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Country > Philippines > Siquijor Island > San Juan
Date > 2023 > Feb
Activity > Peoplescape


Johnnie Blogs

Johnnie Blogs

(and The Danish Lagoon)

Heeeere's Johnnie! Feb 26, 2023

Heeeere's Johnnie!

Location Google Map: The Danish Lagoon, San Juan (municipality), Siquijor Island (province), Philippines

Time for Another Visit
I've only met Johnnie once and that was 13 years ago - what a character! It was in his luxurious beachfront resort, Danish Lagoon. Both were memorable to me - Johnnie and The Danish Lagoon. Now that I'm back in Siquijor, it was time to pay him another visit.

Danish Lagoon Closed!!!
First, I had to find out where Danish Lagoon is, on Google Maps. To my utter dismay, it said the place was permanently closed! I did my research on where to contact Johnnie. I emailed, I texted, but no reply. I had to take my chance and go to the closed resort and get more info on where I can find Johnnie.

The Cubbyhole
Aside from saying Hello, there was another reason why I wanted to talk to Johnny. Many years ago, I envisioned developing my own yoga retreat center. I even have a name for it already - The Cubbyhole. This would be a space with lodging cubbyholes where friends can take refuge to recharge, reboot and empower themselves before heading out to resume their journey.

A few days ago while doing yoga by the seawall, I had an Aha Moment! Instead of visualizing this yoga retreat as something I will have to develop from scratch, why not acquire an existing place? Since The Danish Lagoon is permanently closed and for sale, maybe I can have that place instead. How? I don't really need to know how. All I need is to meditate, put my intention to it, and somehow, I feel assured it will happen. Well, that's how things are for me now - instead of working hard for something, I just meditate on it.

I broached the idea to Greg if he might be interested in acquiring a resort if it's a good price. He flatly said he's already simplifying his life - so it's more divesting instead of investing. I guess he's not the one to manifest my vision.

For as long as I continue my due-diligence, it will manifest (not necessarily through my effort).

A Blog Benefit
Had I relied on memory alone, the only thing I would remember was that many years ago, I met this wonderful foreigner in his resort in San Juan - forgot how long ago, forgot his name, forgot his resort, forgot why he was memorable. All I remember was that he was amazing and that the resort was luxurious and tempting.

But thanks to my blog, all I had to do was read my entry, look at the pictures, and it all came back like it was just last week.

Biking It
Every time I take the public jeep to leave Lazi, I'm always in a rush to catch the 2 pm last trip going back. This means I can't go beyond 2 pm anywhere outside Lazi. That was a bummer.

In going to the Danish Lagoon, I embarked on loading my folding bike into the jeep and simply bike back without being rushed. That would mean 25+ km along uphills and downhills until I reach home.

25 km is nothing...well, kind of. At the height of my mountain biking racing days, I would race on a 22 km technical single-track. So a leisurely pace on 25 km should be nothing. BUT!

Heeeere's Johnnie!
I'm now older, slower and riding a heavy, small-wheeled folding bike. But I still managed the 25 km ride on this bike

Heeeere's Johnnie!
20 years ago, I was younger, faster, stronger and...and riding a high-performance mountain bike at break-neck speeds

The Danish Lagoon
I got off the jeep at the junction where The Danish Lagoon is only 100 meters down towards the sea. There was no signage...only a narrow path. Finally, I was at Danish Lagoon - no one there but it seemed like someone was still living there somewhere. The restaurant was in disrepair and showed signs of aging and neglect. The grounds were brushy...the pool had a green color (instead of blue) and the wooden steps were loose and rotten. The once dazzling cottages were now overgrown with weeds and shrubs. It was heartbreaking.

Danish Lagoon, now

Danish Lagoon, 2010

The Caretaker and the Mom
I tried announcing my presence and someone came out from one of the cottages. It was the caretaker who pointed me to where Johnny still lived. Yes, he's still alive and he's still living in one of the cottages! I met his Mom but Johnnie was out. We talked. Apparently, the resort already closed before Covid. Reason? She said they didn't want to manage the property anymore and just wanted to live in peace. They were now selling the property. Other sources told me they were relentlessly hounded by the BIR (the tax guys) until it became too much. After a few minutes, Johnnie arrived.

Johnnie KarstensenJohnnie Denmark
Of course, he didn't recognize me - it was expected. He met resort guests day in and day out and he couldn't possibly remember everyone, especially someone he just had a conversation with, once. But people who have met him, remember him - me being one of them.

