Samal Island: The Hidden Jewel of the Philippines

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 Early Morning Visit to the Wishing Islan from Jeff Pioquinto, SJ

Early Morning Visit to the Wishing Islan from Jeff Pioquinto, SJ

Located at the coast of Davao Gulf, you will find that Samal Island, one of Davao’s hidden treasures, is just like any other tourist destination found in the Maldives, Caribbean or any other famous vacation spot. The area has about seventy resorts to choose from that cater to accommodation services of different sorts ranging from the simplest to the most luxurious. All of these accommodation choices gives easy access to white sandy beaches and pristine waters that make Samal Island a “to-die-for” vacation destination without having to pay in excess for some quality, adventure or leisure time.

Pearl Farm Beach Resort

The most prominent beach resort among all of its kind in Samal Island is the Pearl Farm Beach resort which is synonymous with Davao itself. The city of Davao was initially an actual pearl farm where the resort actually gained its name. It has been renowned to be a world-class accommodation choice that has top-notch architectural styles that are inspired by local culture and brought to life by Filipino architect Bobby Manosa. It has lavish guest rooms, cottages and stunning villas that are located above the Davao Gulf. It’s absolutely beautiful to stay at its accommodation areas because the moment you wake up in the morning, you will get picturesque views of the beautiful sunrise or witness the charming sunset followed by the gleam starry skies and a bright moon by the waters. You will absolutely be awestruck at how magnificent it is to visit here. There also lies the Mandaya Weaving Center where Mandaya women would produce weave products decorated with colorful and exquisite patterns.

The first accommodation choice within the Pearl Farm Beach Resort is the Samal Suite which is actually the Executive Suite of the resort. There are six within the establishment that are decorated and named after the different Mindanao tribes such as the Bagobo, T’boli, Yakan, Tausug, and Maguindanao.

The upper room of the Samal Suite consists of the master bedroom that has a king-sized bed and a bath tub. The other parts of the suite composes of the living room which is the lower register of the suite that can also be transformed into a bedroom making it easy for families to have extra space for up to three children. A sofa bed with a trundle bed may also be offered to the guests upon request. A second bath room is also available by the lower end of the suite.

The rooms within the Pearl Farm Beach Resort are also air-conditioned, has a well-stocked mini bar, coffee and tea amenities, hairdryer, safety deposit box and cable television set. The best part is, the suite has its very own private stairs that leads to the waters making it very easy for you to take a dip on the pristine waters of Samal Island anytime you want. Convenient, isn’t it?

The Samal House is one of the accommodation choices in the resort. It is built on slits emanating from te water. The designs of the Samal House are inspired by the actual designs of that of the Samal Tribe of Mindanao whose members are usually seafarers. All of the rooms in the Samal House are air-conditioned, has a separate rest room and bath room, tea and coffee amenities, cable televisions, hairdryer, and deposit boxes. All of these rooms are composed of balconies that are perfect to stay out and chill out while you gaze upon schools of tropical fishes roaming beneath you. The rooms are style d with shades of yellow, pink and blue like that of the Samal Tribe.

There are also seven villas in the Pearl Farm Beach Resort called the Malipano Villas. They are big houses situated at the Malipano Island, a secluded area across the resort that will give guests the privacy they yearn for. There are two types of these Malipano villas. Five of which are composed of three bedrooms while the remaining two villas have four.

All of these Malipano Villas are air-conditioned composing of a mini-bar, coffee and tea amenities, safety deposit boxed that’s put inside the master’s bedroom, cable television sets, a hug living room and hair dryers. All of these rooms have their own bathrooms and rest rooms and all the master bedrooms are composed of bathtubs. There is also an available butler service when you order for your food to eat within the premises or for other guest assistance that the resort will accompany you with. What’s more better? There is a stand-by speedboat that will allow the guests access to arrive at the restaurant and to the other parts of the resort.
The villas are built with a spacious veranda that’s perfect for some barbeque parties that the staff with organize especially for you with the services of cooks and waiters to serve you with your every whim.

The Mandayan Houses in the resort are situated near a game room that is packed with a chess table, board games, Mahjong sets, billiards and a mini gym. Its rooms are air-conditioned and contains a mini-bar, coffee and tea amenities, hairdryer, safety deposit boxes and cable television sets. These rooms are so roomy that it can even cater to an additional person. There also lies a spacious dressing area and a small pocket garden that makes the premises even more colorful and enchanting.


There are vacation packages that the resort offers for its guests that are tailored to fit every special occasion. For those wishing to spend their honeymoon at Samal Island and avail of the Dream Honeymoon Package 2014 for two at Pearl Farm Beach Resort worth $612. The inclusions of this package are two nights and three days rooms accommodation in Samal House, two days free continental breakfast, two days free lunch and one regular dinner along with another one exclusive romantic dinner with bottle of wine, a round trip boat transfer, one session of Swedish or Shiatsu body massage for two, welcome drinks upon arrival, a fruit basket, complimentary use of the tennis court, basketball court and swimming pool, and other resort selected recreational facilities.

