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I’m no scuba diver. I’m not a good swimmer either, but I love to explore the sea with all its living creatures underneath. Yes, I am also a selacophobic, but it didn’t stop me from discovering the undersea world. Since, I’m still saving up for a beginner’s course in scuba diving, I just resort to snorkeling for now.  In all fairness to me, I had already snorkeled at most of the popular sanctuaries in the Philippines. Our archipelago is abundantly gifted with a teeming marine population and tourists from all over the world visit the country every year to see it for themselves. And for those of you who haven’t experienced snorkeling or diving in the Philippines, let me share my snorkeling getaways every week.

Siquijor Island

Siquijor Getaway

 

First stop is the mystical island of SIquijor. After college graduation, my pals and I booked a night stay in Coco Grove Resort, Siquijor as a reward to ourselves for a job well done. We did a million interesting things; we lazed out under the sun, kayaked, swam in the pristine blue waters and even rode the banana boat. But the best part of it all, was when we borrowed snorkeling gear and launched ourselves into the cool water.

Tubod Marine Sanctuary

Snorkelling Gears

Snorkeling Gear

Aside from the pearly white sand beach, the resort also has its own marine reserve, Tubod Marine Sanctuary, making it very convenient for their guests who like to go snorkeling. Just a few steps from the beach  and you can already see a thriving nation of fish. An amazing seven hectares of coral reef and seagrass beds is home to schools of colourful fish.

Tubod Marine Sanctuary

Tubod Marine Sanctuary

My eyes were really busy from watching those colourful fish swimming past us. I saw fish as big as my slippers; unfortunately I can only recognize the parrot fish. There were huge varieties of fish, if only I had wider knowledge of fish species, I would name them all here.  While I was on my way back to the beach I yelped in horror when I accidentally stepped on a big, blue, spiny starfish. I really felt guilty, but trust me it wasn’t my intention to step on it. I’m glad though that it did not incur any serious injury.

Be Careful!

We snorkeled regardless of the burning heat of the sun; I forgot to put on sunscreen, so I ended up having a toasted back. Time really flies so fast when you’re enjoying it and in all honesty, we didn’t want to stop, but one of our friends stepped on a spiny sea urchin so we had to rush her to the CR to pick out the black spine. There was quite a bothersome population of big black sea urchins, but I wouldn’t hold it against the sanctuary because urchins are quite normal especially if life in the sanctuary is really thriving.

Lesson Learned

Lesson learned on this trip: don’t forget to put a lot of sunscreen on your back especially if you’re just wearing a bikini. It’s not so nice to have a toasted back with a fair front part. And if you want to visit Siquijor Island, I highly recommend Coco Grove Resort.

Join me again next week for my next snorkeling getaways. :)

Black Magic and Scorcery

Black Magic and Sorcery

Black magic. Witches. Shamans. Incantation. Witchcraft. Voodoo dolls. Potions. Sorcerers. Rituals. The island of Siquijor has long held the infamous reputation as a lair of magic and sorcery and this is what keeps the visitors attracted to the place and terrified as well. Hushed talks and rumors from locals about the existence of witchcraft and sorcery are as old as the island itself.

Honestly, I was also one of those people who are scared to even set foot on the island because of the bone chilling and bloodcurdling folk legends. But everything was erased from my mental memory when I visited the beautiful Siquijor.

The cool blue waters of Siquijor

The cool blue waters of Siquijor

During the Spanish Colonization of the Philippines , the island was known as the “Island of Fire” because of the mystical glow the island exudes at night. This is due to the great swarms of fireflies that feast on the old Molave trees on the island. This Island of Fire is just southeast of Cebu and Negros Islands, and southwest of Bohol. Pristine white sand beaches make up 90% of the islands coastline.

with Macky the parrot

with Macky the parrot

This is the main reason why my four college friends and I decided to have an overnight stay in one of the island’s resort – the Coco Grove Beach Resort.  One word to describe myself when I first entered the gates of the resort? SPEECHLESS. The place radiates too much beauty than my overwhelmed brain can comprehend. They have a little cozy lobby where their guest attendants and their bright red parrot, whose name is Macky, are waiting in the front desk. Welcome drinks are served for all guests while the hotel personnel make sure your rooms are ready. The resort is vast that’s why a resort map is included on your overnight package (in case you might get lost). As I checked the map, they do have lot amenities like a spa, restaurant, bar and sports lounge, diving shop, snack house, two large pools, pool bar and a whole lot more. You’ll get really excited just at looking at the legends of the resort map.

Coco Grove Beach Resort's map

Coco Grove Beach Resort’s map

The room we had was called Frangipani Lodge with a spacious master’s bedroom and a second room on the side is more than enough for five guests. Right after leaving our bags inside the room and putting on loads and loads of sunblock, we immediately hit the turquoise blue waters.  We really didn’t mind the scourging heat of the sun, in fact, we enjoyed every moment of it. The banana boat riding and kayaking are cool ways of exploring the resort from the sea’s point of view. The scenery is like a giant vibrant picture taken straight out from a travel magazine.

Getting ready for our snorkeling adventure

Getting ready for our snorkeling adventure

The next best thing in Siquijor is their underwater paradise. Just half a meter away from the shore you can already see fishes of different colorful hues, big and small. For those people who are mild hydrophobic, like me, this is the best place to be, you can snorkel just within a meter away  from the shore ( so close to land that you can still stand up and run when you see something scary in the sea) and your eyes will be very busy the moment you dip your head in the water.

Two days and one night is so short a time to discover the whole area that it would make you crave for more. Too bad we had exams the next day that’s why we really need to go back right away. So if ever you want to experience the paradise which I did a few years back, you should definitely book your stay not fewer than 3 days. And that’s definitely what I did when I booked myself for my upcoming Siquijor trip this May.

The True Magic of Siquijor Island

The True Magic of Siquijor Island

May the sorcery and witchcraft be true or not, I really don’t care because for me the island of Siquijor is indeed a place of magic – not of black magic, but of the true magic of nature.