Now You Know: SIQUIJOR’S 6 ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES

Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas2 Region (Region3 VII)4. It has 6 municipalities5: Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor (the capital, and yes, it has the same name as the province). See related posts: (I will place links here)

The province1 has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions, way before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. The island then was the home of the Kingdom of Katugasan (from the word tugas, or Molave trees, that cover the hills, found all over the island). The people lived in caves, traded with the Chinese, and developed the art of traditional healing and witchcraft belief systems. Datu Kihod was their last reigning monarch, sometime during the 16th century. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals.

In 1565, this island was discovered by Esteban Rodriguez and Juan Aguirre of the Legaspi6 expedition. Founded in 1783 under the administration of secular clergymen, Siquijor became the first municipality5 as well as the first parish to be established on the island. Siquijor was, from the beginning, administered by the Diocese of Cebu7. That is how the local people started to become Roman Catholics.

The first Augustinian Recollect8 priests arrived in Siquijor in 1794. Several years later, a priest of the same order founded the parishes of Larena (initially called Canoan), Lazi (formerly Tigbawan), San Juan (Makapilay), and Maria (Cang‑meniao). With the exception of Enrique Villanueva, the other five municipalities5 were established as parishes in 1877. No wonder the province has some of the oldest churches in the Philippines. To-date, ninety-five percent of the island’s residents are Roman Catholic.

This province1 showcases the unique culture of blending Catholicism with traditional religious practices – a major part of its people’s cultural heritage, identity and character. Siquijor is a mystical island and it also has 6 Roman Catholic churches9: Let us know more about these centuries-old churches:

1.Our Lady of Divine Providence10 Church (Santa Maria Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Maria, established in 1887, known for its famous replica of Santa Rita de Cascia12, or the Black Maria, as the locals call it.

Santa_Maria_Church-Maria-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Santa_Maria_Church_(Maria,_Siquijor).jpg – Franz Miko Verzon – own work

2. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (Mount Carmel Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Enrique Villanueva, along the island’s Circumferential Road, in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel13.

Mount_Carmel_Church-Enrique-Villanueva-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mount_Carmel_Church_01.JPG – Lawrence Ruiz – own work

3. St. Augustine Parish (Macapilay Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of San Juan, built in 1863, in honor of St. Augustine of Hippo14.

San_Agustin_Parish_Church-San Juan-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimeida.org/wiki/File:San_Agustin_Parish_Church.jpg – Franz Miko Verzon – own work

4. St. Francis of Assisi Church (Siquijor Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Siquijor, located very near the port, and established under the patronage of St. Francis de Assisi15 on February 1, 1783. A Philippine historical marker16 was issued on May 19, 1984.

St._Francis_of_Assisi_Church-Siquijor-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_of_Assisi_Church_(Siquijor,_Siquijor) – Franz Miko Verzon – own work

5. St. Isidore the Farmer17 Church (Lazi Church), or San Isidro Labrador Parish Church – This is the parish church11 of the town of Lazi, founded in 1857 by the Recollects8, and declared a National Historical Landmark18 by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines19 in 1984, and a National Cultural Treasure20 by the National Museum of the Philippines21 in 2001. It was also nominated to be part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites22 Tentative List since 2006, under the collective group of Baroque23 Churches of the Philippines (Extension). See my post: (I will place a link here). It also has one of the largest convents in the Philippines, located at the opposite side of the street, facing the church. A Philippine historical marker16 was issued on May 19, 1984.

Lazi_Church-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia/wiki/File:Lazi_Church_01.JPG – Lawrence Ruiz – own work

6. Saint Vincent Ferrer Church (Larena Church) – This is the parish church11 of the town of Larena, erected on June 14, 1836, with the advocacy of San Vicente Ferrer24.

St._Vincent_Ferrer_Church_in_Larena-SiquijorSource: https://commons.wikimedia/wiki/File:St._Vincent_Ferrer_Church_in_Larena.JPG

The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”25, “List of Historical Markers of the Philippines in Central Visayas”26 and “List of Cultural Properties of the Philippines in Central Visayas”27

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH CHURCH AND CONVENT, SIQUIJOR, PALITON BEACH: THE LITTLE BORACAY OF SIQUIJOR, GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR, Now You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS, ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR, TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!, and SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region3. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities28 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays29, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”30 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions3: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces1, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.31 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

3A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities28 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays29. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”32 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region3 located in the island group of Visayas2, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units33 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”32

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)33, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays29, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”34

6Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1502-August 20, 1572), also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo (The Elder), was a Spanish navigator and governor who established the first Spanish settlement in the East Indies when his expedition crossed the Pacific Ocean, from the Viceroyalty of New Spain, in modern-day Mexico, and arrived in Cebu, in the Philippines. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.”35

7The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu is a Roman Rite36 archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, and one of the ecclesiastical provinces of the Roman Catholic Church in the country. It is composed of the entire civil province of Cebu. It is the Mother Church of the Philippines, established as a diocese on August 14, 1595, and as an archdiocese on April 28, 1934. The jurisdiction, Cebu, is considered as the fount of Christianity in the Far East. The seat of the archdiocese is the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Immaculate Conception, more commonly known as the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu.”37

8The Recollects were a French reform branch of the Order of Friars Minor created at the end of the 15th century, commonly known today as the Franciscans, best known for their presence as missionaries in various parts of the world. They wore gray habits and pointed hoods, took vows of poverty, and devoted their lives to prayer, penance, and spiritual reflection. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII officially dissolved the Recollects order and integrated it as a part of the Franciscan order, officially changing their name to Friars Minor. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Recollects”.38

9https://www.tripzilla.ph/siquijor-visita-iglesia-guide/102

10Our Lady of Divine Providence is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, often traced to Her intervention and foresight for Jesus’ first miracle, turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana, to avoid an embarrassing situation for the newlywed couple. She is identified as Queen of the Home, with Her feast day celebrated on November 19, and devotion to Her originated in Italy. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Our Lady of Divine Providence”.39

11A parish church, or parochial church, in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious center of a parish in many parts of the world. The parish church, especially in rural areas, may play a significant role in community activities, often allowing its premises to be used for non-religious community events. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Parish church”.40

12Saint Rita of Cascia, born Margherita Lotti (1381 – 22 May 1457), was an Italian widow and Augustinian nun venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. She joined the Augustinian community of religious sisters after her abusive husband was murdered. There, she was known for the efficacy of her prayers, often portrayed with a bleeding wound on her forehead, understood to indicate a partial stigmata, with various miracles attributed to her intercession. She was canonized on May 24, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII, and her feast day is celebrated on May 22. She was bestowed the title of Patroness of Impossible Causes, and also came to be known as the patroness of abused wives and heartbroken women. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Rita of Cascia”.41

13Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Her role as Patroness of the Carmelite Order since the first Christian hermits lived on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. Readers, you can pray to Her for protection from harmful and dangerous situations, and deliverance of souls from Purgatory. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”.42

