Wedding Destinations

 

For a mystical wedding—add a dash of Siquijor
By Michelle Eve A. de Guzman
01 April 2008

 

If you and your friends are dead set on planning your beach wedding and you’re racking up your minds on where it could actually be, why not look beyond Boracay or Palawan? Try Siquijor, southeast of the Negros Island, and you’ll get more than you bargained for—which is a good thing since it automatically translates to memorable and scary fun.

 

The name of the island itself, Siquijor or Isla del Fuego (Fire Island) was given by the Spaniards because of the eerie glow the island gave off as galleons passed in the night.

It has become well-known for the “sorcery” the locals practice, especially as both foreigners and Filipinos alike flock there during Easter for the “Witches Festival”. Even

How to Get There?

Fly on a Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific flight to Cebu City or Dumaguete City, where transfers to inter-island ferries can be arranged.

Imelda Marcos, wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, fetched a powerful Siquijor healer called Boscia Bulongon to cure her of a curse.1

 

Sure, it has the mambabarangs (sorcerers), mananambals (healers), bolo-bolo (performed with a drinking glass, water, stone and straw to find out if something is wrong with the patient) and the dancing paper doll phenomenon (when a practitioner causes an ordinary paper cut-out doll to dance without touching them).2

But if you’re brave and adventurous, you’ll take into consideration what Silliman University environmentalist and artist Razceljan Salvarita said about Siquijor being “paradise because [when you’re there] time stands still.”

 

Abundant resorts and diving spots

 

Lonely Planet-recommended, eco-sensitive and low-key Coral Cay Resort (coralcayresort.com) has perfect rustic beach bungalows, outriggers, volleyball, mountain biking and international cuisine.

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For a mystical wedding - add a dash of Siquijor

Meanwhile, beautifully landscaped Coco Grove Beach Resort (cocogrove.com.ph) has two swimming pools, kayaking, snorkeling, banana boats, and PADI Accredited Dive Center.

If you want a beach-view pavilion with a 60-person capacity, try Dumanhog Blue Wave Resort & Restaurant (035-480-9190). For a private cottage two minutes from the beach, as well as fun diving and all PADI courses, go to Kiwi Dive Resort (kiwidiveresort.com).

Lastly, if you want reasonable prices on a weekly or monthly basis, good food and in-room internet access, check out The Swiss Stars Guest House and Restaurant (035-480-5583).

And with weddings in mind, all of the resorts in Siquijor can boast of wonderful sunsets from a white, sandy beach.

Or if you are a marine life enthusiast, either as a beginner or licensed diver, Siquijor has perfect underwater views as well. Lala-o Sunken Island, a 10-minute boat ride west of the Coco Grove Resort, is an underwater island with schools of fish, sometimes manta, sea snakes and turtles. Tongo Point, on the other hand, has fields of leather corals populated by surgeon fish and tiny reef fish.

A local favorite with only a Php10 entrance fee, Salagdoong not only has a magnificent cliff above, but also good coral cover, blue spotted rays, morays and turtles beneath the clear, blue stretch of sea.

 

Rainforests, caves and the oldest convent in the land

 

Now if you want a reprieve from the beach, try delving into the island’s historical and natural sites.

The highest peak at the center of the island, Mount Bandilaan is crowned with a man-made rain forest with unexplored caves and a butterfly sanctuary where one of the biggest butterflies in Asia can be found. Waterfalls in Lazi and Larena also give cooling respite from the island's tropical heat.3

Also visit the relatively unexplored Cambugahay Falls, and the old, enchanted balete tree in Campalanas, and the most famous of Siquijor’s over 45 caves, Cantabon Cave.

And whatever you do, don’t forget the Lazi Convent. Constructed by the Spaniards in 1884, it is assumed to be the biggest and the oldest in all of Asia. Fronting that is the bell tower of St. Francis of Asisi built in 1870.

 

People and transportation

 

Palanca-award winning writer Ian Rosales Casocot wrote in eatingthesun.blogspot.com, “But what I really want to write about is the brightness of these people, how beautiful and funny they are, how hospitable, colorful, and engaging. There's Manang Juling, for example, who engages us in banter while talking about how she once healed a young man of impotence on the eve of his wedding. [And] there's Lola Lauriana who can divine the future and the spot of lost things, but playfully insists that people come to see her because she is the most beautiful mananambal around. (She's 88 years old.)”

Indeed, Siquijodnons are friendly, peace-loving and hospitable, albeit a tad superstitious.

At the very least, any wedding or honeymoon in Siquijor becomes out of the ordinary when surrounded by people like these.

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Kasal.com thanks the following sources for this article:

1 Wilson, Karl. “Herbalists scour Siquijor’s forests to cure the incurable.” Retrieved July 15, 2007 from http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/apr/09/yehey/top_stories/20070409top5.html

2 Licauco, Jaime. “More Encounters with the Unknown.” Philippines:Anvil Publications,1997.

3 “Information about the Island of Siquijor”. Mysiquijor.com. Retrieved July 13, 2007 from http://www.mysiquijor.com/facts2.html