Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An out of town weekend

We left last Friday dawn for an hour flight to Dumaguete, then another hour fast craft boat ride to the island of Siquijor, known to be a mystical island in the Visayas (central Philippines). Three of us met at the airport. We already arranged for a multicab to fetch us from Siquijor port and will service our transport needs throughout our weekend stay in the island. There are six towns with the centers mostly located along the coast. Aside from turbulent waters with pristine beaches, it is also famous for its old churches. Every town has their old church and convent. We only used 1.5 days there with the last half day spent in Dumaguete with my companion's high school classmate. So that was their reunion and of course, capped with wonderful meals. We also went to a resort where we had wonderful time shooting cascades.

The church in Siquijor, Siquijor has the perennial welcoming sign. The Belltower below is not yet remodelled unlike the church. A convent nearby with the balcony window (below right) now houses the local high school. Old churches and buildings here are made of coral limestones.

The jeepney we used throughout our stay. We noticed most jeeps are brightly colored.

Old acacia trees (rain tree or Samanea saman) lining the old streets of the town centers
 are mostly century-old. Mangrove forests line the beaches, and they are planting more (top right).

 Some houses on stilts serve as meeting place or function halls for sanctuary guards and ecotourism visitors. Now there are small tree huts rented for tourists who would like to experience nights of peace inside mangrove forests only hearing the sounds of the tides, and songs of birds.

 Walks between the tree houses inside this mangrove forest

 Protruding stalks are the mangrove forest trees' way of breathing, these are called pneumatophores for getting air above the water.

 Mosaics of mangrove roots, mossy stones and other mangrove dwellers

Wouldn't you want to frolic in this colorful beach?

 Mangrove trees grow slowly, and that small tree on the top left side can already be decades old.

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  1. Gorgeous scenery Andrea, thanks for sharing! Siquijor is definitely on the list for when we next visit the Philippines!

  2. Wow! Lovely place... Your pictures are sooooo Very tempting n inviting Would love to visit it some day.
    Super beaches and loved the walk connecting the tree houses.

    Must have been one memorable frolic n filled weekend for you Andrea

  3. Lovely! Samanea is the name of my house. Obviously there are lots of Samanea around here. I didn't know mangrove trees take decades to grow. We have some big ones here and it is a new township. Maybe there are many types with different growth rates. The one we have may be the type that are used to make mats.

  4. I really liked your tour and would love to frolic on that beach. The vegetation is so exotic to me, like the mangroves,a real paradise, like out of a novel. Pretty images too.

  5. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of Siquijor. I'm sure it was a very enjoyable trip. You are indeed a traveler, not just a tourist... hmmm, that saying sounds familiar :)

  6. Andrea, I really enjoy your posts about your escapades out of the city. The scenery is splendid and you sound so happy and carefree. Everytime I read these posts, it is as though I am travelling around the Philippines archilago islands with you and your 'gang'. This is really fun! Hehehe.....

  7. Cypress trees in the US produce the same kind of knobs, and well call them cypress knees. I didn't know it was proven that they were for breathing. Looks like you had a fun weekend in a gorgeous location. Thanks for taking us with you.

  8. Mark and Gaz - you will really love it there, the people are kind and generous still showing the old tradition of Filipino hospitality, unlike the already adulterated characteristics of those in big cities. Many tourists were with us in the boat and in the falls, and as i look deeper into their faces, they seem happy 'naman'.

    Ever Green Tree - If you come and visit i can guide and accompany you there, you will love it, as i know you visit waterfalls and beaches too.

    One - there are lots of big acacia trees (Samanea saman) in ASEAN. Their wood makes beautiful furnitures, esp their blackish center. About the mangroves, yes different species have diff growth rates, a lot of species and genus in these forest. About that one you refer to being made into mats, i wonder about that, because how can hard wood be made into mats. I know that mats normally come from grasses or reeds.

    Donna - You will love it there, i am sure. I am sorry i dont have a superwide lens to capture the beauty of the whole connection of walks to the huts, it is intricately lovely. How i wish i have your photographer's expertise in taking photos, at the moment, not yet. Yes it looks like a site for a romantic novel.

  9. SR - yes a traveler, not a tourist. Tourists congregate in well-trodden paths, while we want to have a place by ourselves. My friend usually say she only have 'tourist shots' yet, while in my case i seem to be getting only those because i dont know yet how to take the 'photographers' shots', hehe.

    Autumn Belle - i am glad to have conveyed to you beautiful areas of our country, in my little ways. Siquijor waters are known to be strong and the waves and current frightful, but i try to brave them just to enjoy and escape the stresses of work and city life. We are only 3 ladies in this trip though, not the previous Backpack Photography group!

    Carolyn - yes i've read that cypress have those structures too, but mangrove structures are proven to be breathing mechanisms because lenticels line these structures. Many studies are also done to know the functions of those structures.

  10. How beautiful..such fabulous photos...thanks for sharing...so magical!

  11. I don't think we got to see the houses on stilts. We were lucky to have visited the island twice. First was just a day trip but we fell in love with the island and decided to visit again and stay longer. Those are great pictures.

  12. Andrea, I was referring to the leaves being used to make mats, not the roots. The leaves I see on the mangrove trees are very long. I've posted on it once. Anyway, I came over to tell you that I left a short note for my traveler friend in Solitude Rising.

  13. Shalom Andrea. This is all so interesting and inviting. I love the coral limestone tower. Yes, I surely would like to frolic on that beach (something we lack).
    See you again!

  14. This a worth to visit place Andrea. You presented it very beautifully.

  15. Kiki - thank you for visiting here once-in-a while.

    Bom - we have the same experience, my first was tour interspersed with work, and a typhoon hit on our way back. So i had to come again purposely to have fun. The house on stilts is in the mangrove forest and have separate single huts for rent overnight.

    One - i am curious also about the mangrove leaves used to make mats, maybe we have the species here too but not yet discovered for making mats.

    Dina - thank you very much for visiting, i am sure our climate and vegetation differ so much so we can exchange sights.

    Birdy - thank you for coming here again, albeit only once-in-a while.

  16. What a great weekend getaway, Andrea. So much to see here! I like the church and the colorful jeepney (different!) and the beach and the bamboo bridge and and and... [I am booked to return to the Philippines on July 1, pa!]


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