14Saint Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 23 August 430) was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher from Numidia (a Roman province on the North African coast), whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was Bishop of Hippo Regius (the ancient name of the modern city of Annaba, in Algeria) in North Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church fathers in Western Christianity for his writings. He is the Patron of Augustinians, and is the Patron Saint for brewers, printers, theologians, and the alleviation of sore eyes. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Augustine of Hippo”.43

15Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226), informally called Francesco, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Claire, the Third Order of Saint Francis, and the Custody of the Holy Land. He was canonized on July 16, 1228, and designated as the Patron Saint of Italy, and later became associated with the patronage of animals and the natural environment. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Francis of Assisi”.44

16A historical marker, commemorative plaque, historical plaque, or simply plaque, is a plate of metal, ceramic, stone, wood, or other material, typically attached to a wall, stone, or other vertical surface, and bearing  text or an image in relief, or both, to commemorate one or more persons, an event, a former use of the place, or some other thing. Many modern plaques are used to associate the location where the plaque is installed with the person, event, or item commemorated as a place worthy of visit. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Commemorative plaque”.45

17Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer, or Isidore the Farmer (c. 1070 – 15 May 1130/1142) was a Spanish farm worker known for his piety towards the poor and animals. His feast day is celebrated on May 15, and is the Patron Saint of farmers, agriculture and day laborers. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer”.46

18A National Historical Landmark of the Philippines is a place or an object that is associated with an event, achievement, characteristics or modification that presents a turning point or stage in history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines”.47

19The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is a government agency of the Philippines which promotes Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management, and heraldry works, thereby inculcating awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, instilling pride in the Filipino people, and rekindling the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Historical Commission of the Philippines”.48

20A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) of the Philippines is a tangible (movable and immovable) or intangible heritage property declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts49 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines21, National Library of the Philippines50, and National Archives of the Philippines51. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 200952 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines53 by the Philippine government. The title of NCT is the highest designation given to a “unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation”.54 The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Treasure”.55

21The National Museum of the Philippines is a government institution in the Philippines which serves as the educational, scientific and cultural institution in preserving the various permanent national collections featuring the ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual artistry of the Philippines. It was formed on October 29, 1901, with headquarters in Padre Burgos Avenue, in Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila. Since 1998, it has been the regulatory and enforcement agency of the national government in restoring and safeguarding important cultural properties, sites and reservations throughout the Philippines. It is under the Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and Arts49. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.56 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

22A UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) is a unique landmark, or geographically and historically identifiable place which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific, physical or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the International World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties which are elected by the General Assembly. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “World Heritage Site”.57

23Baroque architecture began in Rome, Italy, in the late 16th century, which conveys grandeur and drama, most often used in palaces and churches. It includes curving forms, oval shapes, and a combination of concave and convex forms that make walls seem to undulate, or appear wavy, with a strong sense of motion. It groups things together like columns and decorative flourishes on building surfaces. Architectural elements are repeated across a surface. It uses distortion to make figures elongated, broken, or manipulated in some manner to make them stand out. Buildings have columns, sometimes topped with capitals and large volutes, scroll, or spiral forms. Sculptural wall elements will often project from the surface which is full of forms to increase the interplay of light and shadow across them. Inside, Baroque structures will often have ceilings painted in bright colors, made to fool one’s eye into believing one is looking at the sky. Buildings also have very rich surface treatments, including interiors with stucco58, various colored marbles, and gold gilt or thin sheets of gold applied to surfaces. Most Baroque churches have vaulted ceilings, supported by a series of interconnected arches.59

24Saint Vincent Ferrer (23 January 1350 – 5 April 1419) was a Valencian Dominican friar who gained acclaim as a missionary and logician. He is the Patron Saint of builders, prisoners, construction workers, plumbers, fishermen, and Spanish orphanages. He is honored as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and other churches of Catholic traditions, like the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Vincent Ferrer”.60

25“Siquijor,” accessed March 8, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

26“List of historical markers of the Philippines in Central Visayas”, accessed March 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_historical_markers_of_the_Philippines_in_Central_Visayas

27“List of Cultural Properties of the Philippines in Central Visayas”, accessed March 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Cultural_Properties_of_the_Philippines_in_Central_Visayas

28A city is the local government unit33 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which acts as the city’s legislative body. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”61

29A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”62

30“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

31“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

32“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

33A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities63; component cities64 and municipalities5; and, barangays29, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.65

34“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

35“Miguel Lopez de Legazpi,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Lopez_de_Legazpi

36The Roman rite is the most widespread liturgical rite in the Catholic Church as well as the most popular and widespread Rite in all of Christendom. It has been adapted over the centuries and the history of its Eucharistic liturgy can be divided into 3 stages: the Pre-Tridentine Mass, Tridentine Mass, and the Mass of Paul VI (the current form of the Mass in the Catholic Church). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Roman rite.”66

37“Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Archdiocese_of_Cebu

38“Recollects,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recollects

39“Our Lady of Divine Providence,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Divine_Providence

40“Parish church,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parish_church

41“Saint Rita of Cascia,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Rita_of_Cascia

42“Our Lady of Mount Carmel,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Mount_Carmel

43“Saint Augustine of Hippo,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Augustine_of_Hippo

44“Saint Francis of Assisi,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Francis_of_Assisi

45“Commemorative plaque,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commemorative_plaque

46“Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Isidore_the_Farm_Laborer

47“Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:_National_Historical_Landmarks_of_the_Philippines

48“National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Historical_Commission_of_the_Philippines

49“National Commission for Culture and Arts,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_for_Culture_and_Arts

50“National Library of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_the_Philippines

51“National Archives of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Archives_of_the_Philippines

52“National Cultural Heritage Act,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Heritage_Act

53“Cultural properties of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_properties_of_the_Philippines

54www.primer.com.ph

55“National Cultural Treasure,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Treasure

56“National Museum of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_the_Philippines

57“World Heritage Site,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Heritage_Site

58Stucco refers to the cement-based and fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations. It hardens into a highly durable material that requires little maintenance and can be used to obtain different textures and finishes.67

59https://study.com/academy/lesson/italian-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

60“Vincent Ferrer,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Ferrer

61“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

62“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

63An independent city is a type of city28 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region3 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city68 or independent component city69. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”61

64A component city is a type of city28 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city68. It is under the jurisdiction of a province1. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”61

65“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

66“Roman rite,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_rite

67https://www.thebalancesmb.com/choose-right-stucco-mix-844655

68A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city28 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.61 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link – Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

69An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city28 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province1 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city68. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now You Know: THE SIX MUNICIPALITIES OF SIQUIJOR

Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas2 Region (Region3 VII)4, Philippines. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, Camiguin to the east, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao. The people are called Siquijodnons. See a related post: ____________________________

Ph_map_siquijorSource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_map_siquijor.png

This province has 6 municipalities5: Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor (the capital, and yes, it is also called Siquijor).  Let Tita S briefly tell you about each of them:

ENRIQUE VILLANUEVA

 Enrique Villanueva is a coastal municipality5 in the northeastern part of Siquijor, in the Central Visayas4. It was adorned with mangroves when we passed along the Circumferential Road. The town of Larena is located to the west and Maria to the south.

Ph_locator_siquijor_enrique_villanuevaSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_enrique_villanueva.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

It was formerly a barangay6 of Larena, and was called Talingting, after the local term for the abundant fish caught there, called Talingtingon.

