Every traveler wishes the weather to be at its best every time they head to their destination. While we’ve got satellites now to forecast weather changes (and don’t even get me started on how accurate weather forecasts are in the Philippines), somehow our fate still depends on the forces of nature. Such is the case when I visited the island of Siquijor. Arriving in Dumaguete on a perfectly sunny day, I would never have imagined what lies ahead of my supposed day trip to Siquijor.
Just an hour away from Dumaguete, Siquijor is a very peaceful island very rich in natural wonders. Aboard a Montenegro barge, you’ll see the island’s white beach from afar and from there, it gets better and better. At around 10 AM, I arrived in the island with the sun already lost in the murk. Still, this gloomy weather couldn’t hide the beauty of Siquijor.
Up close, I just couldn’t wait to get my feet to touch the fine white sand but I had to resist and follow my itinerary. Just a few hundred meters from the pier is the St. Francis of Assisi Parish. One could not help but admire the simplicity of this century-old church – from its brightly colored tin roof to its tile flooring.
A few more meters from the church is an ATM machine so I decided to get some money for lunch. While walking to the bank, it started drizzling and before I knew it, I’m already wet all over! You know that instance when rain would suddenly fall it feels like someone dropped you a bucket of water? It was raining heavily for about 15 minutes. The sun finally appeared when the raining stopped but the wind only grew stronger. For 200 pesos, I was able to get a motorcycle ride which pretty much exposed me to the whole island but for now, my tummy comes first.
I got a honey chicken meal at Coco Grove Beach Resort. I’m only staying in the island for the day so I thought I might as well eat in the best rated hotel on the island. It was decent but really wasn’t outstanding. Presentation could be better and I wish there’s less ginger. While eating the meal, a bunch people started to get my attention in the reception area which is just across the restaurant. Apparently, all boat trips back to Dumaguete has been cancelled due to high waves. Now I’m stuck in the island. As soon as I finished my meal, I rushed to the reception area to get myself a room. However, the attendant told me they’re fully booked with all guests stuck in the pier now looking to return to the hotel for an extra night. So i thought, “Great, I’m stuck on this island, without a place to stay at.” When I got out of the hotel, I remember the wind howling so loud and I telling myself I’m dead. I walked away from the hotel and started looking for a place to accommodate me for the night. Luckily, I stumbled upon Tori’s Backpacker’s Paradise where I was welcomed by Tomas who instantly brought me to an available room.
Heavy rains filled the afternoon and electricity gets cut from time to time. Tomas, Ria (her wife), Tori (their baby) and I watched Furious 7 in parts, shifting from the TV to the laptop every time we lose power. Stuck I am but I had a great time enjoying my coffee (yes, their coffee is excellent) and just thinking about random things. At night it was already a full-blown storm with winds so strong I could not open my room. However my hunger for a dinner meal is stronger than any wind. What I really liked about this inn is the food. Presentation and taste is definitely better than what I had for lunch. Andrea, also a tourist stuck in the island, joined me for dinner and we just played with Tori until we decided it’s time to go back to our rooms for sleep.
It’s 6 AM and while the wind is still blowing strong, the sun is already shining. I decided to take a walk and saw how serene the island is. Even the seagrass which stained the perfectly white sand wouldn’t affect my impression of the place. I just felt like this is the ultimate place to go to if you’re looking for a heart to heart with nature.
I just sat there for minutes enjoying the sound of the wind, the waves and the birds. For a moment, I didn’t have to think about being stuck in the island. The fine white sand gradually changes to coral stones as you walk further. Eventually you’ll reach a big rock (which I presume to be a coral) which is full of life forms. It’s covered in seagrass and there are little fishes and crabs in the holes.
My very short encounter with the island only makes me want to go back and see what else is in store for me. But for that one moment in the shores of Siquijor, I’m satisfied. It was a short, special touch of paradise.