Part 1: Why You Will Love Siquijor – One of the Most Beautiful Ports In the Philippines

I believe in love at first sight. I have fallen in love with Siquijor from a photograph of two of my friends diving at the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary. So, I have asked travel couple Charlie and Paola Paralejo-Fernandez about it. I remember Paola telling me excitedly, “Pads, you SHOULD go there!” (Check their website here.)

It has taken months before I make up my mind to take the plane to Dumaguete City. From the airport, I take a van to the port where the boat to Siquijor is docked. There are two things I wish to see: Siquijor’s old churches and faith-life, as well as, the local government’s initiative to preserve marine life.

+++

When the Jesuit churches of Bohol, particularly Baclayon and Loboc were destroyed by the 2013 earthquake, I took a particular interest in Philippine Church History and the preservation and promotion of our pilgrimage sites. Living in the same community with Fr. Rene Javellana SJ who wrote several books and articles about churches, I found our table conversations enlightening.

In July 2014, I attended the Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific’s Colloquium for the Reconciliation of Creation in Sydney, Australia calling Jesuit and partner schools to consolidate efforts to care for creation. I was specifically attracted to marine preservation because it revived my undergraduate background in Marine Biology.

+++

And so, come with me to this adventure. I am particularly enjoying this trip because I am on my own backpacking. This is the boat ride to Siquijor.

One of the boats that ply the route from and to Siquijor. You can embark at the port of Dumaguete City.

One of the boats that ply the route from and to Siquijor. You can embark at the port of Dumaguete City.

And the most beautiful port greets me. Tell me, which port in the Philippines is within a stretch of white sand?

You take this covered walk to the Siquijor from the pier. To your right is a stretch of white sand beach. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

You take this covered walk to the town proper of Siquijor from this pier. To your right is a stretch of white sand beach. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

This is the white sand beach that will greet you when you arrive at the port of Siquijor. Photo by Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

This is the white sand beach that will greet you when you arrive at the port of Siquijor. Photo by Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

I take a tricycle to bring me to a modest resthouse in Dumanhog, Siquijor. The tricycle driver, Roland Borja (Mobile: 0926-8061594) recommends that I take an obligatory photo for visitors here first. It is right in front of the St. Francis of Assisi Parish with its belfry a few meters from the church.

The welcoming sign at the St. Francis of Assisi Church, Siquijor. It is imperative that you take your photo there upon arrival. Photo by Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

The welcoming sign at the St. Francis of Assisi Church, Siquijor. It is imperative that you take your photo there upon arrival. Photo by Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

As soon as I have checked in, I head for the beach. From what I am seeing, I know that my stay will be memorable. Why? Here it is.

The white sand beach in Dumanhog, Siquijor. Photo by: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

The white sand beach in Dumanhog, Siquijor. Photo by: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Note: In the next posts, I will bring you to every interesting town in Siquijor, such as San Juan, Lazi, Maria, Enrique Villanueva, Larena and Siquijor itself. We will do two things: celebrate God’s creation and resurrection. We will visit must-see scenery as well as must-pray places. Here are the links to the other parts of the story.

Part I: Why You Will Love Siquijor

Part II: Why You Will Love Siquijor: The Town of Lazi

Part III: Why You Will Love Siquijor: The Towns of San Juan and Maria

Part IV: Why You Will Love Siquijor: The Towns of Enrique Villanueva, Larena and Siquijor

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s