Thursday, May 3, 2012

Travel Thursdays: Our Island Paradise on Siquijor (I)

Welcome to part 4 of the trip that only lasted three weeks but will take a million years to recount... You can find our Philippines vacation part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 over here.

The first thing I have to say about our next destination on our grand Philippines adventure, the island Siquijor, is that I became convinced that it would be my favorite place in the Philippines (or anywhere really) the minute I found out that it was pronounced "si-kee-whore." I mean, come on!

Anyways...after four days on Alona Beach, we were ready to move on to Micha's top destination for our trip, Siquijor. It's an island (oh, you know, there are only about 7107 of them there...literally) about 40 km south of Alona, right above the biggest island in the country, Mindanao (where you're advised to avoid, according to both our countries' travel warnings - don't worry, Mom, we did!). Micha had read about Siquijor early on in our planning and it was the one must-go place on his list, due to its small circumference - which you can motorbike around easily in a day - as well as its secluded white sand beaches. And can I just say, holy crap was he right on that one! It was everything we expected and more.

But first, the ride over. We were hesitant to take another ferry, which would have meant taking a tricycle ride to the main island of Bohol, getting a ferry to Dumaguete and then to Siquijor town (like so), then taking another tricycle to our resort (which we'd booked the day before), so were pleasantly surprised when fate stepped in and offered us another option. In the form of a bubbly young German girl named Chantal (who just so happens to live in Berlin and with whom we just so happened to have had brunch with two weeks ago!). She was traveling with two other girlfriends and they all happened to be going to Siquijor the next day, too and managed to find themselves two fishermen who agreed to take them. And with two more of us on board, the price per person would be less than the ferry ride. Needless to say, we were sold.

Please excuse my extreme unattractiveness in this picture. I was miserably seasick the entire time (a cruel irony indeed for someone who loves the ocean so much).

Despite very rough seas and huge waves that even forced our captain, as I like to call him, to turn off the motor every so often to wait one out, we were stoked to get to ride a traditional island bangka instead of a boring, stuffy, and packed ferry. The journey took about two hours - scenic, chatty ones for Micha, nauseating ones for me - after which point we

It was pretty much as in-the-middle-of-nowhere as it looks. Luckily, our fishermen were as unbelievably kind as everyone else we'd met in the Philippines thus far and not only did they help carry our bags to the (strange excuse for a) beach...

Micha with our practical backpacks

One of the fishermen with Kesha's not-at-all practical rolling suitcase!

they then led us up the strangest path, through a tiny village...

...past some goats, roosters, and the silliest I'm-gonna-bark-at-you-but-not-stand-or-even-sit-up-to-do-it dog...

...and then even negotiated a ride for us with pretty much the only person in the village who had a (very tiny) half-truck-half-car thing. Which the five of us and our ridiculous pile of bags somehow managed to fit into for the whole 30-minute journey to the other side of the island.

We were truly an odd site to behold

But when we arrived at our destination, Coral Cay Resort (the website does it absolutely no justice), all wonky stomachs and sore tushes and banged heads were forgotten as we walked up to the hut we would call home for the next four (which we promptly changed to five) nights:

Missing from this picture: the dog who thought our terrace was her home. In her defense, she was kind of right.

The girls, as we called them, checked out another resort but then headed immediately back to ours (with the same super sweet and accommodating driver) because really, whose idea of vacation can surpass this wondefulness?

 And there wasn't only our kick-ass hut to fall in love with, there was also the kick-ass bar/restaurant...

Handy for both beer drinking and computer time

With an accompanying stellar view

And delicious fresh fish

...and the most perfect pool area I've ever set foot in.

Ok, if I go on any longer, it will take you another three days to read this post, so I'll stop here for today. But for my eventual next post, let me just say this: I had read in my guidebook (I swear by Rough Guides these days) that Siquijor had, and I quote, "some of the best sunsets in the world."And you guys, THEY WERE RIGHT!

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