It has with 14 barangays6 and a land area of 28.6 square kilometers, making it the smallest municipality5 of the province1 both in terms of size, and of population. The municipality of Maria is located to its south.

This municipality5 was named after a former governor of the province1 of Negros Oriental, Enrique Cayetano Teves Villanueva, who served during the era of the American Occupation of the Philippines, (i.e., his term of office was from 1916 to 1925, when Siquijor was still part of the said province), and was responsible for upgrading it as a municipality, according to Wikipedia page “Governor of Negros Oriental”.7

Enrique Villanueva is known for the following destinations: Tulapos Marine Sanctuary – go snorkeling or diving in this 14-hectare marine sanctuary, established in 1986, complete with white sand beach, coral reefs and mangroves; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Church; the Bitaug, Isa, Napayong and Olave Caves – go spelunking in these caves; and, Cang-Isok House – the oldest surviving house in Siquijor province.

You can also have a snack at Lilibeth’s Pan de Bisaya, a simple roadside bakery at Barangay6 Bino-Ongan, and try its signature Pan de Bisaya, a bun filled with bukayo (sweetened grated coconut), best enjoyed with hot coffee. You can also try their other products: bibingka (rice cake), ensaymada (sweet, spiral-shaped pastry), salbaro (coconut-flavored biscuit), and other baked items. Contact 0926-2019485.

LARENA

Ph_locator_siquijor_larenaSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_larena.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

Larena is a municipality5 of Siquijor with 23 barangays. It is located in the northwestern tip of the province. Enrique Villanueva is to the east, Siquijor is to the southwest, Maria is to the southeast, and Lazi is to the south. Formerly called Canoan, it was made the head town for the whole island of Siquijor during the Spanish period, and has since maintained this position as the hub of business activities in the province1, with its port, commercial banks, and other commercial establishments, according to the Wikipedia page “Larena”.8

Governor Demetrio Larena, the first Filipino governor of Negros Oriental and Siquijor (term: 1901-1905), changed the municipality’s name from Canoan to Larena, making it his namesake. This change was duly approved by the Philippine legislature, according to the Wikipedia page “Demetrio Larena”9 and “Larena”8.

When Siquijor became an independent province1 on September 17, 1971 by RA 6396, the municipality5 of Larena was chosen as its capital. A year after, the capital was transferred to Siquijor town, by Proclamation 1975.

You can visit the following destinations in Larena: the Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary, Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish Church, Cangbangag Falls, Sandugan Beach and Siquijor State College. The Canoan Festival, held every last week of April, celebrates the humble beginnings of this municipality5.

LAZI8

Lazi, formerly called Tigbawan, is a coastal municipality5 in the island province1 of Siquijor, with 18 barangays6. It is located in the mid-southern part of the island, with the town of Larena to the north, Siquijor to the northwest, San Juan to the southwest, and Maria to the east. This town was founded in 1857.

Ph_locator_siquijor_laziSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_lazi.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

It is known for the following attractions: the 400-year-old enchanting balete tree with fish spa (see related post: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR), Baeran Cave, Banahaw Cave, Cabangcalan Cave, Cadamel Cave, Cambugahay Falls (see a related post: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!), Cantino Cave, Catiray Cave, Catugasan Cave, Dalili Cave, Hapitanan (see a related post: GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR), Ilihan Cave with Antique Coffin, Kagusuan Beach, Kalumbuyan Cave, Kawasan Cave, Lahong Cave, Lazi Convent and Lazi Church or San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (see a related post: SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH CHURCH AND CONVENT, SIQUIJOR), Libo Cave, Sambolawan Cave, Tagmanocan Cave, Talayong Cave, and Talisay Cave.

The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lazi, Siquijor”10, “Siquijor”11, and http://siquijor.islandsphilippines.com/siquijor_caves.php. Visit this site for more information: http://www.phtourguide.com/municipality-of-lazi-in-siquijor/

MARIA

 Maria, formerly called Cang-meniao, is an eastern and coastal municipality5 of the island province1 of Siquijor, with 22 barangays6. The town of Larena is to the northwest, Enrique Villanueva is to the northeast, and Lazi to the southwest.

Ph_locator_siquijor_mariaSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_maria.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

This town is known for Bacong Beach, Kagusuan Beach, Kanglayawis Cave, Lapac Cave, Lugawan Cave, Mainit Cave, Marianico Cave, Olang Art Park, Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish Church, and Salagdoong Beach (see a related post: SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR), Salagdoong Forest Reserve, and Salagdoong Cave.

SAN JUAN

San Juan is a town of Siquijor with 15 barangays6. It was called Makalipay during the Spanish times till the mid-19th century, in 1863.

This town is located in the southwestern part of the island. Siquijor is to the northeast and Lazi is to the southeast.

Ph_locator_siquijor_san_juanSource: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of_Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_san_juan.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

You can visit the following destinations: Bulalakaw Forest Reservation, Cambasia Cave, Canghaling Cave, Cansilla Cave, Capilay Spring Park, Lapac Cave, Lugnason Falls, Marelle’s Underwater World Museum, Napo Cave, Paliton Beach (see a related post: PALITON BEACH: THE LITTLE BORACAY OF SIQUIJOR), and St. Augustine Parish Church, San Juan Beach, Solangon Beach, Tubod Beach and Marine Sanctuary.

SIQUIJOR

 Siquijor is a municipality5 located on the western part of the island of Siquijor, with 15 barangays6. Larena is to the northwest, San Juan is to the southwest, and Lazi is to the southeast.

Ph_locator_siquijor_siquijorSource: https://commons.wsikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_of-Siquijor#/media/File:Ph_locator_siquijor_siquijor.png – Mike Gonzalez (TheCafe) – English Wikipedia

This town is known for: Ambakag Baki Cave; Bandilaan Cave and Mountain View Park, Nature Centre and Nature Park; Boljo Cave; Canghunoghunog Cave; Cangmatnog Cave; Cangmohao Cave, Cantabon Cave (said to be the most visited cave in the island); Dacanay Cave; Eugenia Cave; Guiwahon Spring Park; Kanheron Ranch Museum; Lunas Cave; St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church with Siquijor Belltower, Sam-ang Cave; San Antonio Cave; Siquijor Beach, Tamsis Cave, Tulawog Cave.

I also got information from people I talked with during my Siquijor tour.

I expected a lot of beaches since this province is an island, but I was surprised with the number of caves – 32! Gosh, this island can also be called the Spelunking Island of the Philippines! I hope they can fully explore each cave and certify them safe for tourists, develop them as tourist attractions, train professional cave tour guides, and market this interesting activity in the island!

