We've Been Living our Happily Ever After for

Monday, October 14, 2013

Davao Diaries: Tips for a Samal Island Daytrip

I just received a very appreciative comment which made me feel very warm and nice about being a writer-wanna-be so I decided to break my writing hiatus. hehehehe

*This is one of many posts I'll write about our Davao trip. Mostly it'll just be side stories of what the place is all about and important stuff I wish somebody told me about Davao in general.

Samal Island is actually called IGACOS or the Island Garden City of Samal. However, given that the main entry point to this island is Davao and that most tourists who go to Davao go here anyway, it's a given that it's included in my blog entries. So here goes my tips from me to you, ala-countdown, of how you can maximize your time if you're just staying in SAMAL for less than a day.

Tip # 1: Be familiar with the modes of transportation available
In reaching and going around samal, you have three options: 
Option 1- ride a banca or roro and ride habal-habal in going around the island(recommended)
*I recommend this because both "lantsas" and "roros" leave the babak port every fifteen minutes therefore its not a big deal if you miss the previous trip. Second, going to SAMAL on just one day is for those who wish to see the tourist spots and not lounge on the beach all day and given that motorcycles are the primary mode of transportation in the island, it's your best bet
Our view inside the lantsa otw to Samal

Option 2-ride a banca directly to your resort( good option for those who wish to stay in the resort and just relax)
*The primary advantage of this is that you feel a more "personalized" service but then again, it can come with a hefty price tag
Option 3- rent a van from davao city( such a buzz kill in my opinion and much more expensive)
*The rental fee ranges from 2500-3000 depending on your contact but I found it weird because when we were aboard the Roro, those who had four wheel transportation did not get off the vehicles anymore. Yes, You read it correctly. If you rented a van, you will be inside the van(engine turned on of course), but imagine how weird that feels that you are INSIDE A VAN WHILE RIDING A SHIP. FREAKIN' WEIRDEST 15 MINS OF YOUR LIFE.

Tip # 2: Leave as early as possible to accommodate delays
Given that Davao is the largest city in the country, travel time within the