Date > 2023 > May
Activity > Food Odyssey | Community
May 15, 2023
Location : Lazi, Siquijor Island, Philippines
Town fiestas in Siquijor are always over the top - you drown in food. Moreover, you don't even have to be invited. If you know the host, you can just show up. Even if a complete stranger shows up, he will not be turned away. Words can describe the event, but it has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Lazi is no exception. Even poor families willingly go into debt which they will repay for years just to throw a lavish fiesta where relatives, friends and even strangers from near and far, come to celebrate over a gargantuan array of never-ending food.
A Social Constraint?
Initially, I thought it was a social burden they were indentured to endure. I later found out that hosting is not mandatory. The locals freely and willingly look forward to the event - even if it means long and tedious preparation before the actual date, even if it means soliciting the help of many to man the kitchen to ensure there's always food on the table, even if it means there a ton of clean-up after, and most notably, even if it means going into debt.
Where I am staying, 2 pigs were slaughtered (one for the traditional lechon and the other was chopped-up for viand) - for reference, one lechon would cost about P10,000 (US$180, loose change to visiting foreigners here, but worth a king's ransom to those tying to meet both ends). Countless meals were also served, some coming all the way from Mindanao where visiting relatives brought dried fish (bulad, dang-git) and other delicacies. A lot of meals were meticulously prepared - laborious manual preparation by loving hands.
Community and Family
In a way, I see it as the host's service to the community and a reunion amongst the clans. The really marginalized section of the community (who probably get to eat meat only on such occasions...fiestas, weddings, celebrations, etc.) are there to benefit and revel in the festivity. Fiestas create a bond that keeps family and the community together.
So, there I was, gorging on a meal fit for a king. Perhaps I was the only outsider/non-relative in the house, but I tried to fit in, talking to whoever was beside me - sometimes to their discomfort because it's not in their tradition to be talking to a complete stranger...even if it's a party hosted by a common friend. But hey, maybe I start a positive social trend!
Food Glorious Food
May is the fiesta month in Siquijor. Nearly all the municipalities celebrate their fiestas in May. This could be a bad thing. Fiestas, in the traditional sense, mean going house-to-house to eat. It's practically gorging yourself with food. And not at a leisurely pace, but 'express'. Somehow, if you're slow, you'll run out of crispy lechon skin. At the end of the day, you can hardly move. Imagine doing that weekly for a month!
Fiestas are fun and festive. But you have to pace yourself. As impractical as it seems (going to debt to host one), it does keep tradition alive, forges bonds within the community and reunites family members.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
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More on Lazi:
- Resorts - Lazi has some beach resorts on its west coast but the popular area for tourist resorts are in San Juan
- 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). Even though Lazi has a port, it's not used for passengers. Because the jeeps are rare with about 2 to 3 trips/day, 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.
- The Boulevard - Lazi's main draw is its seaside cobblestone promenade. When the sun sets, people gather here for eats, drinks, open-air, harbor view and the sunset
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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- Riding Around Siquijor's 86km Coastal Road Apr 3, 2012
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- 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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