Date > 2023 > Mar
Activity > Traveling
Mar 11, 2023
Maria's Unsung Beaches
Location : Maria, Siquijor Island, Philippines
The Obscure Beaches
Maria is a lesser-known municipality of Siquijor. It has beaches but no one knows about it except those intrepid adventurers who look at Google Map and explore the landmarks. When it comes to beaches and resorts, the popular place is San Juan.
Since I heard about the Ghost Ships of Siquijor, I've always wanted to head out there to see and hear it (yes, there is a wailing sound) for myself. But I would not want to go there at midnight for the first time and feel my way around in perhaps pitch-black condition. In preparation, I headed out there in the daytime to ocular Sabas Beach, known for being the observation spot.
Before Lazi, I lived in Maria for a full week, thus I'm a little familiar with the general place but not exactly where the Ghost Ship needs to be viewed. Getting there by bicycle wasn't that difficult although it's mostly uphill and it could be very hot. The road was paved the whole way - 4.1 km.
This is where you wait to see the Ghost Ship. The beach has fine white sand...almost pulverized. But the beach isn't so wide. Along the beach is a fishing village, private beach houses, and one beach resort, the noteworthy Sabas Beach Resort. It's the only 'groomed' resort catering to foreigners but price isn't that bad - P40 entrance, P120 for big beer, P350/pax for tent camping, P400/pax for bunk bed in a dorm room and P2000 for a private room.
Instead of going back home, I decided to explore the array of beaches along the coast. I had to go back to the main road until I get to the access points. Nearest next beach on the map was Kagusuan Beach.
It was another climb on the road before I got to the fire trail junction to Kagusuan Beach. I was surprised to see a sign saying 'no trespassers'. But the details of the notice were more shocking.
Apparently, the land has been purchased by Federated Realty Management. But what's shocking is that this corporation purchased 24 hectares of prime beach property along the coast, which covers 2 barangays - Liloan and Minalulan. 24 HECTARES!!! That's 240,000 sqm, the size of a big township! Because this is Maria, an obscure part of Siquijor where no one visits, land is cheap - a lot cheaper than beachfront properties along San Juan coastline that go up to P10,000 sqm. And this land will not remain cheap - when the first plane lands on the new airport, land prices will skyrocket. Thus, this realty company made a smart decision acquiring so much land for so cheap, and perhaps selling it for an arm-and-a-leg to international resort players.
Here's my speculation. This corporation cannot develop 24 hectares into a resort - it would be too big and doesn't make sense. I think they will carve up the land and sell it piecemeal to international players like Hotel Intercontinental, Shangrila, etc. I've seen it happen in Hoi An, Vietnam and in Phu Quoc Island in the south of Vietnam. The entire coastline was cordoned off from public access because the big players were developing their hotels, side by side of each other.
And why would the big players invest here? Siquijor now has an airport. It's complete and has been inaugurated but hasn't opened yet. There is talk that the runway will be lengthened to make it an international airport. I've seen parts of the existing road already paved. In short, there is already preparation taking place for this eventuality.
Besides, Siquijor is a natural wonder...under-rated but an amazing place. In this small island you have beaches and coral reefs surrounding it, inside you have natural spring sources, waterfalls and clean rivers. You also have caves and scenic views. I wouldn't be surprised if one day, Siquijor becomes one of the global tourist destinations.
I continued my ride along the main road towards the next beach - Monkey Beach. I was wondering, Monkey Beach must be closed too since it's an adjacent beach. But on Google Map, there was no access road to the beach. It would seem like you have to reach this beach by walking along Kagusuan Beach. However, along the main road, I saw some markers on the road which showed narrow trails leading to the beach. I took the trail which took half a kilometer to the beach. I ended up on top of a cliff overlooking the waters and the beach down below.
From my vantage point, the water was very clear - I could see the abundant coral reefs under the surface. It would be an excellent dive area...the entire coastline! Now I understand why this was purchased. To go down the beach level, there were steps put in place. I didn't bother to come down since I wasn't prepared to do some snorkeling. But I've seen enough.
It was still a long ride back since I rode along the perimeter of the Maria coastline. There was another obscure beach on the map, Secret Beach, but I was already tired...next time. Another beach after was Lapac Beach - this was the only beach I visited during my stay in Maria. It was unkept and dirty, but the sand was white and fine - which makes it a good buy if it sells cheap.
This spontaneous ride to 'ocular' the vantage point to see the Ghost Ship led to many revelations - the great snorkeling reefs of Monkey Beach, the ownership of 24 hectares of prime coastline property by a faceless corporation, and the potential to what Siquijor might become.