I had to introduce myself and show him our picture from 13 years ago. After a while, he loosened up and was back to his animated self again. He talked about Siquijor as the best thing since sliced bread and that he cannot imagine himself getting old in a different place - not even Denmark. He was full of gratitude. And he puts his money where his mouth is. During the lockdown, he spent nearly P200,000 giving away food to those who had no means to survive. During the yuletide season, he put together a Christmas package consisting of essential goods and gave it to families who would have otherwise been miserable during the holidays. He also sponsored a few poor kids to get an education.

me and Johnnie now at The Danish Lagoon

me and Johnnie 13 years ago

The Complainers
Johnnie talked at length about his main pet peeve - foreigners who choose to stay here but spend too much time complaining about the country, the people and the way things are done. His message to them? GO HOME!

These old timers (usually sick and grumpy as well) incessantly complain about being ripped off by their 20-something local girlfriends - some, a number of times already. Johnnie's message to them? IF THE SAME PROBLEM HAPPENED TO YOU THE THIRD TIME ALREADY, IT'S NO LONGER THE GIRL'S FAULT - IT'S YOURS. YOU'RE JUST AN IDIOT!

Tips on Living in Siquijor
As a 17-year resident of Siquijor, I asked Johnny for some tips if I should really decide on settling down in Siquijor:

  1. 5 km - for cheap land with a good view, go towards the mountains for about 5 to 6 km from the town center (any of the 6 towns). With this distance, it's likely to be quiet as well - no karaoke, no barking dogs, no crowing roosters, no loud motorbikes
  2. Electricity and water - choose land with water and electricity already in place, otherwise, it will be more expensive
  3. Pay for the paperwork - most lands up in the mountains are huge...could even be 10 ha. If you only want 1000 sqm, offer to pay the paperwork, and the owner will likely be willing to divide his land and sell you only 1000 sqm. Lawyer fees are cheap
  4. Right of way - make sure you get 'right of way' towards your land
  5. e-Mountain bike - if you want to keep fit, instead of buying a motorcycle, get a high-quality e-mountain bike instead. You get the best of 2 worlds - bike workout and motorized assistance if you're not really up to pedaling
  6. Do it NOW - when the airport opens up (construction has already finished), land prices will skyrocket.

Ending Thoughts
Johnny's a little frail now compared to 13 years ago, but he's still as inspiring and animated as he has always been. His high spirit is infectious. I'm glad I went out of my way to seek him out. This episode 'can be the start of a beautiful friendship' (Humprey Bogart, Casablanca).

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

ps - (Mar 1, 2023) We met again. This time, at Twenty4Cafe when he passed by Lazi. We ended with an invite to join him for breakfast at his favorite carinderia. Something to look forward to!

at the Twenty4Cafe in Lazi
at the Twenty4Cafe in Lazi

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More on San Juan:

More on San Juan:

San Juan Local Tips
  1. Resorts - San Juan is the district in Siquijor with most of the upscale resorts, and thus the most popular area. The coastline is lined-up with resorts that open up to the coral reef for snorkeling. Fine white sand beaches are rare along the San Juan coast.
  2. Transport - from Siquijor Poblacion, jeep, tricycle and motorcycle rides are available. There are local jeeps and tricycles that charge between PHP 20-40 until San Juan Poblacion. Tricycles and motorcycles can be contracted privately at higher fees.
  3. Capilay Spring - San Juan has a free, open-air and public bathing spring right along the highway. It could be cold but definitely refreshing.


San Juan, Siquijor Blogs

  • Canghaling Cave November 14, 2023
  • Siquijor Star Meditation Center Aug 31, 2023
  • Heeeere's Johnnie! Feb 26, 2023
  • Capilay Spring Jan 17, 2023
  • Siquijor: In Search of Resonance Jan 9-14, 2023
  • Riding Around Siquijor's 86km Coastal Road Apr 3, 2012
  • Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  • Jovee and Missy's Excellent Adventure Nov 6-7, 2010
  • Freediving in Siquijor's Marine Sancturaries Apr 23-24, 2010
  • Island Tour of Siquijor Apr 22, 2010
  • Kram's Siquijor Wedding Apr 21, 2010

  • More on Siquijor Island:

    Siquijor Island Local Info

    Jeeps - there are only 2 routes for jeeps within Siquijor Island - and they are rare. Most people have their own motorcycle transport.

    1. Siquijor Port to Lazi - last trip leaves at 3pm from station near market
    2. Lazi to Siquijor Port - jeeps depart from the Lazi Port area. 5 jeeps, the last trip at 12:30 pm. Lazi to San Juan, P50.
    3. Larena Port to Lazi - jeeps are unpredictable. As of this writing, there is only 1 jeep plying the Larena-Lazi route. This jeep leaves Larena for Lazi at 9:50am. After that, no more jeep. You'll have to take a tricycle to Siquijor Pob for jeeps going to Lazi
    4. Lazi to Larena Port - 6am (daily) and 9 am (M-Th)

