Siquijor // (Cebuano: Lalawigan sa Siquijor, Filipino: Lalawigan ng Siquijor) is a fifth income class island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Its capital is the municipality also named Siquijor. To the northwest of Siquijor are Cebu and Negros, to the northeast is Bohol and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is the island of Mindanao.
Siquijor is the third smallest province in the country, in terms of population as well as land area (after Camiguin and Batanes). For a time it was part of Negros Oriental.
During the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines, the Spaniards called the island Island of Fire (Spanish: Isla del Fuego). Siquijor is commonly associated with mystic traditions that the island's growing tourism industry capitalizes on.
Siquijor is an island province in the Visayas. It lies southeast from Cebu and Negros across Cebu Strait (also called Bohol Strait) and southwest from Bohol. Panglao Island which is part of Bohol province has a similar composition of the soil which is found throughout the whole island of Siquijor.
With a land area of 338 square kilometres (131 sq mi) and a coastline 102 kilometres (63 mi) long, Siquijor is the third smallest province of the Philippines.
The island lies about 19 kilometres (12 mi) east of the nearest point on southern Negros, 25 kilometres (16 mi) southeast of Cebu, 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Bohol, and 45 kilometres (28 mi) north of Zamboanga Peninsula of Mindanao. It is predominantly hilly and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing precipitous cliffs. At the center, Mount Malabahoc (locally known as Mount Bandila‑an) reaches about 628 metres (2,060 ft) in elevation, the highest point on the island. Three marine terraces can be roughly traced especially in the vicinity of Tag‑ibo on the southwestern part of the island, a barrio of San Juan municipality from the seacoast up into the central part.
Siquijor is a coralline island, and fossils of the giant clam tridacna are often encountered in the plowed inland fields. On the hilltops there are numerous shells of the molluscan species presently living in the seas around the island. Siquijor was probably formed quite recently, geologically speaking. The ocean depths between Siquijor and Bohol and Mindanao are in the neighborhood of 640 metres (350 fathoms; 2,100 feet).
Siquijor has two different climates, dominated by Am. All climate is within Coronas climate type IV, characterised by not very pronounced maximum rainfall with a short dry season from one to three months and a wet season of nine to ten months. The dry season starts in February and lasts through April sometimes extending to mid‑May.
Five of the municipalities have significant rainfall most months of the year, with a short dry season that has little effect. This location is classified as Am (tropical monsoon climate) by Köppen–Geiger climate classification system. The average annual temperature in Siquijor is 27.6 °C, with variation throughout the year less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 deg F). The precipitation about varies 165 millimetres (6 in) between the driest month and the wettest month, with the average rainfall 1,600 millimetres (63 in) or less.
The municipality Lazi has a significant amount of rainfall during the year. This is true even for the driest month. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as Af (tropical rainforest climate). In a year, the average rainfall is 1,655 millimetres (65 in).
Siquijor (province) comprises 6 municipalities. Siquijor (municipality) is the capital and most important port.
According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 91,066. The same census also states that Siquijor has 17,351 households with an average household size of 5.2 persons. The average annual growth rate between 2000 and 2010 was 1.10%, lower than the national growth rate of 1.90% for the same period.
In the 2013 election, it had 64,804 registered voters, meaning that 71% of the population are aged 18 and over.
The main spoken language in the island province is Cebuano, with English often used as a second language. Filipino is understood and used only in response to one who speaks it, but it is rarely used in everyday conversation. Some Spanish words are spoken and understood.
95% of the island's residents belong to the Catholic Church, while the remainder belong to various other Christian churches.
The island was first sighted by the Spaniards in 1565 during Miguel López de Legazpi's expedition. The Spaniards called the island Isla del Fuego or "Island of Fire", because the island gave off an eerie glow, which came from the great swarms of fireflies that gathered in the numerous molave trees on the island. Esteban Rodríguez of the Legazpi expedition led the first Spaniards to discover the island. He was captain of a small party that left Legazpi's camp in Bohol to explore the nearby islands which are now called Pamilican, Siquijor, and Negros.
