The Spaniards called it Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) because of the soft glow generated by the island's abundant firefly population. To Filipinos, Siquior (see-kee-hor) has an aura of mystery and magic; its mountainous interior is home to a number of mangkukulam (healers) who practise not with spooky incantations but with smelly herbs and soothing oils. This little island, the smallest of the four Central Visayas provinces, is dotted with laid-back beach resorts. A sealed 72km coastal road circumnavigates the island, affording unobstructed ocean vistas and an opportunity to pause and take in truly low-key village life.
Once a part of Bohol and then Negros Oriental, Siquior didn't become an independent province until 1971, although economically and politically it still seems like a little sister to its larger neighbours. This seems unlikely to change as long as Siquijorenos continue to migrate to Cebu, Manila or abroad seeking work. Larena is Siquijor's main port and Siquijor town its capital.
While it is less renowned than other Visayas locations, there are good dive sites, mostly off the west coast of the island, including Paliton Beach (three submarine caves), Salagdoong Beach (plenty of coral, and the odd mako shark), Sandugan and Tongo Point (colourful reefs). Nearby Apo Island has a range of excellent dive sites, and there's a 30m wreck, a Japanese hospital boat, near the Larena pier.
During the crazy Holy Week celebrations, local healers and revellers put the 'Mystique Island' on the festival map with the Lenten Festival of Herbal Preparation; plus May is a month of almost nonstop fiesta.