I just realized that there are so many things to do and see in this island so you can easily stay for six days, one day per town! This certainly motivates me to return to this province. Have you ever been to Siquijor? Well, if you answered negatively, what are you waiting for? Read related posts about my Siquijor tour:

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re Siquijor’s municipalities5. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region3. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. Remember, a province in the Philippines is divided into cities12 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”13 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions3: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces1, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.14 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

3A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces1, composed of cities12 and municipalities5 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays6. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”15 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region3 located in the island group of Visayas2, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units16 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”15

5A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)16, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays6, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”17

6A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”18

7https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Negros_Oriental

8“Larena,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larena

9“Demetrio Larena,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demetrio_Larena

10“Lazi, Siquijor,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi,_Siquijor

11“Siquijor,” accessed March 2, 2019, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

12A city in the Philippines is the local government unit16 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which serves as the city’s legislative body. Congress is the only legislative entity that can incorporate a city in the country. Upon receiving its charter, a city also receives a full complement of executive departments to best serve its constituents. There are 145 cities, as of 2016, in the country. All these were obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”19 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

13“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

14“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

15“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

16A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities20; component cities21 and municipalities5; and, barangays6, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”22

17“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

18“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

19“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

20An independent city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a province1 so it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region3 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city23 or independent component city24. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”19

21A component city is a type of city12 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city23. It is under the jurisdiction of a province1. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality5. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”19

22“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

23A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city12 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.19 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

24An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city12 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province1 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city23. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”19

ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR

The famous and majestic 400-year old Balete tree is located in Barangay1 Campalanas, in the town of Lazi, in the island province2 of Siquijor3, in the Central Visayas Region (Region VII)of the Philippines. It is reputed to be the oldest and biggest tree in this province.

Some people believe that balete5 trees are mystical, possess spiritual powers, and are dwelling places for supernatural beings called “anito”6, like diwata7, kapre8 or tikbalang9. Local folklore reveals that sorcery rituals are performed inside the chambers formed by these sacred trees. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Balete tree”.10

For what it is worth, just in case you believe in such beings and feel uneasy about a particular new place you visit, elders used to tell me not to point my fingers or hands, especially towards old houses for fear that beings there might play tricks on me and/or join me when I leave the place. If by chance you feel odd thereafter, and you realize that you are going in circles and cannot leave a particular town or place, just remove your shirt/blouse and wear it, inside out. For severe cases, sprinkle salt on your vehicle and do not go straight to your house. Make “pagpag”11 by stopping anywhere, like a store, to leave such beings behind.

I recall my childhood days in New Manila, Quezon City, where we resided on a major street perpendicular to, and near, the famous street called Balete Drive, named after a huge balete5 tree that used to stand in the middle of that street. Since the 1950s, the tale of a white lady who hailed taxis at night further added to the haunted image of this street and was the subject of so many hair-raising stories. Well, come to think of it, I spent 30 years of my life there, and did not see any kind of “anito”6 or white lady.

My group did not go to Siquijor4 to experience the so-called sorcery side. We wanted to discover and appreciate its natural beauty all in one day, so all my posts regarding this island are about nature-tripping (its flora, beaches, etc.), a cultural stop (the Lazi Church), and the cheerful and hospitable Siquijodnons.

Now for my experience at Siquijor’s old enchanted balete5 tree and fish spa:

My group left Dumaguete City12 port early and took a ferry ride aboard Ocean Jet13, to the town of Larena, where the Siquijor3 port is located. We arrived after an hour, disembarked, walked to the main gate of the port, and negotiated the rental of an air-conditioned van for a day trip called Siquijor Coastal Tour for PHP3,500.

We chose Yane’s Adventures Van Services14 and were lucky to get a very cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.

Alternatively, you can hire a multicab15, tricycle16, or motorcycle to do the same service as a “special trip”, depending on your budget and the number of people with you. You can also opt to ride along with the locals, and pay the regular rate, but I guess this might be difficult at some stops and might create delays. Our group consisted of seven people, including a 7-year-old kid, so it was more convenient to hire a van.

Our driver, Jimmy, handed us a laminated map of Siquijor, showing all the possible destinations to be squeezed into our day tour. We opted to see only 6 major destinations of the island province, and this 400-year old tree cum fish spa was our second stop.

The property where this imposing, majestic tree is located is clean and well-maintained. It also has an open parking area fronting the main street of Siquijor3. Our driver parked in front of the souvenir shop.

1-entrance

2-parking-JimmyJimmy Bueno, our cheerful and expert driver in Siquijor (Yane’s Adventures Van Services)

3-facadeA restaurant is located at the 2nd level and assorted items are for sale at the ground floor

The shop offered a wide variety of pasalubong17 and goodies, from snacks and cold refreshments to ease your immediate hunger and thirst, to assorted local products like Siquijor3 t-shirts, key chains, bracelets, love potions, miniature voodoo dolls, mystic herbal wine, as well as other products like native bags and delicacies from nearby places.1-store-collage-ok

5-siquior-goodies-collage-okTake your pick – Love Potions, Voodoo Dolls, and Mystic Herbal Wine

To the right of the shop is the table with local government representatives, where the entrance fee of PHP10 is collected.6-entrance-fee-ok

When one walks further on, the huge quadricentennial tree can be accessed to the left; the nearby man-made fish spa area stands to its right.7-tree-fish-spa

It is quite surprising that this enchanting and enthralling tree did not look scary at all to me. People take turns taking pictures under this tree, and we patiently waited for our turn to do so. After seeing your solo or group pictures taken under this tree, you will realize how small you are in comparison. But you feel one with it. It is definitely not creepy at all!

I took several shots of the different parts of this captivating tree and, in my crazy and imaginative mind, I wondered what this old tree could possibly tell me, if it could talk. I just felt contented holding the tree’s trunk and other parts I could reach. I thanked it for giving me fresh oxygen, the same way it has given to the people of the barangayfor centuries. I thanked it too for allowing the spring water to flow beneath it – the water being essential to the relaxation tourists felt during their fish spa experience.8-tree collage

9-tree-collage-ok

Dearest city-dwelling and stressed Senior Citizens (SCs), you do not have to hug a tree. Trees are good for our health, and you just have to be near them to breathe the pure and fresh oxygen they emit and be energized with their presence as well.

Can you recall any of the following people-tree connections: Buddha’s enlightenment under a fig tree; Plato teaching his students under an olive tree; and, Isaac Newton forming his theory of gravity after observing an apple fall to the ground?

Well, what are you waiting for? Go to Siquijor3 and see this gigantic and enchanting balete5 tree!

Admittedly, I spent a longer time in the souvenir shop, so I was late in reaching the fish spa area. By that time, my companions were comfortably seated on the edge of the pool, enjoying the fish spa.

It was interesting to observe that a spring emanates from the base, or roots, of the baletetree, and flows into a cemented man-made pool, turned into a fish spa area, where willing tourists can remove their footwear and soak their feet in the flowing spring water, and where eager (and I guess, hungry) fish of different sizes take turns nibbling on their dead skin.

The design of the cemented pool was convenient for people to converse and sit side-by-side along the edges, with Dr. Fish nibbling on their feet. The pool is well-maintained, so you need not worry where to sit or place your footwear.

Is the practice of fish spa sanitary? I researched a bit worldwide, and found out that some countries ban them while others do not. The local Siquijor3 government is maintaining the area, and nothing happened to my companions,so I guess it is safe. Perhaps, this could be a future topic for my “Say, Say, Say” section in this blog.

