Siquijor Island

Welcome to the land of Fire! In ancient times, the island was feared for its dark magic, sorcery and witchcraft. The same story has been featured on Tv Shows. If you ask your grandmother/grandfather, they would probably tell you that it’s true and they may stop you from going. This may no longer be the case now but it’s best to be cautious.

I and my friends went there last May 2015. There were 6 of us. We took the midnight bus ride from Bacolod to Dumaguete and arrived just in time for breakfast. We ate at Hayahay Restaurant. Price ranges from 200-300. After breakfast, we headed to the port and rook the boat going to Siquijor. You will get there in less than an hour. White sand beaches and cool blue waters will welcome you. I honestly think it’s a waste they made the port on this part of the island. You will see that the beach isn’t so nice on other parts of the island. The quality of beach lessens the farther you go. The color of sand changes as you go farther away from the port. You will see more pebbles, rocks, seaweeds, and sea urchins.

We took a jeepney ride from Port to Candaping, Maria. You can see a lot of resorts and inns on the side of the road. Price is cheaper for backpackers but no one of us likes to sleep on a tent so this option was crashed out. Haha! We then rode a habal-habal going to our resort and if you are not used to riding in a motorcycle, you will be scared for your life. We stayed at Princesa Bulakna at Candaping, Maria. The staff here are nice people. Our driver was so friendly too! Sadly, there is no cellular reception on this part of the island. The road going to the resort is narrow and if you bring your car, you’d have to walk a few meters going to the resort. Don’t worry, your car will be safe. You can park it within the compound and a guard is stationed at the entrance.

We found it hard to look for food in the island. The resort serves food but only a limited number are available. And there’s only fish. It was sad to learn that there are no squids, crabs and shrimps on the resort. Accommodation is cheap for a 6 person air-conditioned room with bathroom. I’m just sorry that I can’t remember how much we spent but I can guarantee you it was cheap.

The entire place is huge and they even have a flower farm within the compound. You will see different kinds of flowering plants within the compound. The resort also has a short cut to a century old balete tree. There are good for 2 air-conditioned bamboo cottages on the upper part of the resort (I never asked how much, I’m sorry I never cared). We stayed on the lower part near the pool. We never enjoyed the beach because it was bad. It looked like a plantation for seaweeds.

The following day, the resort arranged us an island tour. We went to different beaches and found a few decent ones where we can swim in the sea. We went farther uphill for a nice island view and coffee. We stopped by a local carinderia on the side of the road to eat lunch. Don’t ask me where because I was too hungry to care haha! It was pretty expensive for a carinderia but we had no choice. As mentioned earlier, food isn’t everywhere. We then went to their church. Outside the church you can see locals selling different amulets, charms and potions. We then went up to Cambugahay falls where you can swing and jump to the water. Next is Salagdoong beach where we never got the chance to cliff jump because it was low tide by the time we arrived.  We enjoyed swimming in the sea though but a bit sad to go home without jumping off a cliff. It was supposed to be the highlight of our trip but well…everything happens for a reason I guess. Maybe I am meant to go back haha!

 

Meet and greet with the Gentle Giants

I’m telling you now that the title of this post is exaggerated. Why? Because I can’t dive so I’m merely watching the whales feed on planktons provided by the locals and I’m too afraid to go near it because   their tails are sharp and long. I got one sorry photo where the local fisherman pushed me into the water for an underwater shot with the whale. And my entire face was covered with my hair. It was a photo of my hair and the whale. So if you are someone like me, make sure to tie your hair or push it with a hairband or something to keep it in place. Enough of that. Let’s move on to how we got there.

This trip was on May 2014 and I’m sure prices have rocketed since. There’s a bit of an issue for this because whales are supposed to be migrating from place to place in search for food. However, since fishermen in the area keeps on feeding (luring) the whales, the whales have changed their nature which we may affect other marine behavior. If you remember your elementary science, it’s a cycle. It’s a domino effect but I’m no expert to say more so let’s not delve into this further. During our visit, there was a team of biologists conducting a study on large marine vertebrates.

