navigating and more time enjoying the island’s charms. 

Here are the common ways to get around Siquijor:

1. Motorbike or Scooter

Island of Witches in the Philippines
Island of Witches in the Philippines

Renting a motorbike or scooter is the way to go when exploring Siquijor. If you’re looking to explore the tourist hotspots of San Juan and Siquijor town, fear not! There are plenty of rental shops in the vicinity to help you get around. Why be tied down to a car when you can feel the wind in your hair and explore at your leisure on a motorbike?

2. Tricycle

Forget cars and bikes, tricycles are the real deal in Siquijor. These bad boys are basically motorcycles with a wingman (or woman) on the side. Perfect for quick trips or leisurely sightseeing. Either haggle like a pro or seek out tricycles with fixed rates.

3. Habal-habal

Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor’s version of Uber? Nope, just hop on a habal-habal and you’re good to go! You can hop on the back of a motorcycle and be taken to your desired destination. When tricycles can’t cut it, this mode of transportation swoops in like a hero to save the day and take you to those hard-to-reach spots.

4. Multi-Cab

Island of Witches in the Philippines

Multi-cabs are larger, jeepney-style vehicles that operate on fixed routes and carry multiple passengers. They are an affordable option for traveling between towns on the island.

5. Private Van or Car Rental

Island of Witches in the Philippines

Why settle for a cramped and chaotic commute when you can ride in style and luxury? Rent a private van or car with a driver and let the good times roll. Go big or go home! This choice is perfect for your squad or fam bam and guarantees a customized adventure.

Siquijor’s roads are as narrow and winding as a politician’s promises. So, let’s exercise caution when driving or riding a motorbike. Remember, your head is not as hard as the pavement, so wear your helmet. Obey the law, and don’t let the road catch you off guard. Unless you’re planning on using your feet as brakes, it’s probably a good idea to have a valid driver’s license before hopping on a motorbike or getting behind the wheel.

Warm and Friendly Locals

Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor is known for its warm and friendly locals who are always ready to welcome visitors with a smile. The island has a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility and genuine Filipino hospitality.

Environmental Conservation

Siquijor takes pride in its commitment to environmental conservation. The island is like a VIP guest, receiving the utmost care and protection for its natural resources. It’s like a spa day for Mother Nature. Let’s keep our planet happy and locals even happier by being responsible tourists. Follow the rules and show some love to the environment.

Spiritual Retreats and Wellness

Island of Witches in the Philippines

Siquijor’s tranquil atmosphere is so zen-tastic that it’s become a mecca for spiritual seekers, yoga enthusiasts, and wellness warriors. The island is a haven for those seeking to recharge their batteries, with a plethora of wellness centers and resorts offering a range of holistic and rejuvenating treatments.

Siquijor is a hidden gem in the Philippines, offering a mix of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and mysticism. Siquijor is the ultimate triple treat – adventure, relaxation, and spiritual enlightenment all in one island.

Here are 8 Best Places to Visit in Siquijor Island

1. Salagdoong Beach

Salagdoong Beach is a popular beach destination known for its clear turquoise waters and white sand. It offers activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and cliff diving from a 20-foot platform.

2. Cambugahay Falls

Cambugahay Falls: where the water cascades down in a breathtaking multi-tiered display, making it the ultimate natural wonder in Lazi. Its crystal-clear waters cascade into several natural pools where visitors can swim and enjoy the refreshing ambiance. For the thrill-seekers out there, they’ve got swings and ropes to add a little excitement to your day.

3. San Juan Beach

San Juan Sunset, Siquijor Philippines

San Juan Beach is so stunning, it’ll make you forget all your worries and just soak up the sun! This beach is so pristine, it’s like stepping into a postcard. The beach is the perfect spot for taking a dip, catching some rays, and admiring nature’s daily grand finale.

4. Paliton Beach

Paliton Beach is like a well-kept secret in Siquijor, where you can bask in its unspoiled beauty and enjoy the peace and quiet. The beach is basically nature’s way of saying “you’re welcome” for providing us with such a stunning view. It’s the ideal spot to unwind and bask in the serene atmosphere.

5. Lazi Church and Convent

San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (Lazi Church), Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines
San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (Lazi Church), Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines

The Lazi Church, or the San Isidro Labrador Church if you’re feeling fancy, is a real OG in Siquijor’s church scene. It’s been around for a hot minute and still manages to impress. This place has got some serious stonework games and a rich backstory that’s begging to be explored. Next to the church stands the Lazi Convent, a museum that displays religious artifacts and historical relics.

6. Mt. Bandilaan Nature Park


If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of life, look no further than Mt. Bandilaan Nature Park – the ultimate hideaway atop Siquijor. With its verdant woodlands, scenic pathways, and a fluttering butterfly garden, this sanctuary is the perfect place to find your inner zen. Behold the stunning vistas of the island from this spot, where a plethora of plant and animal life call it home.

7. Kagusuan Beach

Kagusuan Beach is the ultimate hideaway for those seeking a pristine slice of paradise in Maria. It is known for its calm waters, powdery white sand, and serene surroundings. For those who want to escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet, this secret beach is the perfect hideaway.

8. Siquijor Heritage Museum

Unleash your inner history buff and soak up the cultural goodness of Siquijor at the Siquijor Heritage Museum. Explore the museum’s treasure trove of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that unlock the secrets of the island’s rich history and fascinating inhabitants.

