Man at His Best

Lesser known destinations in Asia: Siquijor

Indulge your penchant for the supernatural at Siquijor Islands, Philippines.

BY shermian lim | Mar 15, 2017 | Travel

With both feet. / iStock

Agoda's latest Travel Smart survey based on booking traffic on the travel reservation site indicates an increasing popularity of lesser-known destinations with potential for new experiences for travellers. Niseko in Japan caps the list as a highly sought-after ski destination, followed by many islands in Southeast Asia. Get to know about these places while you still can.

Rumours of the pervasive influence of witchcraft and sorcery on Siquijor Island, a tiny province in the central Visayas region of the Philippines, apparently have not stopped it from becoming a highly sought-after holiday destination. The faint-hearted might quiver at the notion of setting foot on an island notorious for mysterious, mountain-dwelling healers with ancient potion-brewing methods, but you're not daunted, because you watch Game of Thrones. When everyone else is heading to nearby Bohol and Cebu, you will go forth to Siquijor and discover that sorcery is only part of the island's appeal. And no wonder it was an early hub for Catholicism in the country. Lazi Convent, located next to the St Isidore Parish Church in the northwestern municipality of Lazi is one of the largest in the country and a National Historical Landmark. However, if history or the occult are of little interest, the other magic—beach bumming, diving snorkelling in clean turquoise waters and relaxing under a century-old balete tree in Lazi—should be more than enough reason to visit Siquijor Island.

Filipino sorcerer Alberto 'Edol' Baroro, 60, holds a candle as he performs black magic rituals for one of his clients, in a cave on Siquijor island, April 6, 2007. The father of six lives on a modest farm in the cool hills of the mystic central Philippine island of Siquijor known for its herbalists and black magic. Romeo Gacad/AFP.