This guide to a Visita Iglesia in Siquijor was something I wrote for Tripzilla before this year’s Holy Week. I patterned this after a recent visita iglesia I did with a guest who visited Siquijor for the first time. While Siquijor will not boast of centuries-old and magnificent churches, we do have our share of historic churches.
The simplicity of the architecture of the churches in the island will give you an idea of what are the island’s mineral resources (lime stones), the role of the island in the grand scheme of Catholicism in the country (a vacation/retreat place for friars), and how the island fared with the rest of the country during the two World Wars and calamities (earthquakes and typhoons). The churches are not as magnificent as other churches in the country. The churches in Siquijor pale in comparison to the San Augustin Church in the Intramuros. But I would like to believe that all of us, no matter how small, grand, simple or magnificent, make a part of our beautiful country.
The most famous church in Siquijor would be our town’s St. Isidore the Farmer Parish Church. This is because the convent opposite the church is the largest convent in Asia. Touring around Asia, you would know that that fame is very easy to achieve because there are not much competition, with Philippines being the only country in SE Asia that is predominantly Catholic. The parish church of the town of Maria, Our Lady of Providence Church, is, to me, also interesting because of the sculpture of Saint Rita of Casia, which many dubbed as haunted because of the image’s black dress and her piercing stare. As a child, I used to close my eyes when we pass by this image because I am a scaredy cat.
When in Siquijor, I also suggest taking a break, eat lunch, and take a dip at the Capilay natural spring just below the parish church of San Juan. In the quaint town of Talingting (now known as Enrique Villanueva), you can also take a break, have snacks at Lilibeth’s Pan Bisaya, and walk along the fine, white-sand beach at the back of their humble shanty/store. A few minutes by car from Nang Lilibeth’s store is the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary, one of the oldest marine sanctuaries in the island. Do not be surprised if the sanctuary is empty. Diving and snorkeling is pretty cheap, but the staff schedule would be intermittent, which is a shame as I think the sanctuary is actually one of the best places in the island.