I am no scientist, but I surmise that the small Dr. Fish are called garra rufa18 or nibble fish. These fish have no teeth, so they just suck the dead skin from submerged feet. However, I was surprised to see large tilapias19attacking the feet of my companions and decided not to soak my feet in the water. Why? Because tilapias have teeth. But I guess it was fine since they only felt a very gentle scratching on their feet. Talk about natural feet exfoliation!

10-fish-spa-tilapia

I was content taking pictures and videos of my companions’ dangling legs and soaked feet during their fish “pedicure”. My companions were so relaxed, and I zoomed in on the numerous fish nibbling on their feet to remove dead skin.

The large number of people relaxing and enjoying the fish spa only proves that the superstition about balete5 trees is not applicable in this case. And you know what? This is good for the tourism industry of this beautiful island province2.

The location of the enchanting balete5 tree and fish spa along the main street did not diminish the peace and relaxation of our stay.

By the way, there is a small stall that sells fresh coconut at the rightmost part of the fish spa area. A coconut was priced at PHP30. That would have been so refreshing indeed, but we had a hearty breakfast and still felt full!12-buko for sale

We only stayed for barely an hour – shopping for souvenirs and t-shirts, taking pictures with the old balete5 tree, and my companions soaking their feet for a fish spa. Besides, the place was getting a bit crowded, it was almost late morning, and we wanted to explore the other destinations of this island.

13-comfort roomThere is a a comfort room for males and females

We paid for our Siquijor Coastal Tour and all comments are personal and based on my experience in this province2.

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!GET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJORNow You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS, and SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR

Writing this post reminded me of Thich Nhat Hanh (October 11, 1926, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist), reflecting on a leaf:

“One autumn day, I was in a park, absorbed in the contemplation of a very small but beautiful leaf, in the shape of a heart. Its color was almost red, and it was barely hanging on the branch, nearly ready to fall down. I spent a long time with it, and I asked the leaf a lot of questions …

I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, ‘No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard and to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I do not worry at all.’ As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’

… That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from the leaf because it is not afraid – it knew nothing can be born and nothing can die.”20, 21

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your visit to this enchanting balete tree and fish spa. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”22

2A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of aregion23. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor.  In the Philippines, a province is divided into cities24 andmunicipalities25 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays1, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”26  Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

3Siquijor is an island province2 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas27 Region (Region VII)4. Its capital is the municipality25 which is also called Siquijor. This coralline island is predominantly hilly, and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing steep cliffs. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao28. It has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals.The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”29

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region23 located in the island group of Visayas27, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units30 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor3. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”31

5A balete tree, balite or baliti, refers to several species of the trees endemic to the Philippines, from the genus Ficus (with large, thick, or stiff leaves), of the family Moraceae. Members of this genus are characterized by a white to yellowish latex, a unique inflorescence, and a distinctive pollination system, i.e., involving a specific wasp species (i.e., fig wasp of the family Agaonidaeas pollinators). Its aerial roots, which reach the soil, grow into it and thicken into additional trunks. The growing roots encircle the host tree and appear to strangle the latter. The host tree eventually dies and rots, leaving a hollow cylinder of roots, which have now become the trunks of the balete tree.32

6An anito,or anitu, refers to ancestor spirits (veneration of guardian spirits of a family or ancestors), nature spirits (deities in charge of the forces of nature), and deities in the indigenous animistic religions of pre-colonial Philippines (900-1521), used in Luzon33. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Anito.”34

7diwata, in Philippine mythology, is the term for a deity or spirit, traditionally used in the Visayas24, Palawan, and Mindanao28 regions, the counterpart of the anito6, the term used in Luzon33. These spirits reside in large trees, such as acacia or balete5, and were understood as the guardian spirits of nature, casting blessings or curses upon those who brought benefits or harm to the forests and mountains. In modern times, the term “diwata” is sometimes loosely used to refer to a generic type of beings, like elves or fairies. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Diwata.”35

8kapre is a Philippine mythical creature that could be characterized as a 7-9 feet, black, hairy, muscular tree male giant or demon, wearing a bahag (loin cloth) and smoking a cigar or tobacco pipe. It is said to dwell in big trees like acacias, balete5, bamboo, and mango, usually seen sitting under those trees, with a strong smell that attracts human attention. It often wears a belt which makes it invisible to humans. It is believed that the kapre holds a magical white stone, a little smaller in size than a quail egg, and should any person happen to obtain this stone, the kapre could grant wishes. It is believed to be nocturnal and omnivorous but not necessarily evil. Kapres may be seen with big, red, glaring eyes at night, and may turn vengeful when the tree that it inhabits is cut down. A kapre can make contact with people to offer friendship, or if it is attracted to a woman. It can also play pranks on people, frequently making travelers become disoriented and lose their way in the mountains or woods, or even in their own familiar surroundings. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Kapre.”36

9tikbalang, or werehorse, is a creature of Philippine folklore said to lurk in dark, sparsely populated, foliage-overgrown areas in forests and mountains of the Philippines. It is a tall, bony humanoid creature with the head and hooves of a horse, and disproportionately long limbs, to the point that its knees reach above its head when it squats down.  It can be a ghost which assumes a variety of forms. In some versions, it is a transformation of an aborted fetus, sent to earth from limbo, or it can transform itself into human form or turn invisible for humans. It scares travelers, leads them astray, and plays tricks on them, such as making them return to an arbitrary path no matter how far they go or turn, counteracted by wearing one’s shirt inside out, or asking permission out loud to pass by or, not to produce too much noise while in the woods, in order not to offend, or disturb it. It is usually found standing at the foot of large trees, beneath bridges, in bamboo clumps or banana groves, and atop balete5 trees, looking around for anyone who dares to bestow malignancy on its kingdom’s territory. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tikbalang.”37

10 “Balete tree,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balete_tree

11Pagpag is a Filipino term with different meanings. For this post, it refers to the superstitious practice of never going directly to one’s home after attending a wake or funeral, to avoid the possibility of the soul of the deceased tagging home. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Pagpag.”38

12Dumaguete City is the capital and most populous city24 of the province2 of Negros Oriental39. It is nicknamed The City of Gentle People because of the hospitality of the locals. It is also called a University City because of the presence of 4 universities and a number of colleges, prominent of which is Siliman University, the first Protestant and American university in the country and Asia. It is also known for its beach resorts and dive sites, dolphin watching, and Apo Island’s giant turtles and awesome corals. It was also named The Best Place to Retire in the Philippines for 2018 by the Philippine Retirement Authority. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Dumaguete.”40

13Ocean Jet is the term for the high-speed water craft, owned and operated by Ocean Fast Ferries, Inc., a wholly owned Filipino corporation, offering ferry services to 10 destinationsin the Philippines – Bacolod (Negros Occidental), Camotes Island and Cebu City (Cebu), Dumaguete10 (Negros Oriental), Iloilo City (Iloilo), Ormoc (Leyte), Larena (Siquijor2) and Tagbilaran (Bohol), Batangas City (Batangas), and another in Calapan (Oriental Mindoro), with a fleet of 17 vessels. It was founded in 1995, then called Socor Shipping Lines (till 2001), with headquarters in Cebu City. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Ocean Fast Ferries.”41 Visit its website: www.oceanjet.net/

14Yane’s Adventures Van Services information – Address: Pangi, Siquijor, Siquijor; Contact numbers: 09052133123, 09069732330 and 09183124461, look for Jade Jumawan Pestillos, and request for our very accommodating and cheerful driver, Jimmy Bueno.