Another package is named as Dream Holiday Package of 2014. For single occupancy, when you choose to stay at the Hilltop room, the rate is at $180, $194 for the Samal House and $240 for the Mandaya House. For those twin or triple sharing rooms, the Hilltop room is rated at $134 dollars per person per night, the Samal House at $144 per person per night, and the Mandaya house at $167 per person per night. For the Samal Suite that can cater up to about four people, the rate is priced at $209 per person per night with a maximum of four occupants and a minimum of two. The Malipano Villa that can cater up to about nine people is rated at $221 per person per night with a minimum occupant of six and a maximum of nine. Imagine staying at a villa yet charged with so little? Surely, you would want to miss visiting the beautiful island of Samal! The lifestyle of the rich and famous could possibly be cheap in this world if you’d come experience it here!

This Dream Vacation Package includes overnight room accommodation, welcome drinks, one free meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, roundtrip boat transfers, complimentary use of the tennis court, beach area, swimming pool, badminton and basketball court, mini gym and all the other resort selected recreational facilities. Airport transfers for this package cost at about $6 dollars per person per way. It is valid for residents and expatriates. Foreign guests that would benefit from this package should ushered by a local resident, the children that are aged below five are charged with $9 for the Marina Fee while those aged six to eleven will be given a discount of 50%! What an attractive deal it is! Talk about being affordable and yet you still can avail of discounts. Amazing!

Apart from the stylish, comfortable and impressive accommodation choices at the Pearl Farm Beach resort, they also have a Spa and Wellness center. Massage and bodyworks start at a rate of $23 for sixty minutes, $32 for an hour and a half and $40 for two hours relaxation.
There is the Men’s Stress Buster service that’s a combination of Swedish and Chinese massage that are deep tissue techniques to ease pains and strains. This oil massage is flexible to your particular needs and start at a rate of $29. The Aromatherapy Massage which is the ancient science of healing, relaxing and energizing by the use of essential plant oils are rated at $29 dollars while the traditional Filipino Massage called “hilot”, an indigenous bodywork that fuses the use of boiled banana leaves and your choice of virgin coconut oil, Ylang-ylang or lemongrass essential oil is priced at $32. The Ventosa which is cupping in Spas wherein glasses are placed on top of your skin and candle’s flame are creating a vacuum and strong suction to caress your body. Also complimented with “Hilot” massage, the Ventosa is thought to stimulate blood circulation and is the perfect remedy for stress-relief treatment. The Pearl Farm Royal Massage priced at $58 is a two-hour signature massage that uses a unique blend of essential oils as mood therapy. Along with many other Spa and Wellness programs to choose from, you sure are going to feel so relaxed and feeling all happy that you came to the magnificent Samal Island at the best of the best accommodation choice within the area. You are going to most definitely get the royal treatment you deserve if you will stay at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

For hotel bookings and reservations at Pear Farm Beach Resort, click here.

Now that you have been initiated to getting settled in the most beautiful resort in town, now let’s talk real deal. Here are some of the best activities that you can enjoy here at the wonderful Samal Island of Davao!

Mount Puting Bato

 Davao and Samal Island from vettie vette

Davao and Samal Island from vettie vette

Mount Putting Bato, rising up to more than a thousand feet, is Samal Island’s topmost peak. It has been attracting mountain climbers and have been host to various climbing expeditions in the Davao region. It is the best for a day trek and pre-climbing expedition. This majestic mountain is situated at Sitio Tayapoc, Barangay Guilon, Samal District. When you climb here, you will get a magnificent 360-degree view of Samal Island and the charming turquoise blue waters of the Davao Gulf, the rich green mountains of Davao Oriental on the east, the leafy Compostela Valley on the North and the urban city of Davao. It is the point where you will get to see the different parts of the world in just one spot. Also, from a distance, you will get a glimpse of Mt. Apo which is the tallest mountain found in the Philippines.

In going here, you will need to come aboard the Island City Express Bus that will take you to the ferries to Penalplata in Samal. Upon arrival at Penalplata, there will be single motorcycles for hire locally known as “habal-habal” that will then drive you to jump-off points to Puting Bato: The Guilon trail or the Tayapoc Trail. The former would be for about a two-hour hike through bushy woods and narrow trails while the latter is the shorter one, than would probably take you about half an hour of hiking through glassy incline to the peak and an open trail as well.

Bluejaz Beach Resort and Waterpark

Bluejaz Resort Samal Island from digypho

Bluejaz Resort Samal Island from digypho

Another great accommodation choice available to the tourists is the Bluejaz Beach Resort and Waterpark. It has been the most favorite among the children due to its exciting waterslides. It is the ideal place for relaxation, adventure and bonding time with you and your family.

