Siquijor, also called Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) by the Spaniards before, is a small island in Central Visayas known (or probably "infamous") for mysticism and magic. Black magic to be more precise.
Mention the name of the island and most Filipinos would associate it with witchcraft and black magic. In fact during the Holy Week, throngs of "healers"/shamans and sorcerers (and other practitioners of the black art) would flock to the island to make their potions and healing materials during Good Friday and Black Saturday. A huge poster that welcomes visitors in Siquijor's pier includes a warning about activities related to black magic.
I came to Siquijor seeking its fire and magic, but I was looking for the other sort - the fire and magic of sunrise and sunset.
I chose a strategic location for my stay, somewhere accessible for both sunrise and sunset. Sandugan beach in Larena in the western side fits the bill perfectly. Its near the northern tip of the island, so I can easily swing to the other side (east) within 15-20 minutes on a motorcyle.
As soon as I arrived I scouted for location to shoot and found some very interesting mangroves. I ended up returning to one location for sunrise for the next 2 days.
By late afternoon I was back in Sandugan. As the sun dipped low on the horizon, the magic starts to happen. Ominous-looking clouds began to form on the western end. It was like an epic battle, with the sun desperately trying to break through.
The lowtide coincided with the sunset that day (and for the next couple of days). Exposed sea moss covered rocks glowed like gold nuggets.
The next day I was up early. The wind was chilly and the coastal road was empty. I got to my favorite tree on the eastern side well before sunrise.
night and day
Took some test shots, and one actually turned out to be a keeper. I liked how the scene showed both the night (as represented by the stars) and the day thats about to burst forth.
What happened next was simply magic. I had this really beautiful tree with an amazing background of beautiful colors.
The rest of the day was spent visiting other tourist traps around the island, but I was back again in Sandugan by late afternoon.
This time Siquijor showed its fire. The clouds was awash with all the warm hues of red and orange. It was one of the memorable sunsets I've seen and I was like a kid in a candy store.
sublime end of day
I was back again, the next morning, to my favorite tree. It was as if the island was trying to beat its previous sunrise, for it gave such an encore. I was awestruck the whole time.
Before I left the island, on my last afternoon, Siquijor gave me one last treat. I was not planning on shooting sunset that day, but a low tide scene in the pier with glowing clouds in the west is simply too hard to pass by without one or two shots.
So if you ask me: "Is there magic in Siquijor?". My answer would be: definitely! You just have to wake up early or stay out late in the afternoon to experience it. And by the way, the magic follows you anywhere.