15A multicab is a small, lightweight and narrow truck in the Philippines that is usually used as public transport, with a fixed route, or hired for a special trip, ideal to navigate through narrow streets. It has a seating capacity for 11 to 13 persons. Smaller versions can seat less than 11 and typically have three-cylinder engines. It is similar to a jeepney42 but has a cleaner and less noisy engine. It is typically assembled in a factory in the Philippines, with surplus parts from Japan and South Korea.The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Multicab.”43

16A tricycle, or motorized tricycle, is an indigenous form of the auto rickshaw, and is a common means of public or private transportation, especially in small towns and cities in the rural areas of the Philippines. It can ply a set route, or be for-hire like a taxi, and can be painted colorfully like a jeepney42. It is built in a variety of styles, which differ from city to city, and usually made locally by building a sidecar, and affixing it to an imported motorcycle. Usually, both the motorcycle and sidecar are covered, but not always by the same roof, and can be completely enclosed in heavy plastic covering in rainy weather. A passenger tricycle can accommodate 4 to 6 passengers, or more, excluding the driver. Goods can be placed at the back or on the roof. One or two passengers can sit behind the driver, while several more can sit in the sidecar, depending on the design. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Tricycle.”44

17 Pasalubong is the Filipino term for the tradition of giving gifts or souvenirs, from a destination visited by a Filipino, to family and friends upon one’s return home.

18Garra rufa, red garra, doctor fish or nibble fish, is a small species of cyprinid fish that is native to rivers, streams, ponds and lakes in Anatolia and the West Asian regions. When this fish forages sloughed dead skin, they seek food, which in the wild consists of periphyton, a complex mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, heterotropic microbes, and detritus that is attached to submerged surfaces in most aquatic ecosystems. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Garra rufa.”45

19Tilapia is a freshwater fish which inhabits shallow streams, ponds, riversand lakes. The Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) was one of the first fish species cultured. Today, all commercially important tilapia outside of Africa belong to the genus Oreochromis, and more than 90% of all commercially farmed tilapia outside of Africa are Nile tilapia. The scientific names of tilapia species have been revised a lot in the last 30 years, creating some confusion. The scientific name of the Nile tilapia has been given as Tilapia nilotica, Sarotherodonniloticus, and currently as Oreochromis niloticus. It is shaped much like a sunfish or crappie, but can easily be identified by an interrupted lateral line characteristic of the Cichlid family of fishes. It is laterally compressed and deep-bodied with long dorsal fins. The forward portion of the dorsal fin is heavily spined. Spines are also found in the pelvis and anal fins. There are usually vertical bars down the sides of fry, fingerlings, and sometimes, adults.46

20https://www.patheos.com/blogs/americanbuddhist/2015/10/thich-nhat-hanh-on-an-autumn-leaf-life-death-continuation.html

21https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2015/09/09/people-and-trees-intimately-connected-through-ages#

22A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”47

23A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces2, composed of cities and municipalities25 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays1. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”  See a r4elated post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

24A city is the local government unit30 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), which acts as the city’s legislative body. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”48 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

25A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)30, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province2, subdivided into barangays1, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”49

26“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines.

27Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar) mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces2, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.50 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

28Mindanao is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the second largest island of the country and covers 6 administrative regions: Caraga Region, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). It is composed of 22 provinces2 and 33 cities24 (27 provinces and 33 cities, if associated islands are included). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Mindanao.”12 Mindanao is located in the southern part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Visayas (the middle part).

29“Siquijor,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

30A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces2 and independent cities52; component cities53 and municipalities25; and, barangays1, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.54

31“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines.

32https://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Balete

33Luzon is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is the country’s largest (ranked 15th largest in the world) and most populated island, as well as its economical and political center. Luzon is composed of 8 regions23: Bicol, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Ilocos, MIMAROPA and the National Capital Region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Luzon.”55 Luzon is located in the northern part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Visayas (the middle part) and Mindanao (the southern part of the country).

34“Anito,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anito

35“Diwata,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwata

36“Kapre,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapre

37“Tikbalang,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikbalang

38“Pagpag,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagpag

39Negros Oriental, Oriental Negros or Eastern Negros, is a province2 located in the Central Visayas Region (Region 7)4 of the Philippines. It occupies the southeastern half of the large island of Negros, and borders Negros Occidental, which comprises the northwestern half. It also includes Apo Island, a popular dive site for both local and foreign tourists. Its capital is Dumaguete City12, the seat of government and the most populous city of the province. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Negros Oriental”.56

40“Dumaguete,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumaguete

41“Ocean Fast Ferries,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Fast_Ferries

42A jeepney, or jeep, is the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines, a symbol of the country’s culture and art because of its colorful decorations. It was originally made from US military jeeps, left over from World War II. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Jeepney”.57

43“Multicab,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multicab

44“Tricycle,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricycle

45“Garra rufa,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garra_rufa

46https://thefishsite.com/articles/tilapia-life-history-and-biology

47“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

48“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

49“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

50“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

51“Mindanao,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindanao

52An independent city is a type of city24 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a provinceso it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region23 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city54 or independent component city59. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”48

53A component city is a type of city24 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city54. It is under the jurisdiction of a province2. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality25. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”48

54“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

55“Luzon,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzon

56“Negros Oriental,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negros_Oriental

57“Jeepney,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeepney

58A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city24 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.48 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines. See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

59An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city24 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province2 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city58. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”48

TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!

Cambugahay Falls is a famous tourist destination in the island province1 of Siquijor2, in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4 of the Philippines. It is a three-tiered waterfall that flows naturally into a lake. Said lake, I was told, apparently has healing powers.

This is the fifth stop (out of six) of our one-day Siquijor Coastal Tour. At the port of Siquijor2, we rented an air-conditioned van owned by Yane’s Adventures Van Services5. We had a very friendly, cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.

And now, for my experience in this destination:

Cambugahay Falls can be accessed from the Siquijor Circumferential Road, in the town of Lazi6. It would be best to visit this place during weekdays and to go early to avoid the large number of people.

The parking area is on the opposite side of the street. The parking fee is PHP30 per vehicle.

Just cross the street from the parking area and you cannot miss the sign announcing Cambugahay Falls.

1-entrance-okEntrance, Cambugahay Falls – I hope the local tourism officials can improve its appearance and the local police can monitor groups to prevent the vandalism of signages

And guess what? There is no entrance fee to use this facility! You will then be offered the services of a guide or lifeguard, and it is up to you how much to give him as service fee. We opted to have one guide since we had a 7-year-old child with us. If you and your companions can swim, then you may not need avail of this service.

