Diving in Siquijor
Siquijor Island, or Isla del Fuego as the Spanish named it, due to the intensity of fire flies that harbored in the numerous molave trees on the island, lies some 22km east of Southern Negros. Siquijor is separated from its neighboring islands by the Cebu Strait in the northwest and the Sulu Sea in the southwest.
Easily accessed from Negros Oriental’s capital city Dumaguete, legend has it that Siquijor rose from the sea during a tremendous thunder storm. Sited as evidence are fossils and giant clams which can still be found in Mount Bandila-an, Siquijor’s highest point. While the coastline is mostly white sand beaches, the surrounding seas are teeming with tropical marine life. The interior of the island is mountainous and offers wonderfully exciting day trips by motorcycle or jeep.
Diving in Siquijor
Dive Shops on Siquijor can be found all around the Island. In the South are some larger resorts while in the north accommodation more suited for the budget traveler can be found. Many dive sites around the Island can easily dived using a shore entry. The marine life in around Siquijor has everything to offer and this is what makes the Philippine Islands famous. Fantastic coral gardens for snorkeling and diving, abundant marine life, fast drift-dives and beautiful walls. Siquijor was declared a marine reserve in 1978. Many dives can be done via shore diving and you will go with a small van to the dive-site. The Island is just too big to get to all sites via boat. So if you are a hardcore diver, you might consider staying a few days at the south coast of Siquijor and a few days in the north.
Some dive operators include Siquijor Island in their “Island-hopping” program. Most beach resorts in Dumaguete and Dauin also offer day-trips with three dives. Fom Negros, you will dive at the southcoast in the area of Paliton Wall.
Beach Resorts in Siquijor
Many basic backpacker-like Beach Resorts can be found all around Siquijor. Some run a own dive shop, others have only some scuba diving equipment and local dive masters on call.
However, due to the growing demand of international tourism, the standard gets better. Some new build beach resorts on Siquijor offer nowadays convenience and service which match international standard. Internet connection is available in most hotels, but keep in mind where you are and don’t expect it to be very stable and high-speed. IT is still good enough to write some emails to make the friends at home jealous.
Siquijor tourist business is still very much in its infancy – Siquijor Island is not a “tourist trap“ – it is a paradise waiting to be explored! Siquijor is full of interesting caves, waterfalls, rivers, rain-forests, historic buildings and many, many other interesting attractions. The local people are very helpful and friendly and crime remains relatively unknown!
Witches and Healers of Siquijor
To add to the mystique of Siquijor are the “Mananambals” or traditional faith healers whom mostly reside in the mountainous regions. Many rituals have been rumored to take place within the deep caverns of its mountains — ceremonials that were either for healing or for inflicting harm, or even for causing death to a person by means of black magic.
They are still actively involved in all sorts of esoteric healing practices, some of which are said to use white magic. This is especially prominent during Easter time where they congregate to practice primitive healing rituals where incantations are sung while the old folks make potions out of herbs, roots, insects and tree barks. Superstition has it that Siquijor still has so called “witch doctors” capable of inflicting injury or pain by the use of black magic. In reality though this practice died out many years ago.