Readers of other pages of mine know that I am an absolute sucker for markets, especially in Asia. Tehre is something aobut the vibrancy and energy of them that really appeals to me. They are also great places to people watch as they tend not to be so much frequented by travellers and they will always afford a photo opportunity or two. Throw in the variety of produce, some of which I have never seen before, and you have a recipe for something I just cannot pass up.
Unfortunately, Asian markets tend to be early morning if not indeed late night affairs, and I had arrived at the market in Maria rather too late for it to be doing anything but the most minimal business. Most of the fresh produce stalls, bar a couple of wet fish outlets, were shut and there were only a few of the more permanent establishments open but it was still worth a walk round. I certainly
Settlements on Siquijor tend to follow a fairly strict design, if design is the correct word. They are linear, following the line of the Siquijor Circumferential Road from the sea to the foothills of the interior mountains. They will generally have a market, perhaps some form of park or recreational area and the largest building will always be the church, often with a belfry attached. Such is the case in Maria, the Church being Our Lady of Divine Providence.
I can find little information online about the building, other than it was built in 1880 to replace a building that was contemporaneously described as "dilapidated and made of tabique with a nipa roof; the convento was even worse made of thatch and wood". Things have changed somewhat although I noticed that the outside of churches in this region is often comletely out of keeping with the interior. The exteriors are often apparently poorly maintained whilst the interiors are well-kept and pristine. I'll let the images speak for themselves.
In relation to the belfry what I can tell you, based on research of the region, is that apart from the obvious religious function they were used to warn residents of the approach of pirates or slavers who used to infest the waters hereabouts.
Worth a stop if you are going round the island.