For most Filipinos, Siquijor is a mysterious other-world of witchcraft and the unknown. True, this tiny island province is famous for its mountain-dwelling mangkukulam (healers) who brew traditional ointments for modern ailments. But these days Siquijor’s most popular healing practice involves a cocktail and a deckchair at any number of its laid-back and wonderfully affordable beach resorts. Attractions include great diving, waterfalls, caves and forest walks in the hilly interior. Just about everywhere on Siquijor is great for snorkelling – find the nearest beach and dive in. Like many beaches in the Visayas, swimming is only possible during high tide, and wearing flip-flops is recommended as protection against sea urchins.
If you’re still craving a taste of Siquijor’s mystical side, head over to the ancient balete tree for an eerie photo-op. Or ask a local to point you to a faith healer, as well as shops selling amulets, charms, love potions and other concoctions.
There;s tone steps that leads to Siquijor’s famous three-tiered Cambugahay Falls. The treads were evenly made with natural stones, probably procured from the river that feeds the falls. The falls cascade all the way from a small rainforest above the mountains, some freshwater springs and watersheds.
Santa Rita de Cascia is an Italian saint, patroness of all hardships it seems; impossible causes, battered wife, difficult marriages, sickness, widows and wounds. Forcedly wed to an abusive husband for 18 years, she lost her husband and her two sons in a single year. She later became a nun and miraculously exhibited Christ’s wound on her forehead in 1441.