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I decided to book something online in advance (for 3 nights), so that I could look around the island and choose a nice beachfront location. My plan was to stay for a further 8 nights.
PHP2400 / day is my total GRANDPAcking Daily Budget! As a rule, I try and keep accommodation costs to no more than 50% of my Daily Budget; in The Philippines, my target price is, therefore, BELOW PHP1200 / night.
WHAT’S ON THE INTERNET / HOTEL SEARCH ENGINES:
Have a look for yourself. You will find that most of the cheap options are Dorms and / or in Backpacker Hostels:
Now and again, you will be able to get 50-70% discounts on (what look like) GRANDPAcking Standard rooms… but, make sure that you research the hotel and read the reviews.
Also note that, on AGODA.COM you usually have to pay a 12% Hotel Tax and 10% Service Charge IN ADDITION TO their published rate (i.e. an additional 22%).
I am sure that it won’t take you long to realise that you have to pay PHP1300+ to get anywhere near GRANDPAcking Standard. If you want the extras (like Cable TV and in-room Wifi), start looking at PHP1500+.
I had done my ‘usual thing’ and pre-booked my Siquijor accommodation.
As I was arriving on a Thursday night, I didn’t want to be searching for new accommodation in the middle of a weekend, so I booked 3 nights so that my next accommodation would start on the Sunday night.
I found (what looked like) the best priced Double with Ensuite (Tori’s Backpacker) on ASIATRAVEL.COM.
I booked using my Credit Card; but the room was not confirmed immediately.
I got an email from ASIATRAVEL to say that the room was not available on the Saturday night.
They gave me ‘alternatives’ but I decided to re-book a better place using BOOKING.COM.
The Palm Tree looked like it was on a decent side road. It is not.
After walking the 400m up the main road (from where the Jeepney dropped me off) to find the turn off, I found a gravel and dirt road that could not be traversed with a suitcase on wheels.
I had to carry my suitcase the 400-500m down the dirt track to my hotel.
If you book the Palm Tree, I advise you to catch a Jeepney to Lerena and, then, a Tribike from there to the Palm Tree.
The Palm Tree was PHP795 / night for a small cottage.
There are only 3 cottages in the entire resort … it is very quiet.
The cottage came with a balcony, a small Double Bed, Fan, small Cold Water Ensuite, and a wardrobe area (without a rail to hang your clothes on – so my clothes got hung on the curtain rail again).
The owners (a Dutch man and his Filipina wife) are very nice people and very attentive and friendly.
They cook but the menu is a bit ‘pricy’ with something like a Spicy Chicken Curry with Rice for PHP260 (I was paying PHP180 for the same thing at Shantal’s in Boracay).
But, having said that, their accommodation price is cheaper than most other places so what you save on accommodation goes towards the food bill.
You have to walk 50m to the Casa De La Playa Resort to get through to the beach.
The beach is ‘OK’.
The Palm Tree advertise wifi in ‘common areas’ but their wifi is terrible to non-existent. You can’t rely on your own smartphone either … you either have ‘E’ for ‘Enough’ or no signal at all.
If you need wifi, you need to go to the Casa De La Playa (which has good wifi).
WHERE TO STAY ON SIQUIJOR:
My tour started in the Palm Tree Guesthouse which is situated 10 minutes drive north of Lerena on the North West coast. From there, I headed north then east.
I rented a scooter from the Palm Tree for PHP350 / day. I toured the whole of the Siquijor coastline and drove down almost every road and track that I could find to a beach. The whole trip took 8 hours.
The circular road is good and sealed all of the way around: it is easy driving.
I would suggest that you catch a Jeepney to the nearest town / village and catch a Tribike from there – to keep transport costs down.
In most cases, the beaches are stony and there are rocks underfoot as you wade out in the water for a swim.
Siquijor is NOT an idyllic beach holiday destination.
Even then, the prices are higher than average with SCUBA Dive Open Water courses costing 150% of the price that you can get them for in Dumaguete.
The resorts are spread out and isolated – you are not part of a ‘community’; in most resorts, you are resort-bound with no choice of restaurants or local eateries to go to and no nearby shops to keep your costs down.
This is what I found …
The resorts that I recommend are shown in green, resorts worth a look are shown in orange, resorts that I would avoid are shown in red.
