Enchanting Siquijor

THE busy and rumbling streets at home prompted me to hurry up and catch the first trip to Dumaguete last weekend. In the process of figuring things out on my travel details, I skipped the often long queues of my mind to exhaust its limits, and yes, divulge in a never ending mill of over thinking.

I wanted a quick move to somewhere quiet, and so after a bus ride and a port transfer, I found myself dipping in the wonders of Siquijor.

Gone are the days that the island paradise was received with more caution than excitement. The local tourism council of Maria Siquijor and Larena, for example, have been very active in its tourism efforts in the past years. Boutique hotels, quick grab eateries and romantic dinners along its pristine coastlines have shared a fair deal on charges.

Tricycle drivers have served as tourist guides themselves, presenting a more honest point to point tour deals from P1,000 onwards. They have mastered the principle of basic marketing, a great deal for both on budget and extravagant tourists to enjoy the island on a day, and more importantly, share the experience and replicate through word of mouth.

The roads, although not as wide, are neat and clean. I am prompted to ask myself on the kind of local culture they live by. The locals have embraced simplicity and a well kept tradition of faith healing, love potion making and other spell binding rituals that requires practicing "low key-low voice" interaction. This one I assume from a mysterious novel I got myself as a birthday present in college.

Its mystery and literally, charm, are beyond enforcing. You follow rules by heart, even not told about: keep your voice low, do not say too much, be kind to locals, stretch a smile, keep your garbage, respect nature, keep yourself from laughing boisterously. Unless, as the tales would say, you'll find yourself with blood shot eyes and some creepers haunting you at home.

But Siquijor has since become a great deal for celebration instead of danger: majestic looking seascapes, an array of rushing water falls, a number of adventure tourism sites to check off every traveler’s bucket list, century old trees and churches for every culture vulture, and as in my case, a menu for every gastronomic adventurer who wants to skip lines and dig in to eat with gusto. The later has been my deal as a lifestyle guy.

Maybe, my adventure is to see a rusted if not a dirty kitchen transform home grown recipes into the next gourmet find. How can I not indulge in the many wonders of a well relished presentation, a local slush or brew or an untamed process of preparation that is all usually against the books?

I often wondered how it’s like to live in a different place away from the intoxicating pattern of your world. My recent visit in Hong Kong has reinforced this idea of living in a different space.

But Siquijor has enticed me more charmingly. If you don't see me in the local scenes hosting or reporting, maybe I am in Siquijor enjoying another take on how is it to live a life of purpose.
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