Our Adventure Craze in Siquijor

To see it fast and quick and live to tell it thru social media...in the world of blogging.

Competitive as I am, I was pretty excited and eager to test my skill and challenged my age. I would probably be rubbing elbows or do the ala Jaworski shoving with participants probably half my age.

I am not that old. I love challenges. And I could probably win it. Or so I thought.. 

You can call it opportunities or choices. Not everyone will or can experience the opportunity to see the wonderful tourists sites and adventures in the mystique island of Siquijor in a race.  But race we did not as we spent more time roaming around the island. Here's what we did in Siquijor (Photos courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis):

1st challenge: Sack Race

Challenging? Maybe. But what does it got to do with tourism? It does! Because we are racing and jumping in the white sands of Coco Grove Beach Resort in San Juan, Siquijor. With the morning smell of sun in the beach and pristine waters under the shade or coconut trees. Probably now I understand why it's called Coco Grove. It strengthens me to jump even more. True enough, the first challenged pushed my body against youth. And I survived the first!

Sack race in Siquijor
Sack race at Coco Grove Beach Resort in San Juan, Siquijor, Philippines

2nd challenge: Swim at Capilay Spring Park

Gasping for air after the first challenge, a swim would probably end the opportunity. The water was cold coming from a nearby spring. One could marvel at a spring and park right at the middle the town center. They say when you swim in the cool, fresh water, fish swim with you. Small fish from the spring that eventually grow big is an adventure and attraction in itself. Older folks believed that it is good for your health. It was enough motivation to win.

Capilay Spring Park in San Juan Siquijor
Capilay Spring Park in San Juan, Siquijor, Philippines

Did I win? I survived! 

My only wish was to have stayed in the water longer and enjoy its healing wonders. Right there and then, the craze was born. Forget about winning. We would not win anyway. At at that instant, my mind agrees with my body. Why not make a choice instead. Take this opportunity!  And we chose to experience more and enjoy the vast wonders of Siquijor. Believe me, Siquijor has more to offer.

3rd Challenge: To produce our own "lana"

This place is known as the place where "island healers" prepare their lana or oils for healing. they prepared them with prayers or rituals. It was a mystical experience for me. An old man healer gave the hows and the "cooking" was done. We got the meat from 3 coconuts using the traditional "kudkuran". Our teammates were putting up the fire as we did this. I have heard about this but has not actually seen it. A must try experience for both believers and skeptics..

making medicinal oil in Siquijor
Making own lana at San Antonio, Siquijor, Siquijor, Philippines

4th Challenge: Cook Lunch at the Triad

This I thought I am good at. I love grilling pork bellies and fish.. But what adds thrill and "appetizer" are 15 pieces of fresh "salawaki" or sea urchins. Muy delicioso! Muy sabroso! Those words from a foreign language is what I blurted out after tasting it. Truly, when the mouth is full and the heart will speak. At the same time, we enjoyed the splendor of the Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop. In between three barangays in Larena. We had picturesque views over the top of the mountain.. I was in awe! From there..while "wasting" time together with our group, we decided to enjoy more and experience more. That is our new challenge!

Triad viewing deck in Larena Siquijor
The view at the Triad Coffee Shop

Side trips! 

From the Triad we took it easy. We went to see other places. We spent more time enjoying Siquijor. We knew we would lose the race anyway. But we will enjoy our time and perhaps others to fall in love with Siquijor

5th challenge,  1st choices.

We were headed to lovely Lilibeths homemade cooking and experience baking pan de coco the traditional way. But first, we made a detour at Larena proper and dropped by the Sandugan Boulevard for selfies and groupies. We made serious and wacky poses and enjoyed our time.

Making pan de coco in Enrique Villanueva Siquijor
Kneading the pan bisaya dough

It was now our turn to bake. As we see other groups hurriedly knead the flour and gobbled their pan de coco, we took our time. There was no hurry for us this time. Lovely Lilibeth saved the best for last. We savored our pan de coco with no less than Enrico Villanueva Mayor Gerold Pal-ing joining the "feast". Other groups never had the chance because they are in it to win the race.

Pan de coco at Enrique Villanueva Siquijor
Pan de coco

New name! 

Because we took a different  route and pursued new challenges, we combine blog and "la-ag". We became " blo-aggers"! Laag by the way, is a Cebuano term that means to stroll leisurely.

6th challenge: Tree planting at Salagdoong 

Since the coordinators can't seem to locate the planting sites, the idea now is to just have a photo opportunity with the rattan saplings then go. Since we a have different goal now, we went beyond what was asked. We located the intended planting sites and planted some saplings. We were never pressed with time. So we enjoyed the greenery and the shade. We marveled at 202.15 hectares full of more than 16,000 trees. Probably, if someone fell from the sky, he or she will be cradled first by the leaves and branches before touching the ground.  The place is called Salagdoong which when literally translated means a birds nest. Then we enjoyed the breathtaking scenes and pristine waters of Salagdoong beach. I was dared to jump from a big rock about 30 ft to the cool clear waters. But I begged off for that time. I have done enough jumping for one day. But I will be back to experience this breathtaking opportunity. I promise myself that!

Tree planting at Salagdoong Maria Siquijor
Tree planting at Salagdoong

Side trips pa more! 

Before going to the next challenge, we visited the oldest house in Talingting or Enrique Villanueva. We also prayed at Our Lady of Divine Providence Church. Then, we witnessed their century old bell tower and magnificent altar in Maria.  We also made a wish at a wishing well at the nearby Poor Clare Monastery.

Maria Church in Siquijor
Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in Maria, Siquijor, Philippines

7th challenge: selfie at Cambugahay Falls 

Originally, the challenge was a Tarzan & Jane jump to the falls. Since its a race and the trek down and back may be too much to handle, a selfie by one or two with the waterfalls as a background will do. But again, we decided to experience more. We trekked down and got mesmerized by the Cambugahay Falls. Going further, we also did the Tarzan swing with my partner as Jane. Ha-ha. We shouted. But we did not let go of the vine... why should I? Tarzan held on to the vine, right!

Cambugahay Falls in Lazi Siquijor
Cambugahay Falls

From there we side tripped to the biggest convent in Asia and was solemnly awed by the wooden floors and stoned walls of San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi. A must visit for lovers of religious and cultural history.

Lazi Church in Siquijor
San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines

Last challenge: Photo at the Balete Tree 

Balete tree in Lazi Siquijor
Blaagers having a fish spa underneath the balete tree

I captioned it "fish kills" not because the fishes died from eating dead skin from our feet. But because they literally kill these cells. It tickled. Others screamed. I actually enjoyed it. To be honest, we were giving them a good value meal. I am not disappointed for not winning the race. I had a crazy day though and was happy we made those choices. I hope you can visit Siquijor someday and choose to explore and experience more. Siquijor has more to offer than just challenges and adventure. It is a lasting experience that both the young and the old can enjoy. Our limited pictures do no justice compared to our most enjoyable experiences. So just head on to isla del fuego and experience the beauty and splendor of Siquijor firsthand.

This article was written by Augustus Escobia. Mr. Escobia Head of the Effective Development Communication Unit of the Province of Bohol. He wrote this piece based on his experiences from the 22nd RADIO 7 annual convention #InfoTourismAdventureRace in #SensationalSiquijor, 28-30 October 2015.

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