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Siquijor Diving! The Philippines diving scene continued!

Gooooood morning divers!

Anda beach
Siquijor Island

After experiencing beautiful Anda - Bohol, The next stop was one I have never been to, for no good reason. After hearing some stories, I knew my next location: Siquijor.


An easy trip from Tagbilaran port, the ferry sailed me to Siquijor in 2 hours, off to my next adventure, and boy, I wish I visited sooner!




In this blog I'll be sharing the following:



 

Leaving Anda.

While leaving Anda was a sad moment for me, I was also excited to go and explore my next destination: Siquijor Island!


I said my goodbyes to the kind people I have met here, like Zach, Maribel, and the Old castle staff, and got myself a tricycle to Menduilgan, the next big(ger) town about 15 minutes away.


The van I was supposed to take from there arrived exactly at the time I was there, and with an easy transfer, I could hop into the van, that would take me straight to Tagbilaran!


 


Getting to Siquijor.

Siquijor island is quite popular as a tourist destination for many people traveling to Cebu and/ or Bohol, because of its proximity, and easy accessibility.


From Tagbilaran port, I was first dropped off at a ticket counter in a small shopping center, where they only sold tickets on Wednesday and Saturday. As I was there on a Friday, I was surprised to hear this, as nobody told me.


When hailing a tricycle to take me closer to the port area, I found Oceanjet Ferries Ticket Office right outside the port entry. Looking closer, they, fortunately, had daily ferries leaving at 1 PM and earlier times even to Siquijor!


I wasn't in any rush, so I took the 1 PM ferry, which took about 2 hours to get to Siquijor island.


Once arrived in Siquijor the tricycle drivers will be waiting for you. As I was alone, I decided to instead talk to some people who seemed to be renting out scooters, since I wanted to do a scooter tour around the island anyways, I might as well get one right away.


As always, they started with 500 pesos per day, which is way too much, I knew by now. So because I was renting a scooter for a week, I got the price down to 350 pesos/ day which is still probably 50 pesos more than needed, but being tired from travel, I decided to go ahead and get to my hotel as soon as possible, for some well-deserved rest.


The scooter ride to San Juan took me around 15 minutes, with all my bags with me, and driving quite slowly.


The hotels, restaurants, and bars are almost all found on the main road, circumventing the island, which is quite handy. Once arrived at my hotel I immediately took off again, to arrange diving for the next day, since this was the big reason I was there!


My room in the homestay was lovely. With only 2 rooms available I of course chose the oceanview stay, with a private beach, hammocks, workspace, and sand between my feet, right in front of my room. Lovely!




Siquijor Beach
Siquijor beach


Dive site map Panglao
Dive site map Siquijor

An impression of the diving scene in Siquijor.

Diving in and around Siquijor is actually quite simple: The west side is the best, the north is possible, and the northeast has the only chance to spot sharks.


Most dive centers are located in San Juan. Around 5 or so, I spotted right away on the main road, but many more are restarting operations again, since closing down for Covid.


I walked in with Sea Pearl Divers, run by Jay and Valerie, and felt right at home. They offer some great diving packages, greatly reducing the price of diving to 1350 pesos per dive if you book 7+ dives with them. How you will fill this in, is up to you, which I always appreciate!


Siquijor diving is reef and wall diving. There are no wrecks nearby, as far as we know and the reefs are barely to not at all affected by the typhoon. Visibility is as can be expected in this part of the Philippines, so expect 20+ meters any day!


Diving in Siquijor can be done all year round, however, you will usually have the best conditions between November and March. Currents are almost none, and seeing as the bay/ beach area is quite far outstretching from the coastline, this would be an excellent place to do your open water diving course(s).



Striped Catfish
Striped Catfish


North side Siquijor Island
Northside Siquijor Island

 


San juan on map
San Juan on the map

San Juan:

San Juan would be the best and perhaps only real good option to stay when you're diving in Siquijor. The whole island takes about 3 hours to drive around, and do some sightseeing, and San Juan is just along the main road, with all kinds of accommodations, restaurants, and bars for you to check out.


I spend 7 days here total, and I tried a different restaurant every day for lunch and dinner so at least 14 good options for food and/or drinks are available within 10 minutes of driving from the "Center".


Places I could recommend are:

- Monkey business (eating on a swingset, need I say more)

- Baha bar/ restaurant (live music and homemade IPA beer)

- Sushi bar (next to Monkey business, run by 2 young guys, making excellent sushi and ramen)


 

Siquijor hotel oceanview
Siquijor hotel ocean view

Waterfalls:

Cambugahay waterfalls is an amazing day trip on your deco days. You can rent a scooter for 400 pesos for a single day, to explore the island and spend the afternoon swimming and jumping in these waterfalls. Swinging ropes and rafts are present to jump in, in style!

