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Country > Philippines > Siquijor Island > Lazi
Date > 2023 > Mar
Activity > Slice of Life

Slice of Life

Shaman Chronicles

The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police Mar 20, 2023

The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police

Location Google Map: Lazi, Siquijor Island, Philippines

The Mystic Island
It was a caricaturish movie-worthy turn of events that underscored Siquijor's moniker of being The Mystic Island. It all began with the missing PHP 7000.

Yoga by the Seawall at 6 am
I had an open invite for Kris to join me for my 6 am daily yoga at the seawall. On this day, I left the house at 5:30 am. Kris joined me at 6 am. when he came back to his unlocked room at 8 am, his wallet together with PHP 7000 was gone.

Who Dunnit?
This was a who-dunnit that would make the grade for an Agatha Cristie novel. The money was stolen between 6 am to 8 am. In the house, we are only 5 people. Me and Kris, Auntie and uncle (who own the house) and Bayot (a self-admitted gay who is also a tenant).

By process of elimination, I'm not a suspect (since I was out of the house from 6-8). Auntie and Uncle cannot be suspects because they are conservative senior people who have been renting their place for years with no mishap. Besides, if any stealing happens within their residence, it puts a smear on them because in a small town like Lazi, word will get around that 'things get stolen in that house'. As for Bayot, he was in the house between those times. The finger points to Bayot and no one else.

In Search of Bayot
Uncle, Kris and me, rushed to Bayot's office to talk to him. He wasn't there. Uncle was told that he went to a pawnshop to remit some money. We searched for him at several pawnshops across town, but we couldn't find him. Bayot was told by his officemates that he should go home because people wanted to talk to him. And he did.

The Confrontation
When Bayot showed up at the house, it was Showdown at OK Corral. We all told him essentially that by process of elimination, he is the only one who could have done it. He vehemently denied it, claiming that he makes PHP 50,000/month so why would he steal a mere PHP 7,000?

It was Kris who put pressure on him, telling Bayot directly to return the money. There was shouting and near-threats. Bayot essentially challenged everyone to prove his guilt. He even dared everyone to call the police.

Auntie was particularly upset because if Bayot denies the theft, then he essentially accuses Auntie/Uncle to have done the stealing.

The Shaman Alternative
Since no one was admitting the theft, Auntie proposed to take the matter to a shaman (a benign word for someone who can really inflict great harm) and let the guilty one be exposed. No one objected. We all put our names on a sheet of paper to be presented to the shaman. The shaman will then pinpoint who the thief was. It should clear the matter up.

The Neighbor's Shaman
As we were about to embark, the neighbor, who became involved in the matter, suggested we all go to his shaman instead since his shaman was much closer than the other shaman.

The Convoy
All 6 of us, on three motorbikes - the neighbor and his wife on one bike, Kris and I on his bike and Auntie and Uncle on the 3rd bike, followed our neighbors to the highlands of Gabayan. At some point, we had to trek a narrow trail on foot.

The Elderly Shaman
Finally, we arrived at her house and met her family. They looked like anyone else you'd see in Siquijor. She didn't look like the iconic 'witch' with the long crooked nose and a pointy hat. She was pleasant, very grandmotherly and quite accommodating.

The Wicker Tray
She took out her old and dilapidated wicker tray held by scissors - this was her shamanic paraphernalia. With the paper containing all our names, she suspended the wicker tray and asked who stole the money.

In a surprising twist, she said the money was still in the room. It was just misplaced. Huh? Kris searched all over his room and found nothing. Furthermore, there were 2 items inside the wallet - credit cards and money. The credit cards were removed from the wallet and left inside the room. Only the wallet with the PHP 7000 was gone. So how could it have been misplaced?

Siquijor being the mystic island where everybody acknowledges the existence of elementals and unseen entities, someone asked if elementals were present in the room. The shaman again asked the wicker tray. the response was that elves take residency in that room and that they have played their mischievous game of hiding things. We were told to go back and search the room instead - that the money has always been there and never left the room.

The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police
the Shaman with her wicker tray

A Sigh of Relief
There was a collective sigh of relief from everyone. It meant there was no thief, no bad guy, no crime and everybody's reputation was still intact, most especially Bayot.

It is important to note that in Siquijor, the locals believe that elementals (elves, spirits, fairies, witches, etc.) coexist with them, not unlike the movie Roger Rabbit where cartoon characters coexist with people in their day-to-day lives. So everyone, including me, felt better. Except Kris. He never bought the 'elves' spin on things, but played along just the same. It probably was too woo-woo even for a man who thinks he has an open mind.

The Missing Keys
Why do I believe it could be the elves? It stems from a life experience. My Dad lives with his wife - just the 2 of them in a house. They both place their keys on top of the dining table. Sometimes, the keys are not there. They would search all over the house to no avail. A few days later, the keys would just be on top of the dining table exactly where they put it. They know they have an unseen resident in the house who plays these games. Sometimes, if the keys are not there but they can't wait a few days for it to reappear, my father would talk to the entity, "Friend, we really need to have the keys now. We cannot wait a few days. We will leave the house and come back a few minutes. Please return the keys while we are gone." So, they would take a walk out, and upon their return, the keys would indeed be on top of the dining table.

This is why I believe the 'elves' spin on Kris' missing PHP 7000. And honestly, it's more convenient for me to think that there is no bad guy and no crime was committed.