9. Century-Old Enchanted Balete Tree

The Century-Old Enchanted Balete Tree in Siquijor is like a celebrity that never ages, captivating tourists with its mystical charm and cultural significance. This tree is so old and big, it’s like the island’s own wise elder, reminding us of its natural awesomeness. The natural pool at the base of this attraction is a real catch, where tiny fish give visitors a relaxing foot rub. The Enchanted Balete Tree is like the VIP lounge for local spirits and supernatural beings. They just can’t get enough of it! The tree has become a popular destination, attracting tourists who can’t help but be awestruck by its magnificence. Visitors can even join in on the tree’s daily rituals and bask in the peaceful ambiance of the park. Prepare to be spellbound by the enchanting allure and rich cultural heritage of Siquijor as you explore this mystical site.

10. Lugnason Falls

Lugnason Falls is nature’s own secret hideaway, nestled amidst the verdant foliage of Siquijor Island. This hidden gem is a tranquil oasis, perfect for those in search of serenity and Mother Nature’s finest. The falls cascade down a series of tiers, creating a soothing ambiance and a refreshing environment.

Embarking on a short hike through the lush forest is the only way to reach Lugnason Falls, but don’t worry, immersing yourself in the island’s tropical charm is just a bonus. The journey is an adventure in itself, as it allows you to connect with nature and discover hidden gems along the way.

Prepare to have your eyes and ears serenaded by the enchanting symphony of falling water as you step into this idyllic oasis. Take a plunge in the refreshing pools beneath the falls and beat the heat like a boss in the Philippines! Dive into the refreshing natural pools and emerge feeling like a brand new person!

Calling all daredevils! Lugnason Falls beckons with its thrilling cliff-jumping opportunities into the abyss below. It’s like adding a dash of hot sauce to your meal – it’ll make your visit a spicy adventure!

Lugnason Falls is the perfect spot to bask in the unadulterated magnificence of Siquijor’s Mother Nature. Lounge leisurely in the tranquil atmosphere, dip into the invigorating waters, or perch by the cascades and bask in their grandeur.

Just like with your in-laws, it’s important to be on your best behavior when visiting natural attractions. Respect the environment and follow the rules, or suffer the consequences. Lugnason Falls is like a secret garden, beckoning you to come and frolic with Mother Nature while making unforgettable moments in this precious jewel of Siquijor.

11. Coco Grove Resort

© Trip Advisor

Coco Grove Resort in Siquijor is a premier beachfront resort known for its stunning natural beauty, luxurious amenities, and warm hospitality. 

 Situated along the picturesque coastline of Siquijor, Coco Grove Resort offers guests a breathtaking view of the Bohol Sea. Its location provides easy access to the island’s pristine beaches and popular tourist attractions.

The resort offers a range of accommodation options, including spacious rooms, suites, and private villas. Each unit is elegantly designed and equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay. Some accommodations feature private balconies or terraces that offer panoramic views of the sea or the resort’s lush gardens.

These are just a few of the many beautiful places to visit in Siquijor. The island offers a mix of natural wonders, historical sites, and tranquil beaches that capture its unique allure and charm.

1 Week Sample Itinerary for Siquijor

Here’s a suggested itinerary for a one-week trip to Siquijor:

First Day: Arrival and Exploration of San Juan

  • Arrive at Siquijor and check in to your accommodation in San Juan, which is known for its beautiful beaches.
  • Spend the day relaxing on the beach, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoying the sunset.

Second Day: Island Tour

  • Take a full-day island tour to explore the various attractions of Siquijor.
  • Visit the Cambugahay Falls and enjoy swimming in the cascading pools.
  • Stop by the enchanting Lazi Church and Convent, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Explore the century-old Balete Tree and try the fish spa experience.
  • End the day with a visit to Salagdoong Beach and try cliff jumping or snorkeling.

Third Day: Beach Hopping and Snorkeling

  • Spend the day beach hopping and snorkeling around the island.
  • Visit Paliton Beach, known for its powdery white sand and turquoise waters.
  • Explore Tubod Marine Sanctuary and go snorkeling to discover the colorful marine life.
  • Relax and enjoy the beach at Kagusuan Beach or Solangon Beach.

Fourth Day : Exploring Nature and Waterfalls

  • Start the day with a visit to Mount Bandilaan Nature Park, the highest peak in Siquijor.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the island from the viewpoint and explore the lush forest.
  • Visit the stunning Lugnason Falls and take a refreshing dip in the natural pools.
  • Explore the Guiwanon Spring Park and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Fifth Day: Dive or Snorkel Trip

  • If you’re a certified diver, join a dive trip to explore the vibrant underwater world of Siquijor.
  • Alternatively, go on a snorkeling trip to different snorkeling spots around the island.
  • Discover the colorful coral reefs and marine life, including sea turtles and tropical fish.

Sixth Day: Visit Apo Island

  • Take a day trip to nearby Apo Island, known for its incredible marine biodiversity.
  • Snorkel or dive in the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary and encounter sea turtles, colorful coral reefs, and various marine species.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach and relax in the beautiful island setting.

Last Day: Relaxation and Departure

  • Spend your last day in Siquijor relaxing on the beach, getting a massage, or simply enjoying the peaceful ambiance.
  • Take in the beautiful sunset views and reflect on your memorable week in Siquijor.
  • Depart from Siquijor with wonderful memories of the island.

Please note that this itinerary can be adjusted based on your preferences, available time, and specific interests. It’s recommended to check with local tour operators for updated schedules, as well as to inquire about specific activities or attractions you may want to include in your itinerary. Enjoy your time in Siquijor!

Island of Witches in the Philippines
Island of Witches in the Philippines

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