400 Year Old Tree in Siquijor

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400 Year Old Tree in Siquijor

Averi Carlson, Contributor

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On a secluded island in the Philippines, a four-century-old tree grows over the top of a small spring. This island is Siquijor, known for music, spirits, and sorcery. The residents of Siquijor say that this old balete tree is enchanted. Almost 20 meters tall from the roots to the top, this large tree is the most famous balete tree in the world. In order for the tree to survive, it wraps its roots around healthy trees until the host dies. This makes it the most dominant tree in the area. The tree grew over a small spring which now leads to a man-made pool. This small pool is now number one on many travel itineraries for the area.

There are no airports on the island, so tourists must take a boat from Dumaguete, a small city in the Philippines. The cost to take the boat is a mere 200 Philippine pesos which in US dollars is 3.80 dollars. From the island there are tricycles, which is similar to a taxi, that will drive anyone to this tree for minimal pay. On the ride up tourists can see waterfalls and beaches unlike anything they have ever seen before. An unknown source said, “Once you go to Siquijor, you will not wish to go to other places. It’s a peaceful and relaxing island, the people are friendly and the sights were amazing.” 

To see the tree itself is free, however there is a donation box to keep the place renovated. There is more to do than snap a picture at the base of a tree, though. Inside the pool, there is a type of fish called Garra Rufa. These fish are located in rivers or streams and are called “doctor fish” because they eat the dead skin off of people. Anne Lorain posted, “My first fish spa experience and I really enjoyed it, considering the peaceful atmosphere of nature! I do think that the balete tree is really enchanted!” The cost to try for the “fish spa” is 10 pesos, which is about 50 U.S cents, a small price to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The water is clear and calm, so the fish are easily visible. They range in length from an inch to almost five inches. The amount of fish varies from day to day because they can swim out of the pool via a stream under the tree. On a typical day there are about one hundred fish in the pool, but some days can have as low as ten to as high as two hundred. 

The enchanted tree and fish spa is not the only sights to see in Siquijor. There are waterfalls, beaches, and even cliff jumping. The most famous waterfall in Siquijor is Cambugahay Falls. The cost to enter is free, but to get in the water is 10 pesos. Three small waterfalls lead to one that is fifteen feet tall.  Malou posted, “I visited all three of the falls! And it was really fun. The water is turquoise and so lovely. I enjoy swimming in the cool waters, so refreshing!” There are also many beaches on Siquijor, all with soft white sand and warm water. Many of the beaches are free and have amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Siquijor is an enchanting place with beaches, waterfalls, and tourist sights. Though it may be known for evil spirits and witches, Siquijor has sights that everyone should have a chance to see.