Siquijor: Motorcycling the Mystic Island

Siquijor is shrouded in stories of sorcery and witchcraft. Dubbed the “Mystic Island,” this province in the Central Visayas is known as the home of witches, shamanistic folk healers and mambabarang (people who can cause affliction or death by supernatural means). I heard that hexes, curses and love potions were hawked on the streets along with the usual souvenir keychains and magnets. You have to admit, there’s just something so fascinating about any place steeped in such superstitions. While some people are afraid to set foot here, this reputation for dark magic is actually what drew me to the island.

siquijor motorcycling travelup

Siquijor is the third smallest province in the Philippines in terms of land area (after Camiguin and Batanes) and it’s possible to go around in a day. The national highway is well-paved and runs around the whole island, passing through 6 towns with most main tourists attractions right by the roadside. As a bonus, motorcycle rentals are widely available and very affordable here, which makes Siquijor a pretty good motorcycling destination.

siquijor boat waves ocean

While riding around the island on my own, I was secretly hoping to have some supernatural encounter. Maybe witness some folk ritual, uncover a secret doorway to another world, or find some long-lost artifact that would grant me superpowers. What I found instead was a very serene place, friendly people, and a long coastline with beautiful clear waters visible from the road. Plus, I got to enjoy most of the enchanting spots all to myself. While packaged tours (like guided tricycle tours) can be convenient, it’s not always the best option for solo travelers. I don’t like being rushed from one destination to the next. Solo riding gives me a sense of control since I can skip the spots I don’t find remarkable, stop anytime I want along the road to enjoy the view, or spend as much time as I want in one place.

01. siquijor map key

As soon as I arrived at the port of Siquijor from Dumaguete, I rented a motorcycle (rentals start at P250/24 hour use) so I would have transportation to and from my guesthouse. The motorbikes for rent are kept behind and across the row of colorful tricycles parked waiting to take tourists around. Tricycles are ideal for groups of 2-4, who can split the costs (most charge P1,000 for a day tour), while motorcycles are ideal for solo travelers. You can also rent mountain bikes in Siquijor, but I wouldn’t recommend it from the port, since you’ll probably be loaded with a backpack. The first point of interest is the St. Francis of Assisi Church right by the port, with a hard-to-miss Hollywoodesque “Welcome to Siquijor” sign.

04. siquijor church and tricycles

From the port of Siquijor, the best route is to circle the island counterclockwise heading first to San Juan, then Lazi, Maria, Enrique Villanueva, Larena, and then back to Siquijor. There are more interesting spots in Lazi and Maria where you will want to spend quality time, while the long stretch of road from Siquijor, Larena and Maria is ideal if you just want to ride without stopping.

06. siquijor end of the world inn

The town of San Juan is home to a wide range of inns, guesthouses and hotels. Though there are a few other places to stay scattered around the island (ex. in Larena, near the town of Siquijor & in Maria near Salogdoong beach), I liked the laid-back vibe of San Juan. I originally wanted to stay in the End of the World based on their name alone (rooms at P400/night). The friendly owner Lorna (who actually called me up when I was trying to reserve a room by text) apologized that they were fully booked, but was nice enough to give me several options and forward the contact numbers of other guesthouses.

siquijor woman at the end of the world

siquijor casa miranda inn cat

I ended up in Casa Miranda, where I scored a tiny beachfront fan room with basic but comfy digs and its own CR for just P250/night. The free WiFi signal was pretty good. There aren’t a lot of restaurants in Siquijor, but you can order basic meals here or buy food from the market and have it cooked here. If you have cash to burn and want a more luxurious villa, you could check in to Treasure Island nearby (rooms start at P1,000/night), which has a well-stocked bar and small restaurant. Most of the resorts in San Juan are right along the beach, so the view is great.

siquijor boat beach

At the center of San Juan is Capilay Spring Park, a quiet and well-maintained park with a wide pool where locals like to swim during weekends. There are a few cottages here and a large map outside of the different tourist spots if you want to plan your route more carefully.

siquijor enchanted balete tree

One of the major landmarks of Siquijor is the Enchanted Balete Tree in Barangay Campalanas. Filipinos often associate balete trees as dwelling places for supernatural beings like kapre or tikbalang. This 400-year old is believed to be the oldest and the biggest in the province. There are a few famous balete trees in the country, including a massive one in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental that takes at least 42 men to encircle its trunk and the Millennium Tree in Maria Aurora near Baler, whose root network people can climb. I happen to like the look of old gigantic gnarled trees. They remind me of ents.

