Swinging Swedes, Big Bugs and Holiday Hammocks
We arrived in Siquijor to be met by a plethora of tricycles and jeepneys, each of which vied for our attention and business. We briefly spoke to the tourist office who we thought would be non-biased as to where we stayed but continued to rebuff our desire to head to the backpackers in the town of San Juan. After some persuasion and an over-priced tricycle ride we found ourselves just where we had wanted to be; at a backpackers where we would have a good chance of meeting other travellers. Unfortunately it was empty and so we decided to check out some other accommodation before we made a decision. We found our home in a guesthouse named The Sylvia and it was perfect! Although still empty apart from one other couple we had a fantastic room for a great price, the lounging area was cosy and the food served was some of the best we'd had.
After some freshening up and a little exploring around the very tiny town of San Juan we headed to The Sylvia's bar and propped ourselves up on stools for a well earned San Miguel. It didn't take long for the lovely Rachil to start chatting away to us as if we'd known her for years. She was from Siquijor and lived there for 5 months of the year running a small guest house just a couple of hundred metres from The Sylvia. The rest of her time she spent in Germany with her husband she had fallen in love with twenty or so years before in the Philippines. It wasn't long before the other guests came to introduce themselves and invite us for a game of pool. They were a beautiful Swedish couple with tanned skin and blonde hair and we were so happy to meet some other travellers. Greg gave up on San Miguel and joined the couple in a bottle of Filipino rum called Tanduay; it would take just a few hours to realise this was a mistake.
Rachil invited the four of us to a local bar just a few km down the road so we squashed into a tricycle and were at the bar Czars just minutes after. There were very few tourists here and so we felt happy to be experiencing a typical Filipino night out, with a live band and a lot of dancing. It felt a little like we had gone back to a disco from another time, it was cheesy and Abba filled but such good fun that we couldn't hold it against them.
A few beers and rums later and the tall, bronzed Swede approached Greg with a proposition...to swap girlfriends for the night! Thankfully Greg declined but the next couple of hours were filled with a few awkward butt gropes and some uncomfortable moments but with a night as good as this one and a beer or two inside of us we brushed it off and continued the friendship by bringing out some crazy dance moves with a group of Filipinos who delighted in taking photos of all of us. By this point Greg was pulling out the best moves of his life which resulted in split shorts and a lost sandal, that boy sure can move!!!
It came time to leave and without a local burger joint or kebab store to feed our drunken tummies Greg headed for the next best thing…balot. Balot is a half formed duck embryo that is a common food in the Philippines. Katie was not going anywhere near it but was happy to see Greg embracing the culture, even when it was dripping down his chin as he slurped at the juices of the gruesome snack. Greg enjoyed it so much he asked for another but confessed the following day that he was glad he had been somewhat inebriated for the experience.
The following day we were both feeling a little worse for wear and so headed for a lazy day at the beach. We were so happy to see hammocks hanging from the tall palm trees and jumped straight in. There really is nothing like the weightless feeling of lying in a hammock, with just a little swing and the right positioning you feel like you are lying on a cloud with just the heavens above you. Once we were feeling a little more human Katie was able to bring out her hoop and get in her fix for the day. While she danced on the sand to the sound of the waves Greg kayaked into the horizon.
That evening we met once more with the Swedes who told us of the beast they had found in their room; a spider the size of your face. This beast moves faster than your average arachnid and according to Rachil is a 'common' house spider. After nightmares and waking Greg in sweats and screams Katie decided that it would not be long before they left their paradise at The Sylvia. So the next day we rented a motorbike and travelled the entire 72km coastal road, taking in all the sights we could and stopping to replace Greg's lost sandal. On our travels we came across some stunning places to stay, beach resorts in the middle of nowhere but it is not long until we need to leave to be in Boracay to meet with CJ, a friend made in Canada. Greg was also becoming drained by the constant protection order he was under from Katie and the never ending room checks he had to do so she would enter the bathroom without fear of spiders.
Before we departed the beautiful little island of Siquijor we made sure to visit Rachil and thank her for hospitality and to assure her that we would send other travellers to her lovely little guesthouse called Chells. We did not get to see her rooms, but the grounds were so pretty and filled with mango trees nearly ready to harvest. And so we booked our ferry to Cebu for the following morning and headed to bed for another night filled with spider dreams, midnight tears and an early rise at 4.30am. We jumped onto a tricycle and took the short drive to the port with the early morning sunrise greeting us with pink skies. Once on the ferry, we took the time to reflect on our time in Siquijor, an island we wish we had longer for, yet were eager to leave. As the ferry cruised through the calm, still waters we watched a pod of dolphins jumping through the surface to give us a fond farewell.