But in the immediate future, I'd like to see the Ghost Ship first.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
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(Mar 13, 2023) Glad to see you're still leading the nomadic life! Was on Cebu and you came to mind. Maayong Buntag! I have just been doing the nomadic thing around Southeast Asia for the last two months. Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and now the Philippines. I just arrived in Cebu city last week and I’m heading to Taipei tomorrow. Love the Philippines and Cebu. It’s the first place I’ve come to where there are no tourists and I feel like a fish out of water. I’m glad we connected. I will be back. There are 7100 islands in the Philippines and I only conquered four!!!
More on Maria:
Maria is a sleepy municipality on the southeast of Siquijor Island. It has great beaches but largely unknown...perhaps not for long since a realty corporation purchased 24 hectares of prime coastal land spanning 2 barangays.
- Bibingka - Fidy's Bibingka (sweetened rice cake) is popular all over Siquijor. People make the trip to Sawang, Maria to buy this special bibingka (P30/piece).
- Resorts - like most of Siquijor, it also has its fair share of beaches, coral reefs and resorts - but not as many and not as popular as San Juan. Among its beaches are Sabas Beach (open to the public), Kasiguran Beach (closed under new ownership), Monkey Beach (still accessible by foot or motorbike through the .5 km forest trail from the main road to the beach head), Secret Beach and Lapac Beach.
- Transport - depends on who you talk to, there is one or two public jeeps plying Maria. At around 7:30 am, the jeep coming from Larena, going to Lazi, passes by Maria proper. This same jeep turns around at Lazi and leaves around 10:00 am for Larena, passing by Maria around 10:30. This is the only trip everyday.
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.
- Siquijor Port to Lazi - last trip leaves at 3pm from station near market
- 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.
- 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
- Lazi to Larena Port - 6am (daily) and 9 am (M-Th)
Food - these were suggested by a local to me
- 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
- 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
- Siopao - at the Rosita store near Thrifty (P25) in Siquijor Poblacion
- Peanut butter - by Rene. Just ask around in Siquijor Poblacion. It's popular
- Torta - sweet cakish bread at the Thrifty story in Siquijor Poblacion
Siquijor Island Map
Siquijor - Dumaguete Boat Trips(as of Jan 2023)
- Montenegro Lines - at Siquijor Port, P234.00/pax, P169/bicycle, 7:30am/10:00am/2:00pm/4:30pm/7:30? or 9:00? pm
- Ocean Jet - 40 mins,at Siquijor Port, 0919.066.5964, www.oceanjet.net, firstname.lastname@example.org, 6:00am/6:00pm, P350/pax (tourist/open air), P580/pax (business class)
- Atlantis Yohan Express - Siquijor Port or Larena Port?
- Aleson Shipping Lines - Siquijor Port, P200/reg, P250/a-c, 6:00 am daily, 1:30 pm & 6:30pm M-Sat
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.
- Ocean Jet - 2 hours, 8:20am, at Siquijor Port
To Tagbilaran: P800/tourist & open air, P1200/business class
To Cebu: ?
- Lite Ferries - at Larena Port,
To Tagbilaran: T-Th-Sun, P475/standard, 7pm, 3 hours, PHP?
To Cebu: T-Th-Sun, 7pm, 7 hours, PHP 650
Siquijor - Plaridel Boat Trips(as of Jan 2023)
- 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.
Suggested Destinations After Siquijor Island
These are the nearest popular destinations from Siquijor by boat
- 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)
- 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
- Dapitan (Zamboanga del Norte) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.
- 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
- Plaridel (Misamis Occidental, Mindanao) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.
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- My Mar Yoga Practice: a Journal Mar 21-28, 2023
- The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police Mar 20-, 2023
- Finally Acquiring the Motorbike Mar 18, 2023
- Bitcoin Blunder Mar 15, 2023
- Maria's Unsung Beaches Mar 11, 2023
- Lagaan Falls Mar 9, 2023
- Tibhong Spring Water Source Mar 8, 2023
- Bolo-Bolo Natural Spring Mar 2, 2023
- Feb Snapshots Feb 28, 2023
- My Feb Yoga Practice: a Journal Feb 21-28, 2023
- Camagung-Ong Natural Spring Feb 28, 2023
- Heeeere's Johnnie! Feb 26, 2023
- Manifesting a Motorbike from Thin Air? Feb 18, 2023
- The 'Bad Guy' of Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
- Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
- Locong Falls Feb 9, 2023
- A Case of Inguinal Hernia? Feb 4, 2023
- Jan Snapshots Dec 31, 2022
- In Search of Tubod Cold Spring Jan 27, 2023
- 1:4:2:3 Nadi Shodana Jan 26, 2023
- Lazi's Boulevard Jan 22, 2023
- Lazi: A Monthly Stay Jan 21, 2023
- 7 Days in Maria, Siquijor Jan 14-21, 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
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