In Search of the Wallet and the Money
Upon reaching home, Kris, myself and Auntie searched for the missing wallet and money. After all, the shaman said the money never left the house. The search almost turned into a ransacking, but no money was found.

Hopes were dashed and the accusing fingers turned back to Bayot.

The Police
Kris, who never bought the 'elves' spin, went to the police instead. The police went over to Bayot's place of work but he wasn't there. The police then came to the house to investigate everyone - including me, Auntie and Uncle. Bayot, as he was informed by his colleagues that the police was looking after him, came to the house as well. He vehemently denied taking the money and even dared everyone to file charges against him and prove his guilt in a court of law.

Another confrontation ensued between Kris and Bayot. Kris kept demanding that Bayot returns his money back. Even the police stanced themselves, ready to prevent a fist fight. Kris threatened to sue.

I counseled Kris that all he had was circumstantial evidence - and that does not prove guilt in a court of law. Furthermore, filing charges meant staying longer in Siquijor and spending much more than PHP 7000.

Auntie's Outrage
It wasn't just Kris who was angry. Auntie was equally outraged. If Bayot denies taking the money, then the implication is that Auntie / Uncle must have taken the money! They are highly respected members of the community and the slightest taint against their persons was completely unacceptable. In this small town, when you lose your name, you got nothing left.

With a staunch resolve to get to the bottom of this and expose the thief, she planned to see her own shaman - a powerful elderly woman who has done service in the past and has successfully returned stolen items. When I learned of this, I asked if I could come. She acquiesced.

The 2nd Shaman
It was just me, Auntie and her relative (who was driving the tricycle) who made the trip. It was to the other end of the island going through some elevation and winding narrow roads. The trip was long. Unfortunately, I left my phone home so I was unable to GPS the location nor take pictures.

Finally, we came upon the Shaman's house and met her. Again, she looked like anyone else's grandmother living in a house within a community - hardly what you might imagine to be a cave where she brews magical concoctions on open fire. There was not a drop of Hollywood in this reality.

It was then that Auntie poured her grief out, crying openly. I have always seen Auntie to be strong and collected. Seeing her cry like this and pouring out her pain was a first time to me. I was just thinking, "Bayot is really fucked this time." The Shaman asked probing questions. We were led to her altar room where I saw statues of saints and a candle. She stood in front and seemed to pray. After a while she pointed out a name on the piece of paper (with all our names in it) - it was Bayot's name! She said Bayot took the money but very little was left of it. She cut off Bayot's name from the list and applied oil to it. The piece of paper was then placed on the altar. She said the money will be returned in 3 days - on the 27th.

Ending Thoughts
What was racing inside my mind the whole time was, what if Bayot did not take the money after all? His name has already been dragged through the mud! His entire office knows Uncle came looking for him and then the police over missing money. When I talked to some locals who were not privy to what happened, they all knew already! That is what happens in a small town - there are no secrets. Bayot, for all intents and purposes, is ruined in Siquijor. What a grave injustice to him. If he didn't steal the money, how could he ever restore his reputation back?

I know first hand what it feels like when a whole community turns against you. It happened to me in Chiang Mai when some 'friends' conspired to fabricate malicious lies about me with the intention of dragging my name through the mud. And people believed them. Even the ones who pride themselves as intelligent rational thinkers succumbed to a bee hive mentality. It felt like being burned at the stake. And although Bayot appears to be unfazed, he must be suffering through this ordeal.

Somehow, I was wishing he really stole the money so that the actions and damaging accusations levied against him would be founded. I can't imagine how I would feel if he was innocent at the end of the day.

Given all the extenuating circumstances, how could he be innocent? Just like my father's keys, maybe his wallet and money would just appear on top of his bed - Kris has already checked out and his room has been locked.

UPDATE (April 17, 2023):
The money never showed up and Bayot sings non-challantly while taking his shower, talking to everyone else like nothing happened. Surprisingly, people around him, perhaps out of politeness, also respond to him like nothing happened. All but me. I would look at him in the eye as if to say, "Don't even f@#kin' think about it!". He moved to a house within the compound where he plays music loud until the wee hours, completely unfazed at the inconvenience he's causing everyone else. Adding it all up, he shows signs of being a sociopath - someone who feels no emphathy to anyone and behaves like the world is for him. I am convinced more than ever he stole the money.

--- 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

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More on Lazi:

Lazi Local Info
  1. Resorts - Lazi has some beach/dive resorts on its west coast - Gabayan Riviera, Lazi Beach Club, Bahura Dive Resort. However, the popular area for tourist resorts are in San Juan
  2. Transport - Lazi is the junction where the jeeps begin their clockwise route (Lazi-San Juan-Siquijor Port) or the counter clockwise route (Lazi-Maria-Larena Port). Because the jeeps are rare with about 2 to 3 trips/day only in the morning, it's practical to just have a motorcycle here in Siquijor. With its affordability (a brand new Rusi motorbike is as low as P45k), people just buy motorcycles...especially those who live up in the mountains.
  3. The Boulevard - Lazi's main draw is its seaside cobblestone promenade. When the sun goes down, people gather here for eats, drinks, open-air, harbor view and the sunset
  4. Lazi Port - Kho Shipping, the shipping line operating from Lazi Port, has stopped its service to Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Dumaguete, Tagbilaran and Cebu. Passengers can go to Siquijor Port or Larena Port for boat services out of Siquijor Island

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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