Each summer of my life has always been memorable. But not all summers have been happy. It was a summer when I lost a young love. It was summer when I lost both my grandfathers. But it was also a summer when I got married and it was a summer when our dear nephew was born. This summer, the summer of 2018, was made more memorable because of my trip to New York but frankly, summer to me has always been about doing new things, reading new authors, and making memories with my family. Advertisements
On the way to the parish church in Talingting, we stopped by a shanty along the road to have snacks. The smell of freshly baked bread enticed us to jump out of the mini van. We were greeted by Lilibeth, the owner of the humble bakery, and we spied her husband and daughter kneading dough behind the glass display counter. There were no other tourists when we visited so we took a break and spent time talking with Lilibeth and her family. And this is her story.
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.
Siquijor was home to me. But through the years, I have redefined the meaning of home. I have increasingly agreed with the cliche saying, “Home is where the heart is.” I add to that, “Home is where my happiness is,” and my happiness is not always in Siquijor, or is not always associated with a specific geographic location. But summer is always Siquijor to me. This is because I am always happy in Siquijor during summer (and, yes, for some reason, I don’t feel very happy in Siquijor in other times of the year). So to Siquijor I go during summers.
Since high school, I have always been known as the “girl from Siquijor.” Studying at the time when social media was still in its infancy, not many of my classmates have traveled to Siquijor and only knew of the place as scary or the island of mambabarangs (sorcerers). It used to offend me when people associate the island with black magic but I later realized that people make these kinds of judgment because they never had the opportunity to travel to the island and learn about the place. So, I started “educating” my classmates, my friends, and my acquaintances of the island by answering their questions and telling them stories.
Christmas time, we were able to spend it in my home town, Lazi, Siquijor. The days went by in a blur but we managed to squeeze in family and friends time and visit one of the local resorts in the island.
I went on a short trip to Siquijor last November (really a short trip because it did not last more than 24 hours) to bring candles, flowers and prayers for my loved ones who have departed. It is a tradition in our country to commemorate our dearly departed on the first two days of November. As I’ve said here, there are still many unexplored portions of the island, mostly coves and beaches that luckily have not yet been converted to beach resorts. These beach strips are our version of paradise.
I was born and raised in Siquijor, a very small island in central Philippines. It is my home so I am biased when I say it is a piece of heaven here on Earth. But please let me continue… Siquijor is a cliche tourist destination — white sand beaches, cool waterfalls, numerous rivers, and Spanish-era churches. The time you step down the gang plank at the port in the town of Siquijor (one town is also named Siquijor), a long stretch of white sand welcomes you. The people are, like every where else in the Philippines, warm and friendly. Underneath this tourist-y exterior though is the real reason why you should and must pay Siquijor a visit. Here are my top 8 reasons why Siquijor is a must destination in the Philippines:
This morning, I arrived in my home town aboard a ship. It was my second time to disembark at our town’s port, and there is a different feeling when you land on your home town. Sunrise was early today, and the boat passengers were treated to a wonderful show only Mother Nature can provide. While the boat was passing through the Simacolong/Lazi Bay area, several dolphin-like creatures started jumping out from the sea! These sea creatures, according to Manong Tata, who is a fisherman, is a kind of shark. I was very happy, and a lousy photographer. 😛