Much of my travel plans for the summer had been derailed by a new job. The transition period, leaving the old and preparing for the new, is always demanding and chaotic. But sometimes out of chaos comes unexpected opportunity. Mine came in the form of another chance to visit Samal island (IGACOS - Island Garden City of Samal) with my family.
Knowing I would not have leave credits for a few months after I join my new company, I finished my pre-employment requirements ahead of time, and booked a flight home - my second "summer vacation" in the span of a month(I went home just a couple of weeks before for the Holy Week). With a week to spare, a plan to visit Samal island in Davao was quickly formed.
My kids love traveling so the 3 hour bus ride to Davao city felt like routine for them. As soon as we dropped our bags at the hotel, we grabbed a cab and headed to the ferry station for Samal island. Our first destination: Monfort Bat Sanctuary in Babak district - a 15-minute ferry ride.
We were stuck in traffic for more than an hour and the dark clouds threaten to dump several inches of rain. The sun's already low when we boarded the ferry and we arrived at the bat sanctuary an hour before sunset.
The traffic delay and the rain clouds proved to be fortuitous: we were just in time to catch the sunset after touring the bat cave, and the rain clouds gave the sky that crimson color at sundown. My kids must know that I have a thing for shooting sunsets - they prodded me to setup my gear for the "colors are coming out". Nothing can be better than shooting the sunset with your love ones handing you your filters :D
We started early the next day. Our destination was the small island called Talicud on the south east side of Samal island. Instead of riding a ferry (from Sta. Ana wharf) that will take you straight to Talicud, we opted for a road trip. We took a bus bound for the district of Kaputian (translates to "whiteness") in Samal. The district was named so because of its white sand beaches. The bus ride to Kaputian will offer one a great view of Samal's eastern coastal area. From Kaputian, its a short banca (outrigger boat) ride to Talicud island.
There is a small fishing community and small resorts in the island. We opted for a resort called Isla Reta, a rustic place with basic amenities.
The place has not been fully developed that most of the beach area remains largely untouched. The water is crystal clear and sea life is abundant just a few meters from shore.
My kids wasted no time and hit the beach as soon as our bangka reached Isla Reta. Unlike the beaches in Samal island (i.e. Paradise Resort), Isla Reta is relatively uncrowded. The beach stretches for more than 300 meters, plenty of space to find your own nook.
Another thing that makes Talicud island a great place to visit is the convenient schedule of ferries for day trips. You can leave Davao city early in the morning and arrive in Talicud before 10am; the last ferry returning to Davao is at 4pm. One practically has a full day in Talicud. You can be back in Davao city in time for dinner at your favorite restaurant.
I could tell we all had a good time in Talicud: my kids would not leave the water unless they see the 4pm ferry getting ready to leave. Now that's really maximizing the time :D.