From Bacolod, we took an economy bus going to Dumaguete. There was no air conditioning on the bus because it was economy (duh!). It was a very unfortunate trip because the bus stops every time a passenger is on the road to the point where passengers had to stand and squish themselves so they can fit in the isle. It was soooooooooo hot, our clothes are wet from sweat and I can feel the dust on my throat because the road is under repair. It took us 7 hours to get to Dumaguete. We were all spent! We stayed at CL Hotel near the boulevard. It was cheap at 2,500 for 7 people. They have a café on the rooftop and a live band at Friday nights. We took turns with the bathroom, we ate and then I slept because it felt like my spirit has left my body.

The following day, we went to the port and took a boat going to Santander, Cebu. If you are lucky, you will see dolphins frolicking in the sea. It’s a 30 minutes boat ride to Cebu. From Santander port, we took a tricycle going to Oslob. It was cheap and Manong Fernando was kind enough to help us look for a place to stay. We were idiots who went without a reservation so yeah you can judge me haha! We ended up at MB Sunrise View Resort and fortunately there is an available air conditioned room good for 7 people.

Food is affordable and the place is near the part of the sea where whales usually gather to feed. The resort hasn’t finished building their infinity pool so we never had a midnight swim. We woke up early because there is a seminar required for us to attend before we go on whale watching. Seminar starts at 8am and you can start whale watching at 9 am. We finished our activity before lunch. After lunch, we then arranged a trip with the resort. The owner allowed us to use their vehicle for a trip in the surrounding areas. We went to Tumalog falls first. The road is difficult but we managed to get to the drop off point. From there, we walked a few kilometers to get to the falls. I was really tired from the walk because the road has a lot of uphills! Anyway, we got there and the waterfall was nice and really cold and we had fun. We headed next to Baluarte. It’s an abandoned fort but the place was kept clean. You can sit and watch the ocean from there. It was a peaceful place to relax, meditate or walk.

Be warned! Restaurants and carinderia’s near Oslob are very expensive. So we stopped on the market to buy food instead and we had the caretakers cook it for our dinner. The day ended and we returned home the next day.

We also went to Sumilon Island. We paid 2,500 for the boat going to and from the main island. We were unable to book a reservation on the resort because we weren’t planning on it really. So we stopped at the entrance of the island were tourists can swim and visit the sandbar (if its lowtide). Unfortunately, it was high tide when we arrived.

Molocaboc

I know some of you haven’t heard of this place yet. Only a few local negrense (people of negros island) heard of it but has never been to the Island. I consider myself lucky to have known the existence of the island and actually been to the island before mankind can taint its beauty. I am also thankful for my friend, Charis Faith, who brought us to the island and welcomed us in her home, to her parents who were very accommodating, and to her cousins VR and Harvey who manned the boat for our island trip.

I went to the island twice. The first time with my cousin, Joren, and our friend, Charis. The second time with my friends from work.

How to get there:

Ride a bus going to Sagay or San Carlos City. The bus dropped us off in a park where tricycles await. Ride the tricycle going to Vito port. From Vito Port, ride a boat to Molocaboc. The boat trips are only until 12 noon and they make sure to fill the boat before they depart so you may have to wait a little. You also have the option of paying for a smaller boat going to the island for 800-1000 pesos. This option is convenient when the boat has left your group like what happened to ours haha!

 

When you arrive to Molocaboc, you have to walk in the manmade footpath to get to the Bantay Dagat tower. They will charge you 5.00 pesos per person and you can stay all you want. The bathroom was on repair during our visit. The tower is in the middle of the sea surrounded by crystal clear water.

