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March 11, 2016

samal: snorkeling at the giant clam sanctuary


Giant Clam
A few hundred meters from shore in Brgy Acedor in Samal island (officially known as the Island Garden City of Samal) is a one of a kind marine sanctuary. A 14-ha area around a shallow reef near the famous Pearl Farm resort was seeded with giant clams (genus Tridacna) some years back and now its home to a few thousand mature giant clams (at least 3000 according to the caretakers).


Samal island is a favorite destination because of its proximity to Davao City (less than 30 minutes to some parts of the island). I've been there quite a number of times before (see related posts on Samal island) but the giant clam sanctuary had been on my to-visit list for some time.

It was a perfect day when my family and I went there. Weather was sunny and it was low-tide at around noon. Low tide is the best time to go snorkeling there, it won't take you so much effort to get closer to giant clams (called 'taklobo' in the local dialect).


The clams looked like huge colorful flowers underwater. Some of the clams are reportedly more than 10 years old, and the species on the park can grow to up to a meter in length. They have these really large ones in the deeper part of the marine reserve.

Aside from the giant clams, the marine park is teeming underwater life.

The park is under the guardianship of Davao del Norte State College, which in turn initiated an eco-tourism program called "Taclobo Tours" in partnership with the local community (AdeCor United Fisherfolks Organization - ACUFOR).


Taclobo Tours current rates (as of 2016/03/01):
  • Boat rental (from Brgy Acedor port to the sanctuary) - Php 500 (1-12 pax). Option is to just rent a small outrigger boat
  • Entrance fee: Php 100.00 (inclusive of environmental fee)
  • Equipment rentals: Php 100 for mask and snorkel, Php 100 for rash guard



Travel Guide

Map location: Google Map. There are several options going to the giant clam sanctuary:
  • Davao Express Water Taxi. Get there in style and fast (35 knots top speed!). Most expensive option. Contact +63-82-295-7488
Sea Taxi
  • via Sta. Wharf. If you want to do side trips, you can head to Talicud Island first (Isla Reta Beach Resort), then from there rent an outrigger boat to take you to Kaputian (nice public beach just 15 minutes away from Talicud) and then to the giant clam sanctuary (another 20 minutes from Kaputian). Ferries regularly depart Sta. Ana wharf for Talicud island and Kaputian (45 minutes travel time, fare is Php 50.00). Note that there are more ferries for Talicud than for Kaputian. 
Kaputian
  • via Sasa Wharf, 11 km.  Cross to Babak via passenger ferry (20 minutes, Php 10.00) and hire a motorcycle to take you to Adecor (Php 300.00 one way, depending on your haggling skills). You can also hire a taxi from Davao City to take you all the way to Adecor or Kaputian (Php 1500 + ferry fare for the car). 
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Lantaw
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