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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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September 21, 2009

samal island: a quick detour from davao

Whenever you are in Davao City and you have a day or two to spare, hop on a ferry and head to Samal island. Whether its a day trip or an overnight one, Samal island, officially known as Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) with very good reasons, has something to offer.

Samal is very near Davao City. There are lots of options for ferries going to the island. There are ROROs (Roll on, Roll off ferries) if you have your own vehicle. There are buses from Sta. Ana pier with routes to Babak and Penaplata, two of Samal's most progressive districts.

The fastest way is via the commuter ferries in Km 11 in Sasa wharf (fare is 13 pesos or .25 USD). Its a bit hard to find the ferry station if you are a first timer (its hidden behind a wet market) but taxi drivers will take you directly near the station (taxi drivers in Davao are honest, thanks to the much loved and feared city mayor)

Babak Pier
Babak pier on a sunny day

The ferries leave every 15 minutes and the ride only takes 10 minutes. You'll be in Babak pier before you can even doze off.

Samal Ferry Boat Passengers
Samal commuter ferry

As soon as you arrive in Babak pier, habal-habal (motorcycles on steriods) and multi-cab drivers will descend on you before you can even get your bearings. If you are traveling with a group or if you are the type who brings around a lot of luggage, then the multi-cab is for you.

If you are the type to likes to ride fast and hard then better get one of those habal-habals. The inner roads of Samal are terrible but the habal-habal's souped up shocks will make the ride enjoyable. The drivers liked to really rip the roads, so hold on to something, or just close your eyes.

Samal's habal-habal

A day's tour of the island's beaches and other sights will set you back about 600-1000 pesos, depending on where you want to go and your haggling skills. Its best if you have somebody with you who can speak the local dialect. For example I only paid 200 pesos for a trip to Canibad cove, while others paid 1000 pesos (as mentioned in their blogs).

Licup Viewpoint Flowers
viewpoint in Brgy Licup

There are many options once you are in Samal. There are caves to explore: the Monfort Bat Sanctuary is just near Babak pier, and several waterfalls (Hagimit Falls is one of the more popular, drop by Brgy Licup's viewpoint on the way to Hagimit).

Licup Midday Viewpoint
great sunny day for an island tour

There are zip lines if you are the daring type. White sand beaches abound, head to Kaputian (which literally means "whiteness" in local dialect) for great but affordable beaches. You can choose from nipa hut accommodations to posh resorts depending on your budget (see http://samalbeaches.com/).

Will feature photos on Monfort Bat Caves and Hagimit Falls soon.
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lagal[og] said...

Uy, am sure you have treasures waiting in your samal album. Nga pala bai, careful with your photos here. Baka pati yang mga yan, i-grab straight from the net.

Lantaw said...

meron pa naman bai.

oo nga pala, hinde na safe ngayon photos natin ano? specially if there are people like those behind the north bound magazine

Marites said...

nice pics of Samal :) love your header pic. saan yan?

Unknown said...

Love the viewpoint, so scenic esp with flowers as your foreground.

Unknown said...

ooppss, there are scripts available i guess so these photos won't be stolen. am not sure if it's really reliable 'coz you know if they really want to steal it from you, they'll do everything they could.

Johnny said...

mingaw najud ko sa davao ba,ilabi na sa canibad! nice pictures 'bay! :)Always nako ginadu-aw imong blogsite! :)

Lantaw said...

@Marites - the header pic is sunrise in Tambobong beach in Dasol, Pangasinan

@Pacey - you are right, they will do anything is they are bent on using your photos without permission, even if you put watermarks.

@Johnny - daghang salamat. balik balik lang :)

Regina said...

Such a beautiful place! thanks for sharing.

Photo Cache said...

It always pays to have a local with you when you haggle for the price. That's a ton of savings for the same trip. Great job. And another wonderful posting.

I have my entry over at www.ewok1993.wordpress.com

Sylvia K said...

What a gorgeous place and view! Marvelous shots as always! The fourth shot is breathtaking! Thanks for sharing the beauty!

Have a great week!


magiceye said...

thank you for the lovely trip to Samal island

eileeninmd said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. It looks like a wonderful place to tour.

escape said...

sobrang ganda bai. lagi naman. isa ang samal island sa mga gusto kong puntahan sa davao.

Lantaw said...

@Regina - thanks for dropping by

@Photo Cache - yup it helps, especially if you can't speak the local dialect

@Sylvia - my pleasure to share

Lantaw said...

You are both welcome magiceye and eileeninmd

@dom, schedule mo na yan next summer bai

Anonymous said...

ang ganda ng lugar. island garden city of samal yata yan. sana makapunta rin ako jan master.

Karlo de Leon said...

Wow, I miss Samal! This place is such a haven. I look forward to going back here. Thanks for posting this. Brings back good memories.

Lantaw said...

@Karlo - thanks! Lots of new places to explore in Samal, I'm sure the trip back there is worth it :)

Lantaw said...

backdoorman, now that you mentioned it, im not really sure if its Km 11 or 3, but I remembered the taxi driver saying its 3, I or he could be mistaken though. Anyway just tell the driver to take you to the Sasa-Babak ferry terminal, its at the end of a public market. There are RORO ferries in Sasa too for those bringing a car

Lantaw said...

backdoorman, i just verified it with a friend in Davao, the commuter ferry terminal is in Km 11. Sorry for the confusion. Have fun in Samal :)

Roe said...

Hi! Sir, I will be going to samal island on Feb. Ask ko lang sir, if may contact person kayo dun na makausap namin for the tour? Thanks sir!

Lantaw said...

@roe, what kind of tour do you have in mind?

Lantaw said...

@roe, i dont go via organized tour so I don't have the contact information of tour organizers. Now depending on where you wanted to go, you can simple hire a "habal-habal" for the day. The drivers pretty much know Samal island like the back of their hands and they can find the shortest route. They will even help you out in "sequencing" the places you want to visit.

Anonymous said...

safe ba dyan sa samal? I am considering buying property there but I am not sure if it is safe place to stay.

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