Home, Summer and the Unicorn

 

Siquijor was home to me. But through the years, I have redefined the meaning of home. I have increasingly agreed with the cliche saying, “Home is where the heart is.” I add to that, “Home is where my happiness is,” and my happiness is not always in Siquijor, or is not always associated with a specific geographic location. But summer is always Siquijor to me. This is because I am always happy in Siquijor during summer (and, yes, for some reason, I don’t feel very happy in Siquijor in other times of the year). So to Siquijor I go during summers.

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I also want to spend as much time with my family, especially my nieces and nephews during the summer. You see, most of my nieces and nephews are fatherless (2 cousins of mine have already died) and I want them to feel loved all the time and I want them to feel my presence all the time to at least fill in the absence of their fathers. I get very emotional when I talk about my nieces and nephews because they are still very young to have lost their fathers. Anyway, enough of the melodrama.

Summer in Siquijor to me is never complete without a trip to my favorite summer hang-out — Salagdo-ong Beach. Salagdo-ong Beach is a public beach maintained and operated by the provincial government. To get there, you will pass by a man-made forest, which I think is magical during rainy season. According to my grandmother, Salagdo-ong was named as such because it is a place where a kind of bird/heron come to nest (salag). I have not seen that heron anymore, but my summer would never be complete without swimming to what I think is the most beautiful beach in the whole wide world.

We love Salagdo-ong not just for its waters but because it is cheap (being a government-run beach), there are cottages already, we can bring our own food and drinks or use the barbecue grill, there are electric outlets, and we can do a lot of water activities. There is also a hotel — Hotel Agripino — and separate cottages that are rented out for overnight stay.
For entrance and parking, we paid P310 for 11 adults, 5 kids, and 1 van. We also paid P200 for the cottage. We rented the unicorn for P150 for one hour but I was made to pay P1,500 because there was a small gash in the unicorn. We took home the unicorn anyway. Snorkeling googles are rented out for P50, while flippers are P50. There are also kayaks available for rent.
* * *
Salagdo-ong can be very crowded during summer, especially during the days following the town fiestas of Lazi and Maria. Lazi holds its town fiesta on the 14th and 15th of May, while Maria holds its town fiesta on the 24th and 25th of May.
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