I believe in love at first sight. I have fallen in love with Siquijor from a photograph of two of my friends diving at the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary. So, I have asked travel couple Charlie and Paola Paralejo-Fernandez about it. I remember Paola telling me excitedly, “Pads, you SHOULD go there!” (Check their website here.)
It has taken months before I make up my mind to take the plane to Dumaguete City. From the airport, I take a van to the port where the boat to Siquijor is docked. There are two things I wish to see: Siquijor’s old churches and faith-life, as well as, the local government’s initiative to preserve marine life.
When the Jesuit churches of Bohol, particularly Baclayon and Loboc were destroyed by the 2013 earthquake, I took a particular interest in Philippine Church History and the preservation and promotion of our pilgrimage sites. Living in the same community with Fr. Rene Javellana SJ who wrote several books and articles about churches, I found our table conversations enlightening.
In July 2014, I attended the Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific’s Colloquium for the Reconciliation of Creation in Sydney, Australia calling Jesuit and partner schools to consolidate efforts to care for creation. I was specifically attracted to marine preservation because it revived my undergraduate background in Marine Biology.
And so, come with me to this adventure. I am particularly enjoying this trip because I am on my own backpacking. This is the boat ride to Siquijor.
And the most beautiful port greets me. Tell me, which port in the Philippines is within a stretch of white sand?
I take a tricycle to bring me to a modest resthouse in Dumanhog, Siquijor. The tricycle driver, Roland Borja (Mobile: 0926-8061594) recommends that I take an obligatory photo for visitors here first. It is right in front of the St. Francis of Assisi Parish with its belfry a few meters from the church.
As soon as I have checked in, I head for the beach. From what I am seeing, I know that my stay will be memorable. Why? Here it is.
Note: In the next posts, I will bring you to every interesting town in Siquijor, such as San Juan, Lazi, Maria, Enrique Villanueva, Larena and Siquijor itself. We will do two things: celebrate God’s creation and resurrection. We will visit must-see scenery as well as must-pray places. Here are the links to the other parts of the story.