VR and Harvey took us in the middle of the sea to watch the corals. You can literally just see them from the boat. Yes, the water is that clear. They took us farther up the island with white sand beaches and calm waters. There was nothing on that part of the island except trees so you have to bring all you need. Later that afternoon, we watched the sunset on the sandbar near the mangrove plantation.

The island does not have a resort or inn. No supply of water and no supply of electricity. Some residents have generators for use during the night and In case you can’t go back before sunset, some locals offer their homes for a fee. Water is scarce so it’s expensive on the island. They have to purchase water from neighboring island using boats. Also, make sure to bring food. There are no restaurants in the island.

Please bring your garbage with you. Never drop it in the water for all our sake.

 

 

Bantayan Island, Cebu

I am currently in Bacolod, Negros Occidental Philippines. As you well know, the country is made up of a group of islands so it’s safe to say you can’t avoid boat rides if you plan to go somewhere. There are multiple ways to get to Bantayan Island.

HOW TO GET THERE

You can fly or sail to Cebu and travel up north to Hagnaya Port. From there, ride a boat/ferry to the Island. You can bring your cars using this route. You will arrive at a port in Sta. Fe where you can immediately see white sand beaches and blue waters. You can find resorts from there.

From Bacolod, you can ride a BATA/MANDALAGAN/NORTHBOUND jeepney to reach the North Terminal. We took a bus going to Cadiz. From Cadiz terminal, we took a tricycle going to the port. Please note that the first boat trip will depart at 9am. You have to arrive at the port early because tickets are limited and there is no guarantee of a second trip going to the Island. The deciding factor for the second trip would be the number of passengers waiting in the port or those who were left by the 9am boat ride. The boat ride going to Bantayan port is 2 hours. You will arrive near the public market so you can purchase things you need from here. From there, ride a tricycle or jeepney going to your resorts. You can also ask your driver to stop somewhere to buy things you need or somewhere to eat.

Please make sure to make your reservations especially during peak seasons (March – May) so you can be at the resort of your choice. I recommend Sta fe beach club, Amihan beach resort, Anika, Kota and Budyong. We went there on March and almost all beach front resorts were fully booked so you can start booking by February.

ISLAND EXPERIENCE

I went to Bantayan twice. First was on May 2015. It was a trip with my team where we spent our team budget. We had 10,000 pesos and there were approximately 13 of us. We stayed at Sugar Beach resort. It was a public resort and it was cheap. There is a long stretch of fine white sand. You can see kids playing with their skim boards and they were nice enough to let my friends borrow it. There were a lot of palm trees providing shade for the entire resort so it’s nice to lay in the shade and read or chat with your friends. There were beach front cottages and a few rooms available for an overnight stay. We brought a tent too! It wasn’t much but it was okay since the Island took a hit from typhoon Yolanda and their facilities were destroyed. The caretaker can cook for you too (for a fee of course). We rented bicycles for the entire day and we used it to explore the island. Sadly, the resort is now close due to land disputes. It would be nice to have it reopened and developed.

Second was on April 2016 with 4 people and 3 kids (8 in total). We took the same route because it was the best and shortest option for us since we’re all from Negros Island. We stayed at Seaview Appartelle for 2 nights and ate meals outside. You can see restaurants everywhere and there is a newly opened food park for those who want an affordable variety of food.

You can arrange an island tour with your resort/hotel but it can be expensive. Instead, we talked to the locals and arranged a trip to Virgin Island, Paradise beach, and Ogtong cave (owned by Sta. Fe Beach Club). Our boatman, Manong Ronald, also took care of our food. We arrived at Virgin Island in less than 30 minutes.

Virgin Island is a small stretch of land with fine white sand beaches, blue water, rich marine life and a floating bamboo cottage. It was really nice. We paid for our cottage and ate our food.

Ogtong cave is an underground cave where you can swim. Unfortunately, it was too crowded during our visit so we didn’t get the chance of swimming in the cave. It was even crowded in the spiral stairway going down the cave where people wait for their turn. The resort where the cave is located has a swimming pool but our main goal was the cave so we decided to not waste time on the pool since you can find pools anywhere. We departed for Paradise beach.

