Overview

Siquijor Province is one of the smallest provinces in the Philippines. Siquijor is abouth 30 km southeast of Negros, south of Cebu, and southwest of Bohol. It is separated by the Mindanao Sea from the northern coast of Mindanao. Until 1971, it was a sub-province of Negros Oriental.

The Land

Siquijor is the smallest of the four provinces in Central Visayas. Its towns are on the narrow flood plains and deltas around the coast. Most of the interior portion of the island is either hilly or mountainous, rising to a central peak is Mt. Bandilaan, at 557 m.

The province’s climate is generally dry from November to April, and wet the rest of the year. Because of its protected location, siquijor is sheltered from the full force of typhoons.

The towns in the province are Siquijor, Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi and San Juan. Siquijor is the capital, and Larena and Lazi have ports with connections to other islands.

The roads are cemented and run around the island.

A Breif history

Legend has it that Siquijor rose from the sea amid thunder and lightning. To support this, fossils of clams and other sea creatures can be found in the interior highlands.

The islands’s native name was Katugasan derived from “tugas”, molave trees that covered the hills. It was earlier known to the Spaniards as “Isla del Fuego” (Island of Fire) because of the swarm of fireflies that proliferate the area.

Its present name is claimed to have been after King Kihod, its legendary ruler. Another version says it came from “quipjod”, a native term meaning “the tide was ebbing”. In time, the name “Siquijod” evolved until the “d” was changed to “r” for Spanish euphony.

From 1683 to the end of the Spanish occupation, Siquijor was under the ecclesiastical authorities in Cebu. For some time, it was administered politically by Bohol. In 1901, it became a sub-province of Negros Oriental and remained as such until September 17, 1971 when it became a separate province.

Larena, the ecclesiastical and trading center, was the capital of the island until 1972. A proclamation was later made and the capital was transferred to the town of Siquijor.

The People

The original inhabitants came as farmers and fishermen from Cebu, Bohol, and the adjacent islands. The Siquijodnons, as the present residents are known, speak Cebuano.

Population growth in the island has been low because of high out-migration and minimal in-migration. Its population density of 215 persons per. sq km is 30 percent lower than the regional figure of 307. The capital town accounts for one-fourth of the population of the province.

Commerce and Industry

Despite the rugged terrain, agriculture is still the predominant activity in the province. Some 13 600 hectares are under agriculture cultivation and about 18 000 hectares are forest lands. The rest have been developed for mining, quarrying, and inland fishery.

The province has three seaports strategically located at Larena, Lazi and Siquijor.