Embrace the value of quality family time or romantic outdoor adventure in your next destination – Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS).
The home of the pristine beaches in Mindanao, Island Garden City of Samal- as what its name suggests, houses the awe-inspiring sceneries and bountiful natural attractions you surely need in your next getaway. It is a ferry away from Davao which you can readily access for a quick escape from the bustles of the city. Samal Island has been a tourist spot for decades because of its white sand beachline and well preserved laid back culture. Today, various beach resorts and restaurants in Samal have continuously offered variety and unique services as well as adventure sports to make your next escapade more fun. There is a wide array of choices to visit in Samal, from the luxurious resorts like the famous Pearl Farm, Balibali beach resort and Chemas to the affordable beaches which you can enjoy even in a tight budget.
WHY NOT GO?
Unlike Boracay, Panglao or Puerto Galera, Samal Island does not have big time beach parties. In contrary, it offers the romantic and dreamy moment you need to have a restful night. You can enjoy the beauty of the sky with the splashing of waves and cricket sounds played on the background.
Visiting Samal Island should never be omitted in your itinerary or else you’ll lose half the fun. This growing city has a lot to offer – resorts and restaurants, adventure sports, cheap crafts and produce, well-preserved culture, breathtaking sights that are a must-witness. You’ll never expect that a short trip here can give you the peace and serenity you seek. You can also make other beach resorts exclusive such as Leticia by the Sea thus offering you the perfect place for honeymoons, corporate parties, or just a time with yourself.
BEST TIME TO VISIT?
Summer time is the best time to have a trip in Samal Island. Of course, have your bikinis ready and hit the water. This is the perfect place to get that perfect sun-kissed tan you’ve been craving. Plan your trip on the last week of April and witness Caracoles de Samal, Samal Island’s festival celebrating the city’s rich marine resources and its social and cultural heritage. Be amazed on the creativity of the locals in showing the abundance of the city through parade and shows. Fall in love with the beauty of Samalnons as you witness them in beauty pageants during this festivity.
WHERE TO STAY?
The different resorts in Samal offer the comfort you need to have a lovely night. Prices vary depending on the luxury you want. Huts and rooms near the shore are offered almost all of the resorts. You can even rent an open cottage if you intend to spend the night on chitchats and partying with friends. You can always choose to pitch a tent if you want a more adventurous evening. If those did not entice you, spend your night with your mat at the shore and just fall to sleep as the fresh air and splashes of waves lullaby you.
Visit http://samalbeaches.com/ for the list of resorts you can choose from.
WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT?
The latest attraction of Samal Island now is THE VENUE, hosted by Holiday Oceanview Samal. It is situated just beside the ferry wharf in Kinawitnon Samal. They offer a sumptuous buffet meal while you are enjoying a ferry ride and this is availed in just a cheap amount of 500php. You can surely marvel on the city lights of Davao while enjoying the romantic and entertaining interior of the cruise. Totally a perfect dinner date for your partner, family or friends.
If you want to resort to a more homey meal, you will not have a problem in buying what you need as ingredients. Samal Island has a wet market located in Babak, Kaputian and Penaplata which always have fresh seafoods and other produce that are ready to grill. Most resorts in Samal have grilling stations for this purpose.
Samal Island does not offer big time beach parties. However, shores have always been a good venue to have a bonfire and good chitchats with friends. Videoke bars also stud the place and songs are priced in pennies.
MY TO DO LIST?
Photo by Minorojo
If you want a comfortable vacation that suits your high-end taste then this beach resort is for you. Pearl Farm is an international tourist attraction known for its good amenities and facilities. Tempting crystal clear beach and swimming pool can give you that revitalizing first plunge you crave for. They have the complete package you need for a good vacation, from their well-served meals, relaxing rooms to its amiable personnel.
Isla Reta Beach Resort
Photo by: Constantine Agustin
Feel like spending an overnight stay at a beach? Then, the Isla Reta beach resort in Talicud Island could be a very compelling choice. The island could be enjoyed in daylight with its white sand beach and very clear water that is ideal for snorkeling because of the existing rich underwater ecosystem. It is but easy to find different kinds of fishes even if you do not swim far. However, in order to experience the best of the resort, you need to book for an overnight stay. The place is ideal to spend with friends, loved ones and co-workers. You can rent a room in its big cottage or opt to stay in one of the open huts or bring your own tent. Whichever kind of accommodation you choose, it does not matter because the place is completely secure. Isla Reta is ideal for company retreats, family outing or get together with friends.
Photo by Icon Jen Chua
Are you in search for an outdoor adventure? Then Maxima Aqua Fun is the place to go. Offering the water sports you love – scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, you will surely need a lot of adrenaline to catch up the numerous things to do. They also have a canopy walk that can test your fear of height as you pace into its narrow and swinging canopy. Maxima Aqua Fun is also known for its giant slide which directly dunks you to the deep water, so better have your swimming skills handy or just wear a life jacket.
THE VENUE – CAMP HOLIDAY BEACH RESORT
Enjoy a delicious buffet meal inside a cruise. This is the latest attraction in Samal Island and it is a must try.
Photo by: Paul Lewin
If you do not feel like hitting the beach in one of the days in your itinerary, then Hagimit Falls is the place to go. It is just a small waterfalls with natural swimming pools formation. This is also a great place for camping since campsites are already available in the area. A quick freshwater dip will surely add variety in your list.
This is one of the beaches Samal Island boasts. Aside from the powder like white sand it offers and the adventure sports you can enjoy, it is also the largest waterpark in Southern Philippines. It has now 3 slides and a children waterplay area. Be well-pampered by their international line of cuisines and world class accommodation in an affordable price.
MONFORT BAT CAVE
Photo by:Josh Aggars
If you prefer a twist in your travel plans then this tourist attraction is the best place to visit. The Monfort Bat Cave is recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records for acquiring the biggest colony of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bat in the world. A rough estimate of almost 1.8 million bats hanging on this dark cave would surely scare you to death especially once this creepy area starts panicking. This is surely an unforgettable experience that should be encountered.
Island Garden City of Samal is easy to reach from Davao City:
Roll-on roll-off (Roro) ferries are available in Sasa Wharf in Davao City (11 km from city proper) daily from 4:00am to 10:00pm. This also caters ride only passengers by paying just 10php when you hop into the ferry. Moreover, if you do not have private cars or motorcycles with you, it is a better idea to take the bus instead since this heads to Samal’s developed cities like Babak and Penaplata where most of the tourist attractions dot. The ferry crosses the Samal Strait in an approximately 20 mins. travel time.
There are 2 wharfs that offers boat ride to Samal Island. First is the Sta. Ana wharf which is situated beside the Magsaysay Park in Davao City. The ride fare is just 50php and travel time is approximately 45 minutes. The boat docks in Kaputian, IGACOS. The other port is in Sasa Wharf (11 km from city proper). This port is near the Roro ferry wharf. The ride fare is 14php and the travel time is approximately 15 minutes. The boat docks in Babak Samal Island.
Island City Express is the only bus company operating transports from Davao to Samal for public commuters. Bus fare is inclusive of the ferry fee. It operates at synch with the schedule of the ferry.
ROUTE: Agdao to Km 11 Wharf (Davao City), Ferry Service to Kinawitnon Wharf, to Kaputian via Babak and Penaplata (Samal Island) & vice versa.