Thereafter, simply go down around 140 cemented steps made with large smooth stones. The downward trek is approximately 10 minutes, depending, dearest Senior Citizens, on the pacing of your steps. Be careful when you go down since there are no handrails. Hold on to a younger companion while going down the steps, just to be sure, dearest Seniors!2-stepsI strongly recommend that handrails be installed along the steps so that children, elders, and other persons who have difficulty going up and down these uneven steps can safely do so.

Your brief journey downwards will be rewarded by a captivating view of the third (bottom) level of the waterfalls, the biggest and deepest of all three levels.3-view-3rd levelThe third tier of Cambugahay Falls, with three diving spots (left of picture, middle with green slope, and right, with man seated)

These three swinging areas offer different heights to fall from, and you start to wonder, after seeing so many tourists doing a Tarzan-like jump, if you could also be brave enough to do so. If I were younger, I guess I would have jumped too!

This is where you will be amazed with the daring jumps of local and foreign tourists swinging from a long rope in three different parts of the falls.

6-cross bamboo-okYou just need to cross this narrow wooden bridgelike structure over the shallow, flowing water to get to the area where you can stay and later, decide to swim, Tarzan-dive, and/or proceed to the two other levels of this falls.

Then, live your best life at Cambugahay Falls, swing, swing some more, let go, and prepare for your splash! 

 

Most tourists just stay on this level of the falls. Some younger tourists repeatedly do the jump challenge, using different techniques of jumping. Some simply swim and enjoy the cool water.5-swim-ok

So, adventurous, younger, and more fit Seniors, why not take the Tarzan-Swing-Dive Challenge? My two younger male companions took the challenge, used different styles of jumps from the rope to the water, and made wonderful splashes on the cool, refreshing waters. I was told that if you pay PHP20, you can have unlimited jumps. Should you prefer not to jump, then, enjoy the view, swim, breathe in the fresh air, and take lots of pictures, just like what I did!7-3rd level

Of course, your best option, dearest Seniors, is to swim and enjoy the bluish, and oh so cool, spring water. For non-swimmers, you can rent a life vest for PHP50. We rented a life vest for the 7-year-old, and for the hesitant non-swimmer in our group. Bottomline: do not miss the chance to try the refreshing water.8-rental-life-vest-ok

There are makeshift bamboo tables, free of charge, where you can leave your belongings while you swim. It would be best to designate someone from your group to watch over your things.

9A-wooden tables-pls crop-okNotice the bamboo tablelike structures to the right of the life vest rental where people are seated? Those are the makeshift tables I mentioned which you could use to place your things while you swim or Tarzan-dive. Remember to place sunblock 30 minutes before sun exposure.

I noticed that there are no food stalls but saw a group of tourists being served food and drinks, delivered to their bamboo table. So, inquire about such services, if needed. However, I suggest you just bring your own snacks, since you will probably stay here for only 1-2 hours anyway, and then to find a decent restaurant in between stops.

Seniors, if you feel energetic and adventurous, why not proceed to the two higher tiers? These levels are more serene because fewer tourists go there. You can also swim in these two levels and I was told that the water is shallower in these two basins. It just so happened that I was not feeling well that day so I did not venture to see these two higher levels. If you did during your Siquijor tour, please tell me about it, ok?

There is no washroom, restroom, nor changing room in this place so some of us changed quickly behind a large bath towel (held by companions), while some opted to just exit the area without changing.

We only stayed here for about an hour, since it was also starting to get crowded and we had to proceed to our last, and final, destination – a beach called Salagdoong Beach7 – where we intended, anyway, to swim again.

A word of caution, dearest Seniors: leaving Cambugahay Falls entails that you climb all the way up to the entrance, about 10-15 minutes, on the same steps you used going down to the falls. Remember, there are no handrails, so pace yourself, or better still, hold on to a younger person. Take your time; you just swam for an hour so just rest after several steps. Accidents occur when you are in a hurry. Just tell you younger companions to be a bit patient and I am sure they will wait for you at the top.

We paid for our Siquijor Coastal Tour and all comments are based on my personal experience in this province1.

You can read a related post about my Siquijor tour – SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJORGET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJORNow You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS and ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you regarding your visit to captivating Cambugahay Falls. Did you take the Tarzan-Swing-Dive Challenge? Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region8. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. In the Philippines, a province is divided into cities9 and municipalities10 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays11, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”12 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

2Siquijor is an island province1 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4. Its capital is the municipality10 which is also called Siquijor. This coralline island is predominantly hilly, and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing steep cliffs. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao. It has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”.13

3Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas4, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces1, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.14 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

4Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region8 located in the island group of Visayas3, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units15 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor2. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”16

5Yane’s Adventures Van Services information – Address: Pangi, Siquijor, Siquijor; Contact numbers: 09052133123, 09069732330 and 09183124461, look for Jade Jumawan Pestillos, and request for our very accommodating and cheerful driver, Jimmy Bueno.

6Lazi, formerly called Tigbawan, is a coastal municipality10 in the island province1 of Siquijor2, with 18 barangays11. It is located in the southeastern side of the island, between the towns of San Juan in the west and Maria from the east. It is known for its Roman Catholic church called San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (a National Historical Landmark17, a National Cultural Treasure18, and included in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites19 under the Baroque20 Churches of the Philippines-Extension), the Convent in front of it (one of the largest convents built during the Spanish colonial era21), the 400-year-old enchanting balete tree with fish spa, and Cambugahay Falls (see above). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lazi, Siquijor”22 and “Siquijor”13. Visit this site for more information: http://www.phtourguide.com/municipality-of-lazi-in-siquijor/

7Salagdoong Beach is a popular tourist destination in the town of Maria, on the southeastern side of the island province1 of Siquijor2, in the Central Visayas3 Region (Region VII)4 of the Philippines. This beach is known for swimming and cliff diving. It has crystal clear waters and white sand shores.

8A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided into provinces1, composed of cities9 and municipalities10 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays11. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”16   See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

9A city is the local government unit15 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice-mayor serves as the presiding officer of the city’s legislative body – the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”23 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

10A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)15, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province1, subdivided into barangays11, and is called town, or bayan. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice-mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”24

11A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”25

12“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

13“Siquijor,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

14“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

15A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces1 and independent cities26; component cities27 and municipalities10; and, barangays11, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.28

16“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

17A National Historical Landmark of the Philippines is a place or an object that is associated with an event, achievement, characteristics or modification that presents a turning point or stage in history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines”.29

18A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) of the Philippines is a tangible (movable and immovable) or intangible heritage property declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts30 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines31, National Library of the Philippines32, and National Archives of the Philippines33. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 200934 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines35 by the Philippine government. The title of NCT is the highest designation given to a “unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation”.36 The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Treasure”.37

19A UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) is a unique landmark, or geographically and historically identifiable place, which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific, physical or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the International World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties which are elected by the General Assembly. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “World Heritage Site”.38

