This little town nestled in the province of Siquijor has more to offer than its pretty name. With three distinctly beautiful beaches and one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, Maria can be added to the long list of underrated travel destinations in the country.
Remarkably, this little town of no more than 14,000 residents, has both natural and historical treasures. Located in the Maria town proper is the Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence. The church was built during the Spanish Era. Aside from its simple exterior and interior, beside it stands a belfry. The hexagonal belfry is now known to be one of the Philippines’ national treasures.
Inside the church, is the image of Santa Rita de Cascia, the patron saint of abused wives, widows, and heartbroken women. In the image, she is holding a crucifix on one hand and a skull on the other, she is wearing black robes that’s why the locals often refer to her as Black Maria. And in turn, they also refer to the church as the Santa Maria Church.
The church is not only known for its identifiable Spanish architecture and historical value, but it’s also known for its fair share of paranormal activity. Legend has it, that at night, Black Maria would roam the town and would go back to the church before sunrise. Continually fuelling this urban myth, locals believe that at times, mud or grass would be seen at the hem of her robes, only adding to this belief that maybe she did walk around the barangays. But hey, Siquijor really is known for supernatural activities.
The municipality is home to three known beaches: Salagdoong Beach, Kagusuan Beach, and the Minalulan Beach. All three beaches are embraced by lush greenery. The stretches of sand on the beach are pristinely white and the water is absolutely stunning and brilliantly blue.
Taking a dip in these coral reef-dotted waters would make you feel in touch with the ocean. The place is perfect for a little low key R&R with a handful of friends.
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