siquijor enchanted balete tree travelup

What’s unique about Siquijor’s balete tree is a small spring that has formed at the base which flows into a man-made pool where you can dip your feet. Guides let tourists feed the fish with bread and are marketing the pool as a fish spa of sorts. I noticed a couple of people taking a bath and washing their clothes here with soap though, which sort of takes away from the whole “enchanted” vibe.

siquijor fish spa balete tree

There’s no fee to visit the tree, but some locals have set up a small store selling food and drinks, and there’s a donation box right by the tree. If you’re enjoying the ride, you might miss it, since there isn’t any sign or marker indicating that the tree is nearby. I drove right by it a couple of times and had to ask around and double back when I got to Lazi. A small waiting shed was being constructed right across it when I visited, which should serve as a landmark in the future.

siquijor lazi convent

Two other famous attractions in Siquijor can be found in the town of Lazi – namely the Lazi Church and Lazi Convent. The San Isidro Labrador Convent is reputed to be the biggest and one of the oldest convents in the Philippines. The Spaniards started construction in 1887 and it was completed in 1894. The building has been declared a historical landmark by the Philippine Historical Commission. There’s also a small museum on the 2nd Floor of the convent, but it was closed that day (Monday). While looking around, I saw one hallway with lovely stained glass windows. This is where I met Aling Susing, gatekeeper of the church. She quipped that the windows, like her, were the only  remaining antiques since everything else had been stolen.

siquijor lazi convent windows

siquijor lazi convent stairs

Susing was nice enough to show me around the Lazi Church and shared a bit of history behind it. The church’s facade is made with coral stone, giving it a pinkish beige hue. Some of the statues have been replaced already and the interiors are a bit worn with the rafters on the ceiling bearing holes from bats, but the church still has a charming, rustic appeal. She pointed out to the pulpits on the opposite sides of the church before the altar, where 2 loudspeakers were placed. Apparently, priests used to stand there to deliver the sermons. It was nice chatting with her over some bibingka, a fluffy rice cake that’s popular around the country for a snack or dessert, which she shared with me.

aling susing siquijor lazi church windows

siquijor lazi church and convent

From Lazi, you can take a 10-minute drive north to Cambugahay Falls. From the parking area across the street, you just have to climb down 135 concrete steps to get to the falls. The 3-tiered waterfall cascades into a refreshing pool. There is a rope swing here if you want to try jumping in and I heard that some locals like to jump from the top tier to the pool below. The climb back up requires a bit of effort, but is not too bad compared to the hikes you have to make to get to other falls.

siquijor cambgahay falls travelup

The most pleasant part of the ride was in the Salogdoong Forest Reserve in the town of Maria going to Salogdoong beach. There’s a section that passes through a forest, with a canopy of trees forming a tunnel in the narrow road. Aside from providing shade, the molave trees branches snake upwards to form a canopy that is both eerie and beautiful. This is even more true if you’re driving alone with no one in sight. I didn’t know how long the road was and encountered no one going in, so it seemed surreal. I captioned this “wood between the worlds” on Instagram (plus points if you get the Narnia reference).

siquijor salogdoong forest

Salogdoong Beach is a pleasant beach with whitish sand and clear turquoise water yet is uncrowded compared to other more popular beaches in the country. There are cottages here for rent and a nice secluded cove where some groups set up camp. There are also a couple of cemented slides built into a limestone cliff where you can slide into the ocean, and a few platforms in varying heights for those who want to try cliff diving.

siquijor salogdoong beach

The turquoise depths of the ocean looked treacherous and enticing from the top. I really wanted to try cliff diving but ended up not jumping because: 1) I had no one to watch my stuff, 2) I had no one to egg me on or cheer for me if I jumped; 3) I had no one to take my picture and 4) jumping off a cliff from that height may require some alcoholic beverage and I don’t like to drink and drive. Four very important reasons which happen to be the downsides of traveling solo.

siquijor salogdoong beach cliff diving platform

The stretch of road from Maria back to Siquijor was pretty uneventful though I admit I may have missed a couple of tourist spots along the way. There’s supposed to be a Tulapos Marine Sanctuary somewhere in the town of Larena (but I didn’t see any sign).

siquijor guiwanon spring park bridge

The last major point of interest before reaching the town of Siquijor again is the Guiwanon Spring Park Resort in Luyang. This park is a small network of wooden footbridges suspended over water that connects some native cottages and huts which are surrounded by rich mangrove forests. I heard the place gets fireflies at night. There are three cottages available for rent here if you want to stay the night and there’s a bigger function hall for events and conferences. Like most of the sights in Siquijor, it’s a peaceful and quiet spot.