    Food - these were suggested by a local to me

    1. Lechon manok & liempo - roasted pork belly and chicken at Joel's in Siquijor Poblacion. I've tried this myself...yummy, even if the chicken was no longer hot
    2. Bibingka - sweetened rice cake by Fidy's Bibingka (P30) in Sawang, Maria. I've come back for this and I buy for other people as well as 'pasalubong' - they love this
    3. Siopao - at the Rosita store near Thrifty (P25) in Siquijor Poblacion
    4. Peanut butter - by Rene. Just ask around in Siquijor Poblacion. It's popular
    5. Torta - sweet cakish bread at the Thrifty story in Siquijor Poblacion
    Siquijor Island Map
    Siquijor - Dumaguete Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
    1. Montenegro Lines - at Siquijor Port, P234.00/pax, P169/bicycle, 7:30am/10:00am/2:00pm/4:30pm

    2. Montenegro Lines, Siquijor to Dumaguete

    3. Aleson Shipping - at Siquijor Port, 6 am and 6 pm daily, 1:30 pm M-Sat, Regular P200.00/pax, Aircon P250.00/pax

    4. Aleson Shipping, Dumaguete to Siquijor

    5. Ocean Jet - 40 mins,at Siquijor Port, 0919.066.5964,,, 6:00am/6:00pm, P350/pax (tourist/open air), P580/pax (business class)

      Ocean Jet

    Siquijor - Tagbilaran - Cebu City Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)

    En route to Cebu City, the ferries usually make a stop-over to Tagbilaran (Bohol) to pick-up more passengers or unload.

    1. Ocean Jet - 8:20 am, at Siquijor Port
      To Tagbilaran: P800/tourist & open air, 2 hours (arrive 10:20 am), P1200/business class
      To Cebu (Pier 1): P1600/tourist & open air, 4 hours (arrive 12:40 am), P2400/business class
    2. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, no Senior Citizen discount for online ticket purchase
      To Tagbilaran: T-Th-Sun, 3 hours, depart 7 pm - arrive 10 pm, P475/standard (Tourist, PHP 750)
      To Cebu: T-Th-Sun, 10 hours, depart 7 pm - arrive 5 am, PHP 605/standard (Senior P484), Tourist, PHP 770
    3. Apekoptravel - at Larena Port to Tagbilaran: 1:00 pm, xxx hours, P750
      Reserve through call or text: Cleare - 0938 283 4760 | Grace - 0936 534 6564 | Jessel - 0961 759 6711, Pay via G-Cash: +63-917-880-1464, Email:, Facebook messenger: Apekoptravel. Enter your birthday and nationality to get discounts: 0 to 3 years old free, 4 to 9 years old will have 20% discount, 10 years old and above full price, Filipino Senior Citizens will also have 20% discount

    Siquijor - Plaridel Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
    1. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, T-Th-Sun, 2:00 am, 5 hours, PHP?

    Siquijor - Cebu (Liloan) - Cebu City BUS Trip (as of Jan 2023)

    There is only one bus plying this route - Sugbo Urban. Tourist class coach, a/c, comfortable, Sun-Fri (these dates keep changing). P420 for bus, P275 for ferry to Liloan. Larena Port around 5 am, makes a clockwise roundtrip around Siquijor Island - Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi (stops at Lazi market for breakfast and leaves 6:50 am), San Juan, Siquijor (arrives 8am, P50 from Lazi to Siquijor Poblacion) and catches the 1pm ferry at Larena Port (Sundays at 3 pm) for Liloan, Cebu and resumes its land route. Arrives Cebu City (South Bus Terminal) 10 pm.

    Sugbo Urban is the cheapest and most convenient way because it goes around the island (clockwise) along the circumferential road, passing through - Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi, San Juan, Siquijor...and back to Larena where it takes the ferry at 1 pm. This saves you the hassle and high transport cost of a tricycle. Besides, it's a long trip from the other side of the island to be taking by tricycle.

    Sugbo Urban

    Sugbo Urban

    Suggested Destinations After Siquijor Island

    These are the nearest popular destinations from Siquijor by boat

    1. Bohol - Bohol is an island northeast Siquijor. Tourist attractions are Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Monkey, Loboc River Cruise, Beaches of Panglao, whale sharks (recent offering), freediving (recent offering)
    2. Cebu - Cebu City is the usual gateway into the Visayas. But in Cebu Island itself, there are many offerings - Whale Sharks of Oslob, sardine run at Moalboal,Thresher Shark of Malapascua
    3. Dapitan (Zamboanga del Norte) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.
    4. Dumaguete - Dumaguete is a small charming progressive coastal town in Negros Oriental. Cafe and restaurants line the famous Boulevard Boardwalk. Tourist attractions include Japanese Shrine, Casaroro Falls, snorkeling along the southern coastline (Dauin, Masaplod Norte, etc), Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
    5. Plaridel (Misamis Occidental, Mindanao) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.