The resort caters to water activities such as humungous water slides, parasailing, a pool, banana boat rides, windsurfing, snorkeling, and diving for you to enjoy. There are even dive instructors to assist you and watch out for your safety while you are having the time of your life. There is also a beautiful coral reef that is just about a hundred feet away from the shore where you will get to see live marine creatures swerving past you. It truly is paradise here.
If you feel like you’ve had your fill of the waters in Samal Island, come on down to the paintball area and zip line for those guests who love to go on adventure activities. If you just wish to chill out by night and succumb to the freshness of the island, you can just relax within the resort’s premises while being serenaded by local bands of witness a fire dance during the evening that will surely make you gaze in wonder.

The resort offers international and local cuisines to cater to the different races and nationalities that Samal Island welcomes any time of the year. You may even have the pleasure of grilling your very own food! Fun, isn’t it? With matching accommodation choices that will make you enjoy the island to the best ways such as the standard rooms that is suitable for those in a tight budget of the Fiji-inspired cottages for a more lavish and stylish accommodation choice, you sure ain’t going to forget your time here in Samal Island.

For hotel bookings and reservations at Bluejaz Beach Resort and Waterpark, click here.


Hagimit Falls

 Hagimit Falls - Samal Island, Davao from Jeff Pioquinto, SJ

Hagimit Falls – Samal Island, Davao from Jeff Pioquinto, SJ

Another tourist attraction in the vicinity is the Hagimit Falls. The falls are shallow multi-tiered waterfalls that falls down to a natural swimming hole. Its waters are cool and its canopy is surrounded with green trees known as Hagimit trees. It has made its mark as a must-visit tourist spot because of its aqua blue cool waters that are perfect for swimming. The atmosphere that you will get here is like you were reconnecting with Mother Nature since its surroundings are unspoiled by modern development and its remains underdeveloped. The water flows from a large cave located almost underwater and from a small dam-like structure that was constructed a few meters away to establish a reservoir that supplies clean drinking water to the nearby towns. Because the reservoir is for clean drinking water, it is not allowed to swim near it. However, there are areas specifically for camping just around the waterfalls for you to make the most out of that nature trip.

Monfort Bat Cave

 20081230_zsc_samal_3883 from webzer

20081230_zsc_samal_3883 from webzer

There also lies the Monfort Bat Cave located in Samal Island that has been recognized as one of the ground breaking Guinness World Record holder for being the only location that holds the largest colony of fruit bats anywhere in the world. There are about 1.8 million Geoffroy’s Rousette fruit bats that call this are their home. They live within one cave. The tourists are prohibited to enter the premises but they may peek over the bamboo railings into five of the openings where the large group of bats may be seen lurking within the caves.
This bat sanctuary is located at Barangay Tambo in Babay District of Samail Island. It has been owned by the Monfort family for generations and has gained hold of its ownership over the years by preserving the bat’s haven. Admission in the caves is priced at a very cheap rate of almost $1.

Talikod Island

 Talicud Island Davao from play_with_fire_03

Talicud Island Davao from play_with_fire_03

Located at the southeastern point of Samal Island just about forty-five minutes away from mainland Davao is Talicud Island. It has white sandy beaches, breathtaking diving sites, gorgeous palm-lined shores, tranquil beaches, immense coral gardens and unscathed coves of the Davao Gulf. The most prominent beach in the area is Babu Santa Beach that gives off a relaxing, laidback and serene atmosphere that will make your trip absolutely stress-free.

Kaputian Beach Park

Kaputian Beach from play_with_fire_03

Kaputian Beach from play_with_fire_03

This is the most renowned public beach in Samal Island: Kaputian Beach. As usual, it is home to white sandy beaches and tranquil blue waters but offers guests the cheapest yet cutest accommodation choices in the area. Spending a night here would probably cost you just about $10 and an entrance fee of a quarter of a dollar! You can likewise rent for a picnic deck for a very low price of $2.5. It’s very affordable to stay here because the government owns the property. There is also a preserved sea cow or locally known as “Dugong” featured at the entrance of the property.

The Kaputian Beach is situated at the southernmost part of Samal Island and is ten minutes away from Talicud sland and Isla Reta through boat ride.

Coral Garden

 Davao, Philippines from Andy*Enero

Davao, Philippines from Andy*Enero

As promised, Samal Island is a jewel to the Philippines, the pride of Davao and the place that would make the Maldives have an up to par challenger with amazing dive sites to choose from. Th Coral Garden here in Samal Island composes of tons of colorful and various coral reefs that are home to some of the most beautiful exotic fishes in the sea. You may enjoy scuba diving here and is probably one of the best ways to succumb to the island’s beautiful paradise: swimming with the fishes.

Island Hopping

b. Isla Reta by Day (2) from Constantine Agustin

b. Isla Reta by Day (2) from Constantine Agustin

Last but not the least, the very best wat to discover Samal Island is probably by going island hopping. One of the best islands to visit in the area is the Isla Reta where you will find lush green trees kissing sandy white beaches and the clear blue-green waters of the shore. It is just an awesome sight to see! You wouldn’t want to miss hopping here aboard a bangka and snap that selfie for a paradise like this one does not go along anywhere else! Might as well enjoy the moment and know that this vacation to Golden City of Samal will never be forgotten.


For flights to Davao, click here.

For more information on travel destinations and vacation activities, click here.

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