The waterfalls are about 20 minutes away from San Juan and the entry fee is only 20 pesos.


Cambugahay Waterfalls
Cambugahay Waterfalls

The Island:

Siquijor is a relatively small island, very easily traveled. Scooter rentals are available everywhere, and driving around the complete island, you can just follow the road circumventing it, getting off, wherever you prefer. I found most of the tourists will stay near the South and West side of the island, and locals can be found more to the North.


If you choose to head more inland, almost every road is connected, so dead ends rarely occur. Which makes this island, perfect for exploration!


Waterfalls Siquijor
Waterfalls Siquijor

 

Mysticism & Healing:

Siquijor is an island of many tales and legends about mysticism, healing, and also terrifying stories about vampire-like creatures and were horses!


When talking to local people though, I soon found out that the "bad" stories aren't widely accepted as being true. But for the most part, the "good" stories, about healing, the so-called "Bolo-bolo healing" is though.


Most people on Siquijor are Christian, due to Spanish occupation in the past, and you will still find many churches along the main road. The interesting thing to me was, that many of these locals, although Christian, also believe in this "bolo-bolo healing".


The art of bolo-bolo is as simple as a glass bottle, with a black stone and straw being placed against a certain part of the body, for example, your back, when you have back pain. The healer then blows through the straw, believing the bubbles take the bad cells and release them from the body.


You can believe whatever you want, but there have been reports of incredible recovery stories, saying they used these techniques (there are quite a few others).


You can still find some of these traditional healers around Alena port for example, as they believe, the skills pass down, from generation to generation.


Turtle up close
Turtle up close


Brittle Sea Star
Brittle Sea Star

Getting there, and away:

To get to Siquijor, the best way about it is to travel to either Dumaguete or Cebu (via Tagbilaran). Ferries depart daily, multiple times per day to both locations, although Dumaguete is only 30 minutes by boat, you can get to Tagbilaran (800 pesos) or Cebu (1600 pesos) in 2-4 hours as well.



Fish on table coral
Fish on a table coral
 
Palitan Wall
Palitan Wall

The most memorable dive sites!

There are many very good dive sites in Siquijor. Below I will summarize my favorites. Some of them are reason enough to book that airplane right now.


A few good spots to go diving are:

  1. Tambisan Wall

  2. Palitan Wall

  3. Coral Garden

  4. Diosa




1. Tambisan Wall.

Tambisan wall is perhaps my favourite dive site I visited in Siquijor. I always love wall diving and this wall starts at an easy 8 meters, before dropping down to around 40 meters maximum depth.


Walls are usually filled with life, and nudibranchs, crevaces, moray eels, and turtles can be spotted, as well as scorpionfish and octopuses.





2. Palitan Wall.

Palitan wall starts very close to Tambisan, and perhaps is part of the same actual wall, but offers a different vibe. More outcrops, crevices, and lots and lots of garden eels can be seen here if you drop down to around 32 meters.


Walls are usually filled with life, and nudibranchs, crevaces, moray eels, and turtles can be spotted, as well as scorpionfish and octopuses.





3. Coral Garden.

Perhaps the most famous dive site in Siquijor, this easy dive starts at 6 meters to a maximum of 20 meters. You will start with a sloping reef, finishing your dive in a beautiful area with sandy bottoms, and coral outcrops.


Turtles, octopuses, scorpionfish, and many smaller schooling fish will keep you busy constantly!


Coral Garden Fish
Coral Garden Fish


4. Diosa.

Diosa is another "easy" dive site, starting in the bay area, at around 6 meters deep. You will follow a sloping reef the entire dive, and you will have a good chance to spot multiple turtles here since the dive is mostly between 5 and 20 meters deep.


Currents are almost non-existent in Siquijor, so relaxed diving all around!


Scorpionfish
Scorpionfish

 

What's next?

The next blog will be from The Philippines!

My next planned trip is to revisit Coron, El Nido & Port Barton.


The coming months will be very exciting! I will visit one of the best places for diving In the World, after that, go completely off the beaten path to a very, very remote place. And after that, I will try to visit Thailand and give you all the best places to go diving and perhaps avoid the most tourist places.


This will hopefully make for amazing stories, photos, and travel tips!


Thank you for taking the time to read this, any questions or tips can be sent to contactdivingscene@gmail.com, and remember:


"If you can breathe, you can dive"


 

Want to visit The Philippines or Siquijor? Book your stay and/or travel








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