A lone mangrove
Isla de Fuego or the Island of Fire as early Spaniards called this small island in Central Visayas when they saw a warm glow of light caused by fireflies when seen from afar. Nowadays, just the mention of Siquijor, people are quick to associate the place with mysticism, magic, witchcraft and sorcery. For a traveler like me whose more interested by stories of such phenomenon than to be shunned away by it , I guess it’s just a matter of time ’til I come to visit the place. And for the first time in this blog, my initial set for Siquijor will be in black and white. I thought that the monochrome treatment captured the mood of what I want to convey a certain mood somehow which is very “Siquijor” to me.
Our place at Casa Dela Playa in Sandugan Beach, Larena
The Fast Craft Ferry to Siquijor costing 160 Pesos one way took only 45minutes to get to the island which is really fast in contrast to the cheaper 70 pesos Car Ferry which will take you 2 hours to reach the island. Since time was very important to us, it was really convenient decision. When we got to the port, there was already an AUV and a driver waiting, ready to take us to Casa Dela Playa located at the north eastern tip of the island in the town of Larena since Oggie, who stayed here before, booked us a place beforehand.
Casa Dela Playa beach front on high tide
Not to sound a bit promotional, but this Filipina and German owned Resort has quite an appeal. It has a nice large bamboo house restaurant and reception area. Nice landscaped inner garden and very good beach front houses. We stayed at a very nice beach front house called Casa blanca. It’s a fan house with a kitchen and a fridge. If you could bring your own stove you could cook here as well. What’s better is that the wide stretch of beach is right at your front door a few steps away. And what’s way better is our accommodation rates here which I as a budget traveller would say is very reasonable. But I still recommend hiring your transpo outside the resort.
Sandugan Fish Fences Perspective
Even though we stayed here, we only got to explore the beach for a short time since we spent most of the time around the island. But after going around seeing the other beaches and resorts I could say that Sandugan Beach is a hidden gem in Siquijor.
Patience of a fisherman on a mangrove, Bohol on the horizon
The beach stretch is long and white, scenic with clumps of mangroves on some areas. There are two other resorts there on the stretch but not much tourist crowd around save for a very few foreigners there. In fact the place is very quiet and peaceful that at night you could only here the sound of waves lapping by the shore. It also has a very nice point of view. From there you could see the area of Dumaguete, Cebu and Bohol on the horizon. Facing slightly on the west, you could also view the sunset from here.
Mangrove roots detail
The weather in Siquijor at that time is quite unpredictable. There were these occasional rains and then sunlight, but on our last day when we were supposed to explore Sandugan Beach on a relaxing pace, it rained early morning giving that sullen feel in the air. Not that I’m complaining as I’ve seen the place basking in sunlight when we arrived, I thought that the conditions there gave an opportunity for dramatic moody shots. Yes everyone loves blue skies, but when you’re a travel photographer who has dealt with assignments where you have no room to complain to your editor on the conditions of the weather, you just have to take what you have and produce images no matter what.
Mangrove branches and some birds
From Casa Dela Playa, we moved a bit further up north were there’s a group of mangroves there. Interestingly there were also a number of fishermen there moving quietly along the water as not to disturb the nearby fishes. There were also these lines of fish fences which were interesting subjects on geometry. The soft backdrop of mountainous Bohol is an added scenery as well.
Scenic mangroves at Sandugan Beach
The mangroves scattered along what might be the northern tip of Siquijor are fascinating subjects themselves. Their shapes are like a frozen poetry-in-motion dancing on top of the water. I never had much passion for mangroves before but seeing them closely here in Siquijor at Sandugan beach made me appreciate them more as land creatures giving in to the call of the sea.
Sandugan twilight along mangroves
In this last picture, we were barely able to catch the tail end of a twilight. We literally have to run to the beach after our first day of touring some places in Siquijor. We tried doing some night shoot but it was really cloudy and the stars didn’t come out. we did saw a few fireflies though at the tree in our lodging. Even if we didn’t have a decent sunset picture there, I think we maximized our time there still and was able to glimpse the lowlight scenery of Sandugan Beach.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.