siquijor guiwanon spring park mangroves


Aside from Cambugahay Falls, there’s another waterfall in Siquijor which is pretty near San Juan. After dropping by at the End of the World to thank Lorna for her help, she recommended I visit Lugnason Falls if I had time. Getting here was a bit of an adventure. I couldn’t find any signs leading to the falls and there weren’t a lot of establishments with people on the road to ask directions from when I hit the dirt road.

siquijor road to lugnason falls

This waterfall is less popular than Cambugahay but is just as inviting for a swim. Getting there requires a short hike through a less-developed trail. I don’t think this is included in the usual trike tour, and I’m glad to have stumbled on this while going around. If you have more time, you can drive through the other inroads that cut across towns to reach caves, forest reservations, and butterfly farms. Aside from the places I visited, other tourist spots include Mt. Bandilaan Nature Park, Tulapos Marine Sanctuary, Cantabon Cave, Canghalig Cave and Kagusuan Beach.

siquijor lugnason falls

I also heard that Siquijor has a Folk Healing Festival every Friday of the Lenten Season, where herbalists in the island gather to produce healing potions, which sounds pretty interesting. Too bad my trip didn’t coincide with that. But while I may not have encountered any sorcerers or shamans during the ride, Siquijor left me bewitched with her natural beauty and understated charms. Siquijor does have a magical quality to it. It’s all a matter of perspective.



  • Motorcycle rental in Siquijor ranges from P250-350/day for 24 hours use, excluding cost of gas.
  • You can rent motorcycles at the Port of Siquijor (for around P300) as soon as you arrive so you have transportation to and from your hotel/guesthouse. Most trikes charge about P100 to take you to your hotel, and as much as P1000 for a day tour to the usual spots.
  • Fully automatic scooters and semi-automatic scooters are available; helmets are available upon request. The fully automatic scooters are the ones that get rented out at once.
  • There are many motorbike rental bike places in town. Rates in town or guesthouses are slightly cheaper (around P250/24 hour use to P1,600/week), but you have to return the motorcycle there before you leave (which means you will have to commute to the Port when you go back)
  • There are a couple of small gas stations around the island. You can refuel from one of the small stalls selling gas in bottles that are available everywhere.
  • A full tank of gas is more than enough for you to circle the whole island.
  • I recommend you bring a water bottle and light snacks with you while on the road.
  • Motorcycle rental (Honda Wave) provided by Enrile Bation: 0905-9789252

02. siquijor motorcycle travelup


66 thoughts on “Siquijor: Motorcycling the Mystic Island

    • I heard the fully automatic scooters get rented out the most. Wasn’t used to driving semi too, until I had no other option during a solo ride in Siargao. It’s easy enough to pick up. 🙂 Enjoy your trip!

    • Hi Marco, if you know how to bike, you should have no problem learning how to ride a scooter 🙂 Really enjoyed Siquijor. If you’re ever in Dumaguete, it’s worth the sidetrip! It’s also accessible by boat from Bohol and Cebu (via Bohol) apparently.

    • Hi Paulo. They asked to see my license when I rented one at the port but didn’t take it. Baka pwede naman. I assume you know how to drive though, right? You’re liable if you cause any damages to the motorcycles 🙂

  1. My plan was changed when I read your blog. I guess I will go motorbiking instead because of this blog. 🙂

    I hope the weather will cooperate next month.

    Thank you for this blog.

      • thanks po Ms. Kara! I’m a fan po pala. hehehe.. I stumbled into your blog late last year when I was researching about Tawi-tawi. I followed you through your FB page since then… 😀 Enjoy your travels!

          • I’m already done with Tawi-tawi end of December last year. I did had a good trip there even when I’m on solo. Thanks to ur tips! 🙂
            I’ll be going to Siquijor this weekend.

  2. BF and I are crazy for land tours where we can rent our own motorbike! Glad to know we can do this is Siquijor. Visiting this November. Wonderful post!

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  4. Very helpful blog. Me & my gf went in Siquijor as well & used some of your tips. It was a side trip since we were already in Dumaguete. Really enjoyed the bike trip there. It’s so laid back & people are never in a hurry. Rented a scoot at the port for php300/ 24 hrs & rode w/ our bags to Cocogrove resort. We started our tour around 2pm & ended around 7pm after having our dinner at Danish lagoon resort. Cause if there’s one thing we’ve noticed there, not too many places to eat along the road & stores close early. There are quite a few restaurants in Larena & Siquijor towns but since we were staying in San Juan, we opted to eat near our resort. Overall, Siquijor is a must place to visit & will we do it again, yes. But next time we’ll stay longer.

