Angelo Ramirez de Cartagena
Matud Nila (literally, they say) is a popular Visayan folk song that roughly translates to they think they know. During our last night in Siquijor, a downsized rondalla band sang this declaration of feistiness masked by a sweet rhythmic melody as we wolfed down our food and stared at our wifi thirsty phones. It will strike you how the mystical reputation that cloaks over the island is nothing but a lore of time gone by as there are no signs of "bitches and witches," as our tour guide described days prior. (Of course he meant beaches, which the island has plenty of but the dialect's short E makes for a better story.) Modern day Siquijor isn't even an on-the-cusp township—signal is obscenely intermittent, there are no contemporary façades and old Coca-Cola bottles are still being fashioned into containers for motorcycle oil. But the people more than make up for its lack of advancements, which isn't a misgiving either. They will greet you while walking along the road and invite you to go to their disco, write down the freshly drawn out wifi code and watch out for people as you take your timed self portraits.
Transcending the myths and mystique, Siquijor is also an island of healing and hospitality, proving that people will never really know what something truly is until they dare to draw the blinds and reveal what is beneath whatever reputation that precedes it. "Matud nila wala ko'y angay nga magmanggad sa imong gugma," the song trails off. There is still so much to see, but you are definitely worth every heart you charm hereafter, Siquijor.