There is so much to find in the mystical sleeves in the Island of Siquijor. It’s a quiet and peaceful place. Ideal for those who want to escape from the hurly-burly of city life.

When in Siquijor, you may stay in any of the more popular tourist spots. Or, explore the unbeaten path. It’s your choice. Either way, you will surely find that there is more to this island than the stereotype land of magic. It’s a paradise, indeed!

Siquijor Island in the Visayas may have earned the stigma of being a mystic island - a land of sorcery and bizarre things. But that unfounded stigma itself has helped preserve the natural beauty that makes Siquijor. Surrounded by unspoiled turquoise water, white sandy beaches, and home to a number of spectacular caves. The island is the ideal getaway for those seeking peace and quiet. Its warm and friendly locals also make your stay more comfortable.

Unfortunately, though, the terrorist attacks that recently broke out in certain regions have kept foreign tourists from coming to the Philippines. But one thing I can assure you: not all of the Philippines is a war zone. And Siquijor is one of the safest places you can spend your vacation in. It’s a secluded island. In fact, the only armed conflict it has ever known was the Second World War. Anyway, here are some of the things to expect in Siquijor.

Beach hopping around Siquijor Island

Yes, you can literally go from one stunning white sandy beach to another - for a minimal or no cost at all.

● Paliton Beach. The Paliton Beach may not have a powdery sand like what Boracay has. But unlike its more popular counterpart, Paliton Beach is not crowded. You can even have the whole stretch of the beach to yourself. It offers you quiet and peace moments even as you enjoy swimming and snorkeling in its clear waters.

● Tubod Marine Sanctuary. If seeing the underwater life is what you want to experience, visit the Tubod Marine Sanctuary. You would rarely see big marine life here, though. Irresponsible fishing in the past has taken its toll on much of marine life here. But, you can still expect to find a lot of smaller species in the sanctuary. Some of the sights to behold include the usual reef fish, titan triggerfish, and unicorn fish. The sanctuary is also home now to a stretch of healthy corals.

● Kagusuan Beach. Had it not for a blog that came out in a travel magazine, no one would ever know that there is Kagusuan Beach. Yes, this secluded place was known only to the locals. From the small community called barangay Liloan, you have to find the narrow road that leads to a concrete stairway. When you reach the foot of the stairway, you will be pleasantly surprised at the azure, clear, and unspoiled waters of the Kagusuan Beach.

Kagusuan is just a small place. Perhaps, too small to develop for commercial use. And, I wish for it to remain in its raw natural state. Aside from swimming and snorkeling, you will find Kagusuan the perfect place to spend quiet moments with nature. An added attraction here are the limestone boulders that sporadically sit on the beach. Rather than an eyesore, these boulders add beauty to the coastline. These are but few of the many beautiful beaches around Siquijor Island. If you choose to go for the unbeaten path, expect to find more of the island’s natural treasures. But if you are curious to go where many visitors have gone and returned to, go to Coco Grove Resort and other destinations. Do you want to have an adrenalin rush? Try cliff jumping. Witnesses say only the brave can plunge from a platform 35 feet above the clear aquamarine waters of Salagdoong Beach. And countless people were brave enough to do it!

More places to explore in Siquijor

● Spelunking. If you are not claustrophobic, wander through some of the caves in the island. Cantabon Cave, for one, is a natural wonder. Expanding at a length of 30 meters with a narrow and rocky path, Cantabon Cave is famous for its stalactites and stalagmites. The rock formations inside are impressive only the beholder can best describe.

● Communing with butterflies and nature. Relieve your stress among the sea of butterflies at the Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary. Located close to the highest mountain on the island, the sanctuary is a favorite destination for children. The sheer beauty of the insects plus the journey to the destination itself is truly spectacular. Once you are at the peak, you get a good view of the ocean surrounding the island of Siquijor.

● Have a date with the fish. There’s a centuries-old ‘balete’ tree in Campalanas, Siquijor from which base flows a cool and refreshing spring. What’s amazing in this place, aside from the massive old tree, is that when you dip your feet in the spring water, a number of little fish would gather around your feet to give you a free spa. Yes, the Garra rufa species, or doctor fish, which are otherwise commonly found in expensive spas in the country will readily nibble at your dead skin for no cost at all.

Where to stay in Siquijor

Since Siquijor Island has become an increasingly popular destination among tourists, you can easily get an accommodation anywhere. Depending on your budget and environment preference, you can choose to stay in a backpackers’ lodge, homestay, or in beach resorts. The Stareway Rooms is a backpackers’ lodge that offers an accommodation for as low as around US$5 per person. It would be best if you inquire from the local office of the Department of Tourism for more accommodation and transportation choices around the island.

Having said all these, I want you to experience a quiet and wonderful island life in Siquijor. Explore Siquijor and you will understand why it is called the mystic island.