Discover Davao : Samal Island

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

I hate starting my blog posts with apologies, to be honest. I know I haven't been religiously posting as promised and I sure wish I had a good enough reason for it--but not really. I have been procrastinating and spending my energy on other things like eating way too much, lol. I've also been exploring new forms of sharing my adventures online. I'll make sure I'll update you guys if I choose to shift platforms! For now, I'm pretty sure I'm keeping this blog but I may have to lessen the posts since the other platform I'm testing right now also requires a lot of work. Still testing the waters but Ill keep you guys posted. For now, on to the blog post!

Our primary goal in visiting Davao was Samal Island since we were only there for about 4 days. Davao City was huge and we knew we wouldn't be able to fit everything in 4 days so we opted to spend most of our time at Samal Island instead. The boyfriend and I both agreed that not being able to explore the city is another reason for us to come back soon! So after staying for a day in Davao City, we decided we'll stay the night and make our way to Samal first thing in the morning. 

How To Get There
There are several ways to get to Samal Island. You can choose from the following options : 

  1. Go to Sta. Ana Wharf located near Magsaysay Park. From there you can ride a ferry going to the wharf near Kaputian Beach (ideal for those planning to go to Kaputian Beach and to the nearby Talicud Island and Isla Reta)
  2. Go to Sta. Ana Wharf and ride the ferry going to Isla Reta but it's a separate island from Samal
  3. Go to Sasa Wharf and ride a RoRo which would dock at Babak Wharf in Samal (which is a long way from Kaputian Beach but near the Monfort Bat Cave and many resorts)
  4. Go to Sasa Wharf, ride the Island City Express bus which would travel via the RoRo and dock at Babak Wharf, but it will go straight to Kaputian Beach.
We opted for Sasa Wharf since there's a guarantee that a ferry will be there. Our cab driver told us that getting by Ferries via Sta. Ana Whar during weekdays can be a bit scarce and since we didn't have an itinerary--we wanted a sure mode of transportation so we wouldn't be wasting any time. The Ferry from Sasa Wharf docks at Babak Wharf and cost us P10/each. 

From Babak Wharf, we hired a Habal-habal to take us around as we look for a place to stay. The Haban-habal cost us P50/each. We were a bit picky with the resorts which is why I was sure we made the most out of the P50 we spent. A few resorts after, we decided to get settled at Punta Del Sol Beach Resort. 

Where to Stay
After about 30 minutes of going around the island looking for the perfect place to stay, the boyfriend and I fell in love with Punta Del Sol Beach Resort because they had a huge beach front and several Nipa huts you can stay at while lounging or waiting for the sun to set. We got an air-conditioned deluxe bedroom; it was originally priced atr P1500, but we haggled since it was off-peak season when we visited and we were the only guests at that time! Well, the other couple we saw was about to check-out while we were checking in, lol. 

Our room was pretty small but it was clean and it was easily accessible to everything--meaning the beach, the restaurant and the the reception area. The resort was huge and they had several huts, dormitory-type buildings and exclusive villas around the vicinity. There was so much space to play around and take photos and videos of ourselves since we had the resort to ourselves--what fun!

What To Do
The downside of being the only guests at the resort was that, even if they offered several day tour packages we can avail of, it didn't really pan out because there were no other groups to take the tour with--hence, they were cancelled. We had to do our own DIY tour, with the help of the receptionist, thankfully. He told us about the different tourist destinations we can visit, and advised that we hire a habal-habal to take us around the island. So--all good! Here's a list of the things we did during our stay. I'll be updating items with links once I'm done with the corresponding blog posts.

1. Island Hopping
Since there weren't any tours available during the time of our visit, the receptionist offered his friend's boat. His friend does Island hopping tours on the side but he originally works for Davao Pearl Farm, lol. We paid for P1500 for half a day, and visited several islands. The highlight of our Island Hopping adventure was the Giant Clam Sanctuary--more about this on my next post!

2. Maxima Aqua Fun Resort
My sister, having visited Samal Island in the past, told me not to miss Maxima Resort because of all the fun and amazing water activities they have. When we got there, most of the attractions were under renovation, huhu. We were starting to feel bad for going there during the off-peak season, but we did get to try the giant slide and the blob!

3. Monfort Bat Sanctuary
I have a whole history lesson in tow about our trip to the Monfort Bat Sanctuary! The place may have reeked of piss but the boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit because there was just so much to learn that it felt like a field trip to us. Luckily, I was able to snap a few photos of the massive amounts of bats in the sanctuary. Photos coming soon!

4. Hagimit Falls
This was our next stop after visiting the Bat Sanctuary, and to be honest, we did feel like we needed to take a bath anyway since we can still smell the bat piss and poop on our clothes, lol. The smell doesn't go away easy! There are several small falls and you can jump from one to another. It's a resort so it's well-maintained and there are nipa huts you can rent for your things or if you'd prefer to have your meal in there.

I had to categorize this post on a per destination basis because my approach would be to let the photos speak for themselves. Samal was a wonderful adventure, and while I know this was post was pretty heavy on text, I'll make sure I fill you up with a ton of photos on my upcoming posts! And PS, I promise to finish this series before December, haha! Have a great week, lovelies! <3 p="">

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