Dumaguete and Siquijor

28 Memories of the Dumaguete and Siquijor Adventure

~ Part I ~

1) First flight with the girl friends. I’ve been friends with these three girls for more than a decade and been to a couple of places with them but we have yet to take our first plane ride together. The first challenge lies in the planning. It’s just hard to plan a trip for four people with four vastly different schedules and budgets. Second, booking for a group on a seat sale can be tricky and from past experiences, we just don’t end up booking the same flight. For this trip, seven of us committed to it and we had three different schedules and ways of arriving at our destination. Four of us took a morning flight from Manila to Dumaguete, two guy friends took the bus from Bacolod, and another girl friend was taking an afternoon flight from Manila. The two guys were to wait on the fifth girl and the three of them would take a late afternoon trip to Siquijor. With the challenge of getting several people together in a trip, four besties together on a plane is definitely something to remember. We’re missing one more girl but this has got to do for now.  first flight

2) Budbud saved the day. I was forced to buy budbud from a gentle-looking yet persuasive old man at the Dumaguete airport. I refused to buy at first but eventually relented. Good thing I gave in because that budbud saved us from getting hungry throughout the roughly six-hour trip from Dumaguete airport to the resort in San Juan, Siquijor. budbud

3) It’s okay to negotiate prices. I usually read up a lot of information when planning for trips and discrepancies in costs are to be expected. At the Larena port in Siquijor, several tricycle drivers approached us. We told them we wanted to go to San Juan and they were all willing to bring us there but I said that first we needed to agree on how much. Among themselves they quickly decided that this one guy was better suited to bring us there. I said how much, he said I name the price. I said Php 150 and he said San Juan is quite far, Php 250. We settled at Php 200 since there were four of us and it’ll come down to Php 50 each. Deal. We also told him that there’s another group that might be coming later that day. We got his name and his number and told him we’ll be in touch. Should you need his services, his name is Hermie, 0905-9022969. Hermie was quite a reliable guy and easy to deal with.tryk

4) Sturdy custom-made bunk beds at JJ’s Backpackers Village. JJ’s is located in the town of San Juan, Siquijor. They had a dorm room which has two bunk beds. It has an adjoining room that can fit two people. They also prepared an extra bed as we originally booked for seven people. We were charged Php 300 per head for a night’s stay. Decent price for an off-peak season.bunk bed

5) Cottages made of wood and the short, pretty walkway to the white beach. We got to the resort past 12 noon and we were starving but I couldn’t help but linger to appreciate the simple beauty of JJ’s Backpackers Village. The resort is very homey and made use of local materials. The restaurant by the shore occupied a small area and had a few tables and chairs. The only other group there was a family of four from France.  JJs

6) Things don’t usually go according to plan. People who frequently travel know this and you just have to make the most of whatever you are given. In our case, we opted to rest after having lunch since we wanted to explore the island together with our other friends who have yet to arrive. Rest became an extended nap and a couple of hours after, still no word from the rest of the group. Signal is weak in Siquijor so we had to make sure all instructions and Hermie’s number were relayed to the guys. Fifth girl friend’s flight to Dumaguete was moved to the next morning and she was given a room for the night in Makati. The two guys took the last ferry from Dumaguete to Larena.fifth girl friend

7) Burger with the works at JJ’s Backpackers Village. I could not remember what I had for dinner but I do remember that Bessie and I got so frustrated for not ordering the homemade burger with the works before the restaurant closed shop. This is a must try because it has its own unique flavor. It takes a while to prepare because they make the bread from scratch but it’s worth the wait.burger with the works

8) A round of cold beer. The girls and I just wanted to unwind. We don’t drink a lot but since it’s one of those special nights that we are away together for a vacation, we could not help but enjoy a bottle of cold beer.

photo (2)

{Girl friends at airport, yellow tricycle, bunk bed, cottage photos by Big Girl; budbud, burger, beer photos by Dins; hotel selfie by Fifth Girl Friend} 

Dark Chocolate with Siling Labuyo


A local artisan chocolate by Theo and Philo was given to me as a birthday gift. This one is dark chocolate with siling labuyo. The taste of sili is a bit similar to mint. I thought I have outgrown chocolates but maybe not. Can’t wait to try the sea salt and green mango variant! Check out their website http://theoandphilo.com for store locations and for more info about this proudly Philippine made product. The cacao is from Davao and sugar is from Bacolod. Astig lang!


The Walkable City

Jeff Speck, an urban designer, discusses his thought on “The Walkable City” based on insights from economists, epidemiologists, and environmentalists. These quotes do not summarize the talk, I just find them helpful.

The best economic strategy you can have as a city is not the old way of trying to attract corporations, in trying to have a biotech cluster, or a medical cluster, or aerospace cluster but to become a place where people want to be. And millenials, certainly these engines of entrepreneurship, 64% of whom decide first where they want to live, then they move there, then they look for a job. They will come to your city.

We have these studies that tie weight to inactivity but even more, we now have studies that tie weight to where you live. Do you live in a more walkable city or do you live in a less walkable city?

If you love nature the best thing you can do is stay the heck away from it.

On the Mercer Quality of Living Survey,

Is being more sustainable, what gives you a higher quality of life? I would argue, the same thing that makes you more sustainable is what gives you a higher quality of life and that’s living in a walkable neighborhood. So sustainability, which includes our wealth and our health may not be a direct function of our sustainability. But particularly, here in America, we are polluting so much because we are throwing away our time, and our money, and our lives on the highway.

Speck is a “city planner, an urban designer, former arts advocate, trained in architecture and art history.”


As an adult, whether single or raising a family, you cannot help but think about sustainability and quality of life. These are not mere buzzwords. It is simply, longterm thinking.

If you are still in the phase of living in the moment and not thinking about the near future, you will eventually get to this point. And you will realize what I’m talking about, I guarantee you that.

Hopefully, you will also realize that sustainability and quality of life is important not just at the personal and family level but most importantly, at the community level.

For us Filipinos, reflecting and acting on sustainability and quality of life are more essential than ever: in the pursuit of peace and development in Zamboanga and other conflict-torn areas, pursuit of democratic and transparent alternatives to the use of pork barrel funds, efforts in rebuilding Bohol and other areas damaged by the earthquake, and all other challenges that the country is faced with.

We ought to be tired of “band-aid” solutions. Or should I say, we ought to despise “band-aid” solutions.

We should aspire for, work on, and demand for sustainable solutions in any challenge. It is a mindset that should be cultivated in every Filipino, and most especially by our leaders.