Paradise beach is more of a private beach with fine white sand which is common to the place. Only a few people were there during our visit. We took our time squealing and jumping from the jagged rocks. Mind you, it’s dangerous. We returned to the main island before sunset and ate dinner at a random restaurant. We then enjoyed a drink at Cou Cou Bar before heading back to our room. We departed for Cadiz the following day.

The boat from Bantayan to Cadiz departs at 9am and seats are limited so you have to be there early. I will show you a list of my trip expenses but I may have forgotten a few items so please forgive me

List of Expenses in Philippine Peso

*note: fare and price changes from time to time

Jeepney fare going to Bacolod north terminal – 7.00

Bus fare from Bacolod to Cadiz (aircon) – 100.00

Tricycle from cadiz terminal to cadiz port – 25.00/person

Boat fare from cadiz port to bantayan island – 290.00

Seaview Appartelle – 900/night good for 2

N&F Guesthouse – 

Bike rent – 100 for the entire day

Scooter rent – 200 for the entire day excluding gas

Boat for Island Hopping – 900 – 1, 300.00

Island Hopping food (grilled pork and fish + 2 kilos of rice) – 600.00

Virgin Island Entrance fee – 500.00 for the first 2 people and 100/head for the rest

*note: we divided the total sum

Ogtong cave – 100/head

Paradise beach – 50/head

Contact information

Manong Ronald (boat) – 09324974639

Bing-bing tricycle – 09473966384

Jules (boat) – 0907 011 9236/0929 548 6410

If you are a fan of vlogger Christian LeBlanc, you’d know that this island ranked 2 on his video entitled “PHILIPPINES TOP 10”. To give you a short background, he’s a Canadian who left the corporate world and travelled the world. He was named by TIME Magazine as the most influential person in the world on the year 2006. You can check his website at http://lostleblanc.com

Hope this helps!

 

Help Plan your Trips!

It will be summer soon in the Philippines. I know people will be looking for information from the internet just like what I did on our previous trips. As mentioned on my first ever post, I am mainly here to help you plan on your upcoming trips. Personally, this blog is a form of gratitude to those who have documented their trips online helping me and my friends plan for ours. I am sorry that I cannot remember all of you, but thank you so much. I have made good memories with my friends (and really nice Instagram photos) because of you lot. You all have been a great help.

I will try my best to post raw photos to help you decide on where to go next. I am planning to post something about the following places:

Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines

Siquijor Island, Philippines

Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

Molocaboc, Sagay City, Philippines

Sipalay, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Danjugan Island, Cauayan, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Guimaras Island, Iloilo, Philippines

Isla de Gigantes, Carles, Philippines

Lakawon, Cadiz, Philippines

Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines

Badian, Cebu, Philippines

Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines

You can check my Instagram account: miamaldita

Guilty Smile

Have you ever smiled or laughed at something and felt guilty for doing so? 

Well, I did. Many times. 

For someone who’s having a hard time, I sure laugh a lot. 

It must be my brain though.

Or, it must be my heart.

But it may be my humanity.

It may be a shield to keep my sanity. 

That, I do not know.

I have people to rely on, I know. 

But for someone who was told to be a dead weight, I cannot force myself to ask.

I can only hope they would hear my cry. 

A cry for help.

A cry for salvation.

A cry to live.

A cry to survive. 

Would it be too much to ask?

Would it be foolish to hope? 

Stray Dog


It barks for defense
It bites when threatened
It wanders for shelter
It looks for food

It runs in the rain
It howls in the night sky
It shivers in the cold
It lives with freedom

It sees a lot of things
Meets a lot of creatures
But will never have a home
And will never belong somewhere
And yet, they survive

I wonder
Can you call it living? 
I am a shell made to exist for something
But, can I find it? 
Or am I a stray dog?