(Getting Around the Island)
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Getting Around the Island
When you arrive at one of the Siquijor piers if you have not made prior arrangements with one of the resorts to provide you with transportation, you can find plenty of tricycles, EZ rides (multi-cabs), and motorcycles waiting to take you to your destination.
Once you get settled and decide to explore the island there are several transportation options. Getting around the island is not a problem, as there is an ample supply of vehicles available for tourists. If you are interested in an island tour and are staying at a resort, ask them if they offer an organized tour package. If you hire an unorganized driver you might spend considerably more money and waste your time. After dark, unless you are aboard a vessel with a scheduled arrival at a pier, it is often difficult to find available transportation.
Most drivers speak at least a little English. Actually there are some that are well educated. However, it might be wise to have a brief conversation with them before your journey just to be certain that there is no confusion about your destination.
Modes of Transportation
1. Motorcycle (Habal-Habal)
Habal-habal is riding on the back-seat of a motorbike. Some foreigners consider this fairly risky and uncomfortable. I have personally seen as many as 4 or 5 riders on the same motorcycle. However, you can negotiate with the driver to have a “special trip” without other riders.
Tricycles are motorcycles with sidecars for passengers. I am constantly amazed as to how much luggage and how many passengers are carried on tricycles. Most tricycles are under-powered and it is not uncommon to have at least 6 or 8 passengers riding. Getting around on a tricycle can be slow if there are a lot of riders. You can negotiate with the operator to have a “special trip” service to have a faster and more comfortable ride. However, a lot of tourists find enjoyment sharing the ride with local residents and other tourists. The lack of speed actually fits into the laid-back lifestyle on the island. You can hire a tricycle for a “private” service for sight-seeing.
3. EZ rides
EZ rides (AKA Easy-Rides and Multi-cabs) are small trucks that have been customized to carry passengers in an enclosed rear-area with bench-type seats. They are a faster mode of transportation and with the exception of the head-room clearance they are more comfortable. These vehicles are registered and restricted to a designated area on the island unless you negotiate a “special trip” with the operator. If you are interested in a ½ day, all day, or longer private service you can negotiate a “private” service” with the driver.
When American troops left the Philippines at the end of World War II, surplus jeeps were sold or given to local Filipinos. Locals modified the jeeps to accommodate passengers, added metal roofs, and decorated the vehicles with vibrant colors and ornaments.
Although the original jeepneys were simply refurbished military jeeps, modern jeepneys are now produced by independently owned factories within the Philippines. In the central Philippine island of Cebu, most of the jeepneys are built from second-hand Japanese trucks, originally intended for hauling cargo rather than passengers. The unique thing about jeepneys is that no jeepney is exactly the same as another. Each jeepney is a testament to the artistic ability of the designer assigned to it.
Jeepneys run a designated route around the island. There are a few on the island available for private hire. While it is not my preferred choice of transportation, every foreigner should experience a jeepney ride. Just as in the case of the Multi-cabs, watch your head getting on and off.
There are a few buses on the island at the time of this writing. The ones that I encountered run a route between Lazi and Larena via Maria. They appear to offer comfortable seating and are relatively new and in good condition.
In my opinion, for the rather short distances, the most practical choice is the tricycle or multi-cab (Easy-Ride). Multi-cabs and tricycles are more abundant and they have the ability to take you to parts of the island where jeepneys and buses with designated routes do not go.
For the past 6 years I have employed the same driver and multi-cab for my private use. His name is Clyde and you can read about him by clicking here and then entering the 2004 section.
There are many motorcycles available from your resort or private sources that you can rent for your personal use on the island. Most have hourly, daily, and weekly rates. Having a personal vehicle at your disposal gives some tourists a sense of freedom from not having to rely on other drivers. However, driving on the island can be hazardous if you are not familiar with the road conditions and local driving hazards. Please exercise caution, courtesy and common sense while operating a motor vehicle on the island.
One of the better rated Motorbike rental services is Raymond's which is located in Solangon, San Juan, Siquijor. He has an excellent reputation and I have never heard any complaints.
Many local businesses (such as Lucky Drug and Samyz Pizza) as well as independent owners have vans (driver included) available for rent. This is a very comfortable, though more expensive, way to tour the island.
Some tourists are electing to take their own personal bicycles to the island. Also some resorts (like Coral Cay Resort) offer bike rental to their guests. Siquijor is perfect for tour-bikers as well as trailblazers.
Siquijor is a beautiful place for hiking. Be sure to wear appropriate attire and carry a sufficient supply of drinking water.
Often when tourists are not familiar with local fares they find out later that they grossly overpaid for the service. It is common on the island when asking a driver “how much?” you will receive a reply of “it’s up to you” (ikaw gud). I have made it a practice to always tip courteous and helpful drivers on the island. And I strongly encourage all island visitors to do the same as a reward (and future incentive) for good service.
In the case of special trips, private trips, and tricycles there are some price influencing factors. Among these are the time of day, holidays, time of season, fuel costs, local demand, number of passengers, etc.
All transportation fares are handled on a regional level by the LTFRB; Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. Tricycles are excluded from regulation. I am offering the following average day time rates (as of April 2006) as a guideline. Please note that these rates are per passenger and that motorcycles and tricycles are under municipal regulations; not the LTFRB. It is always wise to agree on the price before traveling.
Larena to Siquijor: P15
Siquijor to San Juan: P15-17
San Juan to Lazi: P20
Lazi to Maria: P15
Lazi to Larena: P40
Maria to Larena: P30
Maria to Enrique Villanueva: P15
Siquijor Land Transportation Office
In April of 2006 I had the pleasure of meeting Gerald J. Dominguez. Gerald is in charge of the Siquijor Land Transportation Office (LTO). Mr. Dominguez offers his office number and personal cell number to any tourist that has any unfortunate transportation experiences while on Siquijor. If you are stranded, have a legitimate complaint, etc. please do not hesitate to contact him. In the event that you do feel as though you have an legitimate complaint against a local driver, you had better have your facts straight.
LTO Office: 035-480-3100
Personal Cell: 0915-339-4151
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