“If someone insists on giving you a gift, politely decline it”
These are just some of the warnings that people told me when they found out that I was going to Siquijor for a week-long Central Visayas trip with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines. While there were other destinations in the Philippines to choose from for TPB’s first-ever domestic Product Familiarization Tour which I was invited to take part in, I immediately chose the Siquijor-Dumaguete-Bohol tour just because I’ve always dreamed of going to Siquijor.
Shrouded in magic and dark tales, the mere mention of the word Siquijor sends chills down the spine of many Filipinos. Believed to be inhabited by mystical and dark creatures like aswang, ghosts, witches, and sorcerers; this reputation might have gotten people to repulse the third smallest island in the Philippines , but it’s for the same reason that tourists (myself included) are attracted to the island once called Isla de Fuego (Island of Fire). It was dubbed so because of the eerie glow of the island according to the Spanish conquistadors who discovered it in 1565. The truth? It was just swarms of fireflies that flitted around the island’s Molave trees seen from a distance.