Talingting, I think, is the most underrated town in Siquijor. It is a small town between Larena and Maria, and is facing the island of Bohol. Talingting is now known as Enrique Villanueva, named after a governor who made possible the conversion of the barangay to a town. One of the most popular stories explaining why the town is very “mingaw” or isolated is because there are only 13 people in town.
Historical records would tell us that the province was once stricken with the deadly cholera and Talingting was severely hit by the disease. Talingting was only a barangay of Larena and had to transport their dead to the Larena Parish Church for mass and burial. That is a more than 11 kilometer-distance (more than 2 hours of walk) between the two places that people who were transporting the dead also died along the way. That it is the tragic story of the 13 residents of the town — a story that I hope left a lasting impact on the local government to prevent future cholera epidemics. The town, like many areas in the island, has white, pristine, and unexploited beaches. If you take the coastal road, you would be treated to a long stretch of white sand coastline, most portions of which are public and are free for anyone.
- Lilibeth’s Pan Bisaya
One of the many stops in town would be pan bisaya. And Lilibeth’s Pan Bisaya, along the road, seemed to be the most popular. It’s a simple native shanty and the family makes the bread on site using the traditional clay pugon. Venture a few meters onto their backyard and there will be a stretch of public beach.
2. Cang-Isok Ancestral House
Another popular stop is the Cang-Isok ancestral house, a typical house on stilts, which I think is already about a hundred years old. Sadly, the house is in poor shape and I’m not sure if there are any talks between the house owners and the government to preserve this humble, yet culturally-rich symbol of Siquijor’s past.
3. Mount Carmel Parish Church
Of course, a tour would not be complete without the obligatory visit to the Parish Church (especially for Catholics). The Parish Church is dedicated to Mount Carmel. See our sample Siquijor Visita Iglesia itinerary here. Across the church would be what I would call the best boulevard in the island.
4. Talingting Boulevard
It is a beautiful sight during the day, how much more during the night. It also helps that the boulevard is smack in the middle of town, which means you know are safe when you are strolling.
5. Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
Finally, a visit in Talingting would not be complete without seeing what’s underneath its seas. The Tulapos Marine Sanctuary is only a few minutes from the town center (ask the Mayor for directions, he is not just handsome, he is also cool enough to laugh when I said “Salamat, Nong”). The marine sanctuary charges a minimal fee of PHP25.00 per person and the caretaker happily informed us the day we visited that it was a good time to snorkel or dive because the day before they saw seven black-tipped sharks. Knowing me, I immediately told my companions that no, we won’t be diving because they are closed. Haha, I’m such a chicken.
Other things to do/see in Talingting:
- Caving — I have not done this personally because, see above, I am chicken. Ask directions from employees at the municipal hall. People in Talingting are very friendly and buotan (my father’s maternal lineage comes from this town), so do not be afraid.
- Quirante’s Bakery — They operate under a different name but I could not recall it as of this writing. They bake, probably, the most delicious breads in the island. They are located near the church. Just ask around.
How to get there:
By motorcycle — Either through habal-habal or by motorcycle rental. Talingting is 20 minutes from the port of Larena and 39 minutes from the port of Siquijor.
By jeepney — There is a jeepney from Larena to Talingting (the jeepney also proceeds to Maria and Lazi). The jeepney usually parks near the Larena town market (best to ask around). The jeepney may take a long time though because it will wait for more passengers before leaving.
Where to Stay: — TO BE UPDATED