    • Hi Jay, glad to hear that the blog helped! 🙂 I was also expecting there to be more places to eat in Siquijor. Was craving for good seafood by the beach the whole time I was there, but only got that when I got back to Dumaguete. Agree that it’s very laid-back, but underrated. Would love to visit again and try cliff-diving next time.

      • Maybe if you know locals & have them buy & cook seafood for you, that’s the only time you can eat em cheap.we ordered lunch in the resort, which was i think 300 per meal ( 2 slices of fish w / rice), ang mahal. But had no choice coz it was raining that time & weren’t familiar where to eat. I was hesitant to try that cliff jumping, coz that time, the tide was low. Not familiar if you can do it even on lowtide. I’ll try next time. Maybe being underrated is a good thing. It kindda separates Siquijor from the rest of the world, it somehow gives a sense of seclusion when you’re there. Away from what we are all used to.Atleast that’s how it felt.

  5. hi?Kara thank you for visiting here in SIQUIJOR ISLAND,..thank you sa good comment about sa isla namin daming mga turista na…

  6. Hi. Tulapos Marine Sanctuary is located in the municipality of Enrique Villanueva, popularly called by its original name Talingting.

  7. Great article, will use this as reference on our future trip there 🙂

    Is it possible for someone with only bicycle experience to use an auto or semi-auto scooter on the fly? I have no experience with motorcycles 🙁

    • Hi Kim. To be safe, I wouldn’t recommend, because you’re responsible if anything happens to the rented motorcycles. There are some guesthouses that offer bicycles for rent, which is also a great way to get around Siquijor.

  8. Hi, what are the requirements in renting a motorcycle/scooter? How would you know the ways/road going to places? We will be there on the 2nd 🙂

    • Hi Kates, I just had to show my Driver’s License and give the payment when I rented a motorcycle at the port. Most of the tourist spots are located along the main road which circles the whole island, so you won’t get lost. Or you can always ask around from locals. There are tourist maps available and in some areas, the map is printed out in tarpaulins and posted in public spaces. Here’s an online version for your reference.

        • Hi Kates, they’re actually very lenient in the provinces. While they asked to see my license (I’m a Filipino by the way), it seems a lot of foreign tourists have rented even without it. According to other reviewers on Tripadvisor, they don’t really require a license/documents, since it’s common for tourists to rent motorbikes for the day. 🙂 Just get the number of the owner of the bike shop. Enjoy your trip.

  9. For me, there’s no better way to see, enjoy , & experience the beauty of Siquijor than on a motorbike. The freshness of the air while riding along its well paved roads, the view of shorelines from far away which you will not see in closed vehicles. If you can’t drive a scooter, rent a tricycle. I assure you , you will never regret it. I know i didn’t. Thanks to Kara’s blog . 🙂

  10. Hi Kara,

    Would it be too tiring to go around the island on mountain bikes, or any bike? Aside from not knowing how to drive a motorized bike (eh, scooter), we’d like to sweat it out. Kaya lang, ayaw din naman naming mapagod ng sobrang-sobra?

    Mas ok ba na two days bike itinerary ba? Any suggestions?


    • Hi Johnny, Siquijor is very bike-friendly. The 75-km circumferential road is paved and very easy to navigate. If you’re regular bikers, you can circle the island in a day. If you plan to explore the inner towns/destinations and spend more time in each destination (I recommend Salogdoong Beach for cliff-diving), a 2-day bike tour would be better para hindi bitin and more relaxed ang pace. 🙂 This is what I plan to do next time I visit with my husband who’s into mountain biking. Enjoy!

      • Yes! Great.

        I hope you get to travel with your husband (THE Outside Slacker?) back to Siquijor soon and share to us how you did it. I still can’t imagine how to do it, whether to bring our bikes to or to rent there.



  11. It’s nice that you’ve enjoyed my hometown. The next time you visit, try going to Mt. Bandilaan and Cantabon cave. I love going there whenever I get the chance to be home which is almost once every 1-2 years. 🙂

    The rain forest going to Salagdoong beach is perfect between April and June.

    • Hi Honey. Thanks for the tips! I heard about Cantabon Cave & Mt. Bandilaan. Too bad I wasn’t able to visit it, but will be sure to look out for it next time. I also want to try the bolo-bolo folk healing ritual. 🙂

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