    Siquijor Blogs
    Siquijor Island
    1. Goodbye Siquijor April 18, 2024
    2. January Chronicles: Bandilaan Meditation January 2024
    3. My January Yoga Practice: A Journal January 31, 2024
    4. Jan 2024: Squid, Balangawan, Margarita Pizza January 2024
    5. December Chronicles: Yuletide Season December 30, 2023
    6. December Snapshots: Bolo Bolo Dip, Christmas Lunch, Tuba Denizens, Friends Forever, Men Working, Cow / Crow December 1-30, 2023
    7. Eggplant Bulad Pizza December 20, 2023
    8. Canghaling Cave November 14, 2023
    9. Kings and Queens November 13, 2023
    10. Barangay Vote-Buying October 22, 2023
    11. Real Estate Mapping October 1, 2023
    12. Learning Cebuano: Oct October 1-31, 2023
    13. Oct Food Hack: Pizza, Kinilaw, Coconut Bread, Fish Okuy, Carrot Omelette,Lemon-Grass Tea October 2023
    14. Sep Snapshots: Fisherman, Granny, Pedicure, Big Fish, Garbage September 1-30, 2023
    15. Sep Food Hack: Fish Tinola, Ratatouille, Chayote Omelette, Flat Bread September 2023
    16. Together Forever Sep 11, 2023
    17. The Cigarette Talk Sep 1, 2023
    18. Siquijor Star Meditation Center Aug 31, 2023
    19. The Lost Dogs of Siquijor Aug 27, 2023
    20. Moving to a Bungalow! Aug 22, 2023
    21. Aug Chronicles: CDO produce August 31, 2023
    22. Aug Snapshots: Pan de Sal, Palpitate, Taho, Tuna, Pineapple August 1-31, 2023
    23. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
    24. July Chronicles July 31, 2023
    25. July Snapshots July 1-31, 2023
    26. Learning Cebuano: July July 1-31, 2023
    27. June Chronicles June 31, 2023
    28. June Snapshots June 1-31, 2023
    29. Learning Cebuano: June June 1-31, 2023
    30. May Chronicles May 31, 2023
    31. May Snapshots May 1-31, 2023
    32. Learning Cebuano May 1-31, 2023
    33. In Search of a Cool Climate May 25, 2023
    34. The 64 km Bike Ride May 16, 2023
    35. Lazi Fiesta May 15, 2023
    36. The Boulevard Opening May 5, 2023
    37. April Snapshots April 1-30, 2023
    38. Learning Cebuano...Again! April 1-30, 2023
    39. Kris Visits Siquijor Mar 17 - Apr 15, 2023
    40. Exploring Siquijor with Marky Mar 25 - Apr 11, 2023
    41. Siquijor Healing Festival April 5-8, 2023
    42. The Talk at United Church of Christ April 2, 2023
    43. Mar Snapshots Mar 1-31, 2023
    44. Vigil for the Ghost Ship of Siquijor March 31, 2023
    45. Judging an Essay on Gender Equality Mar 29, 2023
    46. The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police Mar 20, 2023
    47. Finally Acquiring the Motorbike Mar 18, 2023
    48. Bitcoin Blunder Mar 15, 2023
    49. Maria's Unsung Beaches Mar 11, 2023
    50. Lagaan Falls Mar 9, 2023
    51. Tibhong Spring Water Source Mar 8, 2023
    52. Bolo-Bolo Natural Spring Mar 2, 2023
    53. Reasons to Get a Wife March 1, 2023
    54. Feb Snapshots Feb 28, 2023
    55. Camagung-Ong Natural Spring Feb 28, 2023
    56. Heeeere's Johnnie! Feb 26, 2023
    57. Manifesting a Motorbike from Thin Air? Feb 18, 2023
    58. The 'Bad Guy' of Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
    59. Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
    60. Locong Falls Feb 9, 2023
    61. Inguinal Hernia? Goodbye ABS! Feb 4, 2023
    62. Jan Snapshots January 31, 2023
    63. In Search of Tubod Cold Spring Jan 27, 2023
    64. 1:4:2:3 Nadi Shodana Jan 26, 2023
    65. Lazi's Boulevard Jan 22, 2023
    66. Lazi: A Monthly Stay Jan 21, 2023
    67. 7 Days in Maria, Siquijor Jan 14-21, 2023
    68. Capilay Spring Jan 17, 2023
    69. Siquijor: In Search of Resonance Jan 9-14, 2023
    70. Riding Around Siquijor's 86km Coastal Road Apr 3, 2012
    71. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
    72. Jovee and Missy's Excellent Adventure Nov 6-7, 2010
    73. Freediving in Siquijor's Marine Sancturaries Apr 23-24, 2010
    74. Island Tour of Siquijor Apr 22, 2010
    75. Kram's Siquijor Wedding Apr 21, 2010

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