Siquijor, also known as the Island of Fire, is located just 30 kilometers east of Negros. It offers undisturbed coral reefs, plentiful macro life and interesting night diving activities. With excellent above the water activities and 23 wonderful dive sites, Siquijor has become one of the best diving destinations in the Philippines.
Diving in Siquijor is largely available year round due to the fact that the island is unaffected by the extreme monsoons found elsewhere in the island nation. On average, the air temperature ranges from 75 - 91°F (24 - 33°C) while the water temperature remains fairly constant at 79 - 86°F (26 - 30°C). Generally, December to May are the dry months while June to November bring some rain and rough seas. Because most of the island’s dive sites are near the shore, this change in weather does not affect the diving. However, monsoon season will make the passage from Dumaguete to Siquijor a rough and adventurous ride.
Due to Siquijor’s fame as an island of witchcraft, both divers and non-divers flock to the island, although some locals tend to avoid visiting. There are 23 dive sites of varying difficulty and 63 miles (102 kilometers) of white sand beaches to keep you entertained. Most of the dive sites are accessible to beginners with the exception of a few on the island’s south coast where currents are sometimes strong. A range of accommodation is available to suit your needs. Hotels range from backpacker digs to luxury resorts.
High season lasts from December until April when traveling around the Philippines can get expensive. You may wish to avoid visiting during the Christmas or Chinese New Year holidays as the island becomes crowded during this time. Some of the best periods in which to visit Siquijor are Holy Week and the monsoon season. Because of the island’s reputation for witchcraft, many locals avoid Siquijor during the Holy Week holiday when the rest of the Philippines is overrun by tourists. Monsoon season is also ideal as Siquijor is one of the least affected areas. During both of these times, discounts on accommodation may be available.
Siquijor, the third smallest province in the Philippines, is well developed as a tourist center. This is due to the fact that it was given marine and tourist zone status in 1978. This development has led to some fantastic above the water activities.
This island has long been known by locals as a center for witchcraft and it is rumored to be home to a vampire-like animal, but don’t let this deter you. Finding any person on the island who fits into this description is difficult. Most of the locals on Siquijor are warm, helpful and friendly.
Past the local lore, there are a great deal of archaic churches and colonial buildings to explore. In addition, the interior of the island is home to a labyrinth of caves and rivers. These along with the numerous waterfalls create a natural playground for visitors. If climbing is a hobby of yours, don’t miss the chance to scale the island’s highest peak, Mount Bandilaan.
Let’s not forget the 63 miles (102 kilometers) of white sand beach that ring the entire island. Between diving the sites, planning your dives and talking about all the great things you saw underwater, you could fill a week and never explore anything past the shoreline.
Getting to Siquijor is not as hard as it looks. Begin by flying into Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila or Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu and transiting to Dumaguete by local flight or bus. From Dumaguete, catch a local ferry to Siquijor.
Alternatively, catch the fast ferry from Cebu to Siquijor.
Once on the island, jeepneys and tricycles are available for hire.