Siquijor, Philippines

Places

History

The island was first sighted by the Spaniards in 1565 during Miguel López de Legaspi’s expedition. The Spaniards called the island Isla del Fuego or “Island of Fire,” because the island gave off an eerie glow, which came from the great swarms of fireflies that harbored in the numerous molave trees on the island.[citation needed] A folk legend also has it that many years ago, when the magical island of Siquijor was still nowhere on the face of the earth, a great storm engulfed the Visayan region, and a strong earthquake shook the earth and sea. Amidst the lightning and thunder arose an island from the depths of the ocean’s womb which came to be known as the island of Siquijor, hence the name Isla del Fuego, or “Island of Fire.” Oddly enough, in modern times, highland farmers have unraveled giant shell casings under their farm plots, supporting the theory that Siquijor is indeed an island that rose from the sea.

Esteban Rodriguez of the Legazpi Expedition in 1565 led the first Spaniards to “discover” the island. He was captain of a small party that left Legazpi’s camp in Bohol to explore the nearby islands which are now called Pamilican, Siquijor, and Negros.

The Spaniards were drawn by the vision of the firefly illumination and as one version of the legend recounts, they met the island’s ruler – the legendary King Kihod while they were docking their ship at one of Siquijor’s bays. When asked his name, the king replied “si Kihod” (I am Kihod). The Spaniards, thinking he meant it as the name of the island, adopted the name Sikihod which was later changed to Siquijor because the Spaniards found it too difficult to pronounce. Source


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