The island, along with the rest of the archipelago, was subsequently annexed to the Spanish Empire. Founded in 1783 under the administration of secular clergymen, Siquijor became the first municipality as well as the first parish to be established on the island. Siquijor was, from the beginning, administered by the Diocese of Cebu. As for civil administration, Siquijor was under Bohol since the province had its own governor. The first Augustinian Recollect priest arrived in Siquijor in 1794. Several years later, a priest of the same order founded the parishes of Larena (initially called Can-oan), Lazi (formerly Tigbawan), San Juan (Makalipay), and Maria (Cang-meniao). With the exception of Enrique Villanueva, the other five municipalities were established as parishes in 1877. From 1854 to 1892, Siquijor became part of the province of Negros Oriental, and became a sub-province in 1901.
American rule and World War II
At the turn of the century, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States of America with the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish–American War. Siquijor island felt the presence of American rule when a unit of the American Cavalry Division came and stayed for sometime. The American Military Governor in Manila appointed James Fugate, a scout with the California Volunteers of the U.S. Infantry, to oversee and to implement the organization and development programs in Siquijor Island. Governor Fugate stayed for 16 years as lieutenant governor of Siquijor.
While it was not at the center of military action, Siquijor was not spared by World War II. Imperial Japanese detachments occupied the island between 1942 and 1943, announcing their arrival on the island with heavy shelling. At the outbreak of the war, Siquijor was a sub-province of Negros Oriental, headed by Lieutenant Governor Nicolas Parami. Refusing to pledge allegiance to the Japanese forces, Lt. Governor Parami was taken by Japanese soldiers from his residence at Poo, Lazi one evening and brought to the military headquarters in Larena. He was never heard from again. On November 10, 1942, Japanese warships started shelling Lazi from Cang-abas Point. In Lazi, a garrison was established in the old Home Economics Building of the Central School. Filipino guerrillas engaged in sabotage and the interaction during this time to cause havoc on the Japanese lives and properties.
During this period, Siquijor was briefly governed by Shunzo Suzuki, a Japanese civilian appointed by the Japanese forces until he was assassinated in October 1942 by the guerrilla forces led by Iluminado Jumawanin, of Caipilan, Siquijor. Mamor Fukuda took control of Siquijor from June 1943 until the Japanese forces abandoned the island when the liberation forces came in 1944. In 1943, the Japanese puppet government appointed Sebastian Monera of San Juan as Governor of Siquijor. His administration however was cut short when he was executed, presumably by Filipino guerrillas operating in the mountains of Siquijor.
On September 30, 1943, the United States submarine USS Bowfin (SS-287) delivered supplies to the people of Siquijor and evacuated people from the island.
On February 21, 1945, the destroyer USS Renshaw (DD-499), part of Task Unit 78.7.6, was escorting a convoy of about 50 various landing ships with 12 other escorts. At 10:59, Renshaw was attacked by a Japanese midget submarine off the coast of Siquijor, which caused extensive damage to the ship and killed 19 of the crew.
In mid-1945, local Filipino soldiers and officers under the 7th, 71st, 75th and 76th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army arrived, and alongside recognized guerrilla fighter groups, liberated Siquijor.
Siquijor became an independent province on September 17, 1971, by virtue of Republic Act 6398. The capital, formerly Larena, was transferred to the municipality of Siquijor in 1972 by Proclamation No. 1075.
The literacy rate of 92.5% is one of the highest in the country.
Siquijor's long-time reputation as a place of magic and sorcery both attracts and repulses visitors. Siquijor is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals where incantations are sung while the old folks make potions out of herbs, roots, insects and tree barks. In hushed talks, locals would share a story or two about folk legends pointing to the existence of witchcraft and witches in the island.
Among the many attractions are the beaches, caves, waterfalls, Bandila‑an Natural Park, and butterfly sanctuary. White sand beaches make up most of the 102-kilometer coastline of Siquijor.
The coral reefs ringing the island offer some of the best diving in the Philippines for snorkelers and scuba divers. Dive courses are conducted by several dive operators on the island in version of PADI, CMAS* and NAUI. Siquijor was declared a marine visitor arrivals among the three provinces in Region VII.
The island of Siquijor has 3 sea ports capable of servicing cargo and passenger sea crafts, and an airfield capable of handling smaller and mostly privately owned airplanes.
Siquijor island - information
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