NORTH WEST COAST:
The North West Coast offers the best value for money resorts with OK beaches. Some also offer OK swimming with sand (rather than rocks) underfoot.
Big garden chalet on the hill, fan, balcony, kitchenette, fridge, in-room wifi.
Average beach & swimming. PHP1600.
It is possible to discount this down to PHP1200 if booked online in advance.
Small chalet, fan, cold water shower, and balcony with no usable wifi.
It is 50m from the beach (accessed through the Casa De La Playa).
Go to the Casa De La Playa if you need internet. PHP795.
Small double room up the hill with kitchenette, mosquito net and no wifi.
Average beach & swimming. PHP580 discounted to PHP550 for 3 or more nights.
Better and bigger 2 person chalets can be had for PHP850.
Islanders Paradise Resort:
SOUTH & WEST COAST:
I have included this to give you an example of what you can, typically, find around the island.
There are more expensive places than this (such as the Salamangka Beach Resort and the Coco Grove Beach Resorts; many of which offer not much more).
OK beach & average swimming. Pool.
PHP2136 discounted by 15% to PHP1816 for 3 or more nights.
Big duplex room at the top of the hill, fan, and balcony.
Average beach & swimming. PHP1200.
The rest of the beach heading North West to the West Coast is either non-existent or poor.
Is the exception on the west coast.
A twin room near the pool, aircon, and breakfast is PHP1500.
There is nothing of note after the One Sunset View until you get north of the airport.
Double room with fan PHP650 (PHP1250 with aircon).
Good beach and good swimming.
Tori’s Paradise is one of my ‘top picks’ for GRANDPAckers.
Sunny Shine Resort:
Best described as a resort targeting Filipinos. Basic. OK beach & average swimming. Double fan room PHP500 (aircon PHP1200).
OK if you don’t mind stumbling over unlit rocky tracks to get to your chalet.
In this area, you will also find Replica Manor. It looked nice from the outside but is set back from the beach. PHP850 for a double with fan.
To get to the beach, you have to walk through an adjacent resort and pay a PHP50 entrance fee.
This is Backpacker – NOT GRANDPAcker.
Only stay here for 1 night if you get a good discount and you are in transit.
A small duplex, fan, hot water shower, tv, and wifi.
OK beach & swimming.
Scooter rental for PHP300 / day.
Fan beachfront cottage, tv, cold water shower, and fridge.
OK beach & swimming. PHP1400.
There is no doubt in my mind that, if I had turned up with ‘folding cash in hand’ and put it on the table, I could have discounted all of these places down further. Some more than others. As a rule, if you are staying 1 week, offer cash up-front 30% below the asking price (accept 25%). If you are staying 3 weeks or more, offer 50% below the asking price (accept 40%).
It is worth spending a few hours searching to find a good place at a good price: THEY ARE THERE AND YOU CAN FIND THEM.
Once again, hiring a scooter pays for itself in the savings that you will make on your accommodation; accommodation which is, usually, also better than you would otherwise find.
If you like to be on a decent beach, to swim every day and to sit on / near the beach with a beer at night … for that ‘privilege’, you will need to compromise on your accommodation (whilst keeping it to a minimum GRANDPAcking Standard). I found that GRANDPAckers could do this at Tori’s Paradise, Villa Marmarine, and Kiwi Dive.
However, as I have said, you are resort-bound and forced to pay their inflated restaurant prices. The cheapest breakfast will cost about PHP180 (with a coffee). The cheapest lunch the same. The cheapest dinner PHP200. Budget PHP560 to PHP700 per person per day for meals.
This doesn’t leave you much money for beers or cocktails and, on that basis, I do not recommend Siquijor as a GRANDPAcking Holiday Destination … there are better and cheaper places to go: such as the Aglicay on Tablas Island, Carabao Beach on Carabao Island or, in fact, Station 3 on Boracay.
If you come to snorkel … you will struggle to afford renting the snorkelling equipment on a GRANDPAcking budget. You definitely won’t be able to afford to rent a scooter to sight see around the island. For GRANDPAckers to ‘Holiday’ on Siquijor Island, they will have to make some minor adjustments to the standard GRANDPAcking approach.
Read about Siquijor GRANDPAcking Costs for the details.
With no proper facilities or expat ‘community’, it is also NOT a GRANDPAcking retirement Location.