travel

Enchanted island

4:51:00 AM

Although I got injured from my Apo Island experience, I was determined to still make the most of my vacation. The day after Apo, Hannah, Karen and I set out to explore Siquijor, an enchanted island east of Dumaguete. We woke up at 5am to catch the earliest boat out (5:45am), and after an hour or so, we hit land again.

A dot in the universe. A beautiful one.
(image from the internet)
Siquijor was beyond beautiful. Everything about the island seemed cloaked in mystery. Despite its pristine beaches, it’s not the most popular tourist spot in the country because people still believe that the island is populated by witches. Let me just say now that we didn’t encounter anything of the sort. But we did experience magic.

We stopped at various churches, and we entered each one. They were all constructed during the Spanish occupation (1500s-1800s) in order to combat the evil that was said to lurk in the island. I said my prayer of thanks for all the wonderful things I got to experience during my vacation. I was beyond grateful that I was given the chance to bask in all the beauty that nature has to offer. And I also prayed for inner peace, which was granted.

We went to Cambugahay Waterfalls - a three-level waterfall at the heart of the island. There was a good mix of foreigners and locals bathing there, and we made friends with some of them. I got the best massage of my life sitting on a rock under the waterfall. Jessa, a local girl, helped me find my spot. The other local girls were really nice, too. Good thing Hannah was with us - she was our interpreter. Before we left, we had our photos taken with the girls, which Karen promised to print and mail to them (we got their address).

Right before we dropped off Karen at her lodgings (she stayed the night in Siquijor while Hannah and I headed back to Dumaguete), we stopped at the biggest balete tree I’ve ever seen in my life. It reminded me of the Tree of Life in the James Cameron sci-fi epic Avatar, sans the glowing seeds. It is believed to be magical because water seeped through its roots, and there was a small pond at the foot of the tree where you can dip your feet and let the fishes nibble at your corns and callouses.

Hannah and I boarded the 3:45pm boat back to Dumaguete, and we both made a promise that we were going to go back to Siquijor next year - this was just an ocular inspection of sorts. The experience was awesome but it was “bitin” (Filipino for “not enough”). When we return, we’ll probably stay for at least two nights just to be sure we make the most out of everything.

Salagdoong Beach was actually the first stop in our on-the-spot itinerary, but I’m writing about it last because it was the highlight of my Siquijor experience. It was a picturesque beach on the other side of the island, and there are absolutely no words to describe how beautiful it is. Again, the sand is powdery white, and the water is so clear and so cool that you just have to jump in. And jump in I did - off a 12-meter high cliff.

This escapade reminded me that I am braver than I often think I am. We all are. In life we are often pushed to the edge of proverbial cliffs, and when we are in that moment, we are confronted with the choice to jump in or not. Sometimes, you just need to forget everything and take a leap. Whether or not the gamble pays off is no longer the matter; it’s the stamp of bravery you get for jumping that makes all the difference in the end.

isawisay

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