20Baroque architecture began in Rome, Italy, in the late 16th century, which conveys grandeur and drama, most often used in palaces and churches. It includes curving forms, oval shapes, and a combination of concave and convex forms that make walls seem to undulate, or appear wavy, with a strong sense of motion. It groups things together like columns and decorative flourishes on building surfaces. Architectural elements are repeated across a surface. It uses distortion to make figures elongated, broken, or manipulated in some manner to make them stand out. Buildings have columns, sometimes topped with capitals and large volutes, scroll, or spiral forms. Sculptural wall elements will often project from the surface which is full of forms to increase the interplay of light and shadow across them. Inside, Baroque structures will often have ceilings painted in bright colors, made to fool one’s eye into believing one is looking at the sky. Buildings also have very rich surface treatments, including interiors with stucco39, various colored marbles, and gold gilt or thin sheets of gold applied to surfaces. Most Baroque churches have vaulted ceilings, supported by a series of interconnected arches.40

21The Spanish colonial era was the historical part of the Philippines from 1521, when European explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the country, and ended in 1898, with the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution41. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898”.42

22“Lazi, Siquijor,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi,_Siquijor

23“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

24“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

25“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

26An independent city is a type of city9 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a provinceso it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region8 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city43 or independent component city44. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”23

27A component city is a type of city9 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city43. It is under the jurisdiction of a province1. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality10. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”23

28“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

29“Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:_National_Historical_Landmarks_of_the_Philippines

30The National Commission for Culture and Arts is the official government agency for culture in the Philippines, formed in 1987, with headquarters in General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila. It is the overall policy making body, coordinating, and grants-giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture. Its parent department is the Office of the President of the Philippines and its sub-agencies are the: National Archives of the Philippines33, National Historical Commission of the Philippines45, National Library of the Philippines32, National Museum of the Philippines31, Commission on the Filipino Language, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Commission for Culture and Arts”.46 Visit its website: www.ncca.gov.ph

31The National Museum of the Philippines is a government institution in the Philippines which serves as the educational, scientific and cultural institution in preserving the various permanent national collections featuring the ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual artistry of the Philippines. It was formed on October 29, 1901, with headquarters in Padre Burgos Avenue, in Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila. Since 1998, it has been the regulatory and enforcement agency of the national government in restoring and safeguarding important cultural properties, sites and reservations throughout the Philippines. It is under the Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and Arts30. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.47 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

32The National Library of the Philippines is the official national library of the Philippines, with over 1.6 million pieces in its collections. It is notably called the home of the original copies of the defining works of Jose Rizal (Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Mi Ultimo Adios). It was established in 1901 and located in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Library of the Philippines”.48 Visit its website: www.web.nlp.gov.ph

33The National Archives of the Philippines is an agency of the Philippines which is mandated to collect, store, preserve and make available, archival records of the government and other primary sources pertaining to the history and development of the country, as a result of the passage of Republic Act 9470 on May 21, 2007. It is the primary records management agency, tasked to formulate and implement the records schedule and vital records protection programs for the government. Its headquarters is in the National Library of the Philippines, in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Archives of the Philippines”.49 Visit its website: www.nationalarchives.gov.ph

34The National Cultural Heritage Act is a law of the Republic of the Philippines which created the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property and took other steps to preserve historic buildings that are over 50 years old, signed into law on March 25, 2009, according to the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Heritage Act”.50

35The Cultural Properties of the Philippines refers to the cultural properties listed by the National Commission for Culture and Arts30, National Historical Commission of the Philippines45, and the National Museum of the Philippines31 through the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), the official cultural property list of the country. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cultural properties of the Philippines”.51

 36www.primer.com.ph

37“National Cultural Treasure,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Treasure

38“World Heritage Site,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Heritage_Site

39Stucco refers to the cement-based and fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations. It hardens into a highly durable material that requires little maintenance and can be used to obtain different textures and finishes.52

40https://study.com/academy/lesson/italian-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

41The Philippine Revolution is the revolution that started on August 23, 1896, when the Spaniards discovered the Katipunan53, and ended on August 13, 1898. The Filipinos were victorious and this resulted in the expulsion of the Spanish colonial government, as well as: the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato54 in 1897; the resumption of hostilities during the Spanish-American War55 in 1898; the establishment of the First Philippine Republic56; and, the outbreak of the Philippine-American War57 in 1899. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine Revolution”.58

42“History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Philippines

43A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city9 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.23 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (see link – I will place a link here).

44An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city9 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province1 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city43. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”23

45The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is a government agency of the Philippines which promotes Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management, and heraldry works, thereby inculcating awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, instilling pride in the Filipino people, and rekindling the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Historical Commission of the Philippines”.59

46 “National Commission for Culture and Arts,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_for_Culture_and_Arts

47“National Museum of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_the_Philippines

48“National Library of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_the_Philippines

49“National Archives of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Archives_of_the_Philippines

50“National Cultural Heritage Act,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Heritage_Act

51“Cultural properties of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_properties_of_the_Philippines

52https://www.thebalancesmb.com/choose-right-stucco-mix-844655

53The Katipunan was the Philippine revolutionary secret society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892 which aimed to gain independence from Spain through a revolution, according to the Wikipedia page “Katipunan”.60

54Pact of Biak-na-Bato was a truce between Spanish colonial Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera and the revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo to end the Philippine Revolution34, signed on December 14, 1897, in the house of Pablo Tecson (a Philippine revolutionary captain who served as Brigadier General under General Gregorio del Pilar) in San Miguel, Bulacan. Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries were given amnesty and monetary indemnity by the Spanish government, in return for which the revolutionary government would go on exile in Hong Kong. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Pact of Biak-na-Bato”.61

55The Spanish-American War was fought between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor, in Cuba, leading to US intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The Americans won and it resulted in the Treaty of Paris62, signed on December 10, 1898. Said treaty came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged, with Spain relinquishing all claims of sovereignty over and title to Cuba, and ceded Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the US. The cession of the Philippines involved a compensation of $20 million from the US to Spain. The information was obtained from Wikipedia pages “Spanish-American War”63 and “Treaty of Paris of 1898”64.

56The First Philippine Republic, or the Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines, established after the Philippine Revolution41 against the Spanish Empire (1896-1897) and the Spanish-American War55, and was the first constitutional republic in Asia, with a comprehensive constitution duly approved by a partially elected congress. It was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899, in Malolos, Bulacan, and endured until the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “First Philippine Republic”.65

57The Philippine-American War, the Philippine War, the Philippine Insurrection, or the Tagalog Insurgency, was an armed conflict between the First Philippine Republic56 and the USA that lasted from February 4, 1899 to July 2, 1902. The conflict arose when the former objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris62, under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the short Spanish-American War55. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Philippine-American War”.66

58“Philippine Revolution,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Revolution

59“National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Historical_Commission_of_the_Philippines

60“Katipunan,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katipunan

61“Pact of Biak-na-Bato,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pact_of_Biak-na-Bato

62The Treaty of Paris was an agreement, signed on December 10, 1898, that involved Spain relinquishing nearly all the remaining Spanish Empire, especially Cuba, and ceding Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US, thus ending the Spanish-American War55. It came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged. The cessation of the Philippines involved a payment of US$20 million from the US to Spain. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Treaty of Paris (1898)”.64

63“Spanish-American War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_American_War

64“Treaty of Paris,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Paris.

65“First Philippine Republic,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Philippine_Republic

66“Philippine-Amercian War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War