The Mystical Island of Siquijor

Known as the mystical island, Siquijor is situated in the southernmost islands in the Visayas It is about 30 kilometers southeast of Negros Island and about 50 kilometers from the closest point of northwestern Mindanao. The Tañon Strait separates it from the other islands in the northwest, the Sulu Sea in the southwest and the Mindanao Sea in the south. The island is composed of six municipalities namely Siquijor, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan and Enrique Villanueva.

According to legend, Siquijor was not part of the islands of the Philippines. One evening a strong earthquake and thunderstorm occurred and flashes of blinding light laced the sky. While the sea raged, the ocean’s womb gave birth to an island. It is said that until today farmers in the mountains of the island still find giant shells beneath the surface of their farms as a proof that the story about Siquijor’s birth really happened and is not just a folklore about the mystical island. Soon after its birth, the island was said to be covered in Molave trees locally known as “tugas“, earning the name “katugasan”.

Map of Siquijor Island

Map of Siquijor Island

Molave trees are said to be the home of fireflies and at night the trees are lit by these tiny creatures. The Spaniards who were exploring the Visayas area at that time noticed this nocturnal scene and called the island “Isla de Fuego” or Island of Fire. The island’s evening glow tickled the curiosity of the Spanish explorers so they came to visit the place. Upon their arrival, they met a native and asked for the name of the place. The native, thinking that the visitors wanted to know his name said “Si Kihod”. The Spaniards found it difficult to pronounce the “d” so eventually “Si Kihod” became Siquijor. There are also stories that say that King Kihod was the island’s legendary ruler.

The island was discovered by Esteban Rodriguez who was part of the Legaspi Expedition in 1565. The first parish, also named Siquijor, was established in 1783 under the administration of secular clergymen. In the years that followed, the parishes of Larena (formerly called Canoan), Lazi (formerly called Tigbawan), San Juan (formerly Makalipay), and Maria (formerly Cangmeniac) were found by Augustinian Recollect priests. Except for the municipality of Enrique Villanueva, all of the other five municipalities in the island were established as parishes in 1877. From 1854 to 1892, the island was under the political leadership of Bohol. In 1892, it became a part of Negros Oriental, and in 1901, it became a sub-province. On September 17, 1971, Siquijor became an independent province and the capital, which was formerly Larena, was transferred to the municipality of Siquijor.

The island is a serene place ideal for those who want to get away from the hustles and bustles of city living. It is a haven for hikers, bikers and nature lovers. White sandy beaches cover the 102 kilometers of shoreline surrounding the island.

The climate in Siquijor is very tropical. It is dry from January to May and wet the rest of the year. The island is also very accessible from the different neighboring islands. It is seven hours away by passenger ship and four hours away by fast ferry from Cebu City, Cebu. The island is an hour by fast ferry and two hours by passenger ship and motorized bancas from Dumaguete City and three hours by passenger ships from Bohol. The island has three seaports located in the towns Larena, Lazi and Siquijor. The port of Larena is the main entry point to the province since it can accommodate ships up to 600 tons.

All the six municipalities are connected by asphalt and concrete roads. The major means of transportation in the province are jeepneys and tricycles.

This page is last updated on Jun 16, 2011 @ 2:44 pm
About the author
Mark Anthony Maranga Mark Anthony Maranga is a Web Designer based in Cebu, Philippines. He sells Balloons and Party Supplies in Mandaue City, Cebu and explores the Philippines tourist attractions. During his free time he take pictures and write blogs. Check his website design portfolio and know more about him.

  1. nikole clemente says:

    im wondering what can you say about the scary gossips about Siquior, mark?

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