Welcome back to our July 2019 sojourn around the enchanted isle of Siquijor. This is part two of the series. If you want to start with the first part, simply click HERE to be teleported to where it all began.
Welcome back! Yeah, it’s been a while since I last updated our trip to Siquijor but not to worry, fellow dreamers – our trip across the enchanted Isle of Fire continues.
Note that maps to the butterfly sanctuary and the Lazi church and convent are located at the bottom of this post.
After our fated and fortuitous meeting with the witch doctor in San Antonio (Chichay has crocodile hands!) and a short visit to the rugged highlands of Bandilaan National Park, we motored merrily on through the central part of the island. This serpentine roadways through the highlands of Siquijor are pretty frikken sweet as much of them are shaded and cool and much less dull than the perimeter road that circles the island (though there are some pretty sections of that as well!). Along the way, we passed a cave system but there was nobody there and I guess you have to go back up the road to a little town and register for your gear and tour guides. I have actually gone by it every time I am on the island and have yet to see any of type of staff sitting by the entrance. So who really knows…
The Siquijor butterfly sanctuary sits just about smack dab in the center of the island. The signs are easy to miss, so keep an eye out when you come to any intersections. The first thing I noticed upon arriving was that the entrance fee had been doubled from my previous visits – it now cost 100 pesos per person (around $2 USD). Hoy nako! Coming through, the reason for the increase soon became clear – Since my last visit, they had added on two big wings to the sanctuary, effectively doubling its size. It was also clear that business has been good despite the price hike as a pretty frikken sweet concrete house next to the sanctuary was about three-fourths completed. The owner of the site has been doing this for many years, and they release the grown butterflies once they have matured. The little scamps are rather friendly and a more than a few perched on our shoulders, hands and heads as we meandered through the nicely landscaped compound. Despite the expansion, keep in mind that this is a small sanctuary and not nearly as big or varied butter-wise as the big one on Bohol. Still, it makes for a nice stop along the way.
Click HERE for more information and a map to the butterfly sanctuary.
LAZI CHURCH AND CONVENT
The San Isidro Labrador Parish Church is a popular stop for folks circumnavigating the southeastern side of the perimeter road. The stately old church and convent were nominated as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2006, and they are considered a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. The massive stone building was constructedin 1884 by Filipino craftsmen, while construction of the convent started in 1887. Both structures are made of coral stone and wood, which is a theme you will see across many of the massive cathedrals in the Philippines. (Bamboo was actually used as rebar, which might explain why Philippine churches take such a beating during earthquakes.) The Lazi convent is one of the biggest built during the Spanish colonial era (some say THE biggest), clocking in at 138 feet by 125 feet (42 by 38 meters). The convent also contains the groovy Siquijor Heritage Museum where a variety of old artifacts, written records and religious memorabilia are kept. (I was particularly entranced by the separate birth records for bastards book!) The entrance to the convent is only 20 pesos and it’s well worth the price of admission. Note that the church and the convent just underwent MAJOR renovations and look amazing. When we visited, the church was still being finished so the convent was being used for services, which called for a bit of whispered tiptoeing.
In the final installment of the series, we will check out the ancient balate tree, stop off at Cambugahay Falls and end our adventure with thousands of barracuda and a smattering of black-tip reef sharks in Tulapos Marine Sanctuary.
Until then, puppies and rainbows, my fellow dreamers.
Amazed by what you have seen thus far? Click HERE to be teleported to the stunning conclusion to our two-day trip around Siquijor!!