Interesting Siquijor Facts


Historical Intro

Lightning laced the sky in white fire. The earth wailed in the painful, joyous sound of new life. The ground shuddered, the seas raged. The churning waters parted and from the ocean's womb was birthed an island of rock and fire. Thus did, according to legend, the island of Siquijor emerge from the sea.

The Spaniards called it Isla del Fuego, the "Island of Fire", referring to the eerie glow the island gave off as galleons passed in the night. The eerie glow came from the great swarms of fireflies harbored in the numerous molave trees or "tugas" as one of its earliest name "Katugasan" suggested.

Siquijor island was discovered by Esteban Rodriguez of the Legaspi Expedition in 1565. The first parish, also named Siquijor, was established in 1783 under the administration of secular clergymen. The first Augustinian Recollect priest, Father Vicente Garcia, arrived in Siquijor in 1794. In the years that followed, the parishes of Larena (initially called Cano-an), Lazi (formerly called Tigbawan), San Juan (Makalipay), and Maria (Cangmeniac) were founded by priests of the same order. With the exception of the Enrique Villanueve, all of the five municipalities were established as parishes by 1877. From 1854 to 1892, the island was under the political leadership of Bohol. In 1892, it became a part of Negros Oriental, and in 1901, a sub-province of the province.

There followed a period of American influence and during World War II, up to the liberation in 1944, was occupied by Japanese Imperial Forces.

On September 17, 1971, Siquijor became an independent province by virtue of Republic Act No. 6396. The capital which was formerly Larena, was transferred to Siquijor, Siquijor in 1972 with Proclamation No. 1075.

The serenity of the whole province makes it a perfect get-away. It is a haven for hikers, bikers and nature lovers. The highest peak at the center of the island, Mount Bandilaan is crowned with a man-made rain forest boasting of unexplored caves and a butterfly sanctuary where one of the biggest butterflies in Asia is found. The town of San Juan is home of the renowned Capilay Spring Park, a natural fresh water spring complemented with a swimming pool and park amenities. A never-ending stretch of white sandy beaches cover all 102 kilometers of shoreline surrounding the island. It is and ideal place for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. Its splendid array of coral formation, reef, and other marine life is a must see for scuba divers. The western part of the island gives premier seats to the view the most beautiful sunsets in the region. Waterfalls in Lazi and Larena also give cooling respite from the island's tropical heat.

Some of the historical land marks are the old Cang-isok house, the bell tower of St. Francis of Asisi built in 1870 and the St. Isidore Labradore church and convent constructed in 1891, reputed to be one of the oldest and biggest in Asia.

 

ACCESSIBILITY & TRANSPORTATION

From Cebu City, it is 7 hours by passenger ships and 4 hours by fast crafts.  From Dumaguete City, it is only 1 hour by fast crafts, 2 hours by passenger ships and motorized bancas. Coming from Bohol, it is 3 hours by passenger ships. The island has 3 seaports strategically located at Larena, Lazi, and Siquijor towns. The port of Larena is the main entry point to the province since it can accommodate ships up to 600 tons. The port links the island to Iligan and Plaridel in Mindanao, and the cities of Cebu, Dumaguete and Tagbilaran, Bohol.

The Siquijor Wharf serves as the docking space of pumpboats and small bancas plying the Siquijor - Dumaguete route. The port in Lazi usually accommodates vessels to and from Mindanao. Causeways in Solong-on and Tambisan, San Juan also serve the smaller pumpboats.

All 6 municipalities are connected by asphalt and concrete roads. Major means of transportation in the province are jeepneys and tricycles. Tricycles are available for hire to desired destinations, while jeepneys travel on franchised routes between numicipalities. Interior barangays are served by single motorcycle s for hire.

Please refer to MySiquijor.com's "KISS" section for additional travel information.

 

CLIMATE

The climate in Siquijor is very tropical. It is dry from January to May and wet the rest of the year. The Southern most part of the province is dry from November to April and wet the rest of the year. Annual rainfall is 1000 to 1305.3 millimeters (39.4 inches to 51.4 inches) with November having the heaviest rainfall and April having the least. Siquijor has a mean temperature of 27.8 Celsius (80.6 F) and humidity of 78%.

 

PEOPLE

Siquijodnons are peace-loving, friendly, hospitable and generous people making Siquijor one of the most peaceful island in the Philippines. However, Siquijodnons are very superstitious such that quack doctors and supposed healers abound on the island.

As of 1995, the population of the island numbered 73,756 with an average annual growth rate of 0.0467%.  According to the 2000 census the population grew at a rate of 2.19% to 81,598.  Literacy rate is one of the highest in the Philippines at 92.5% with Cebuano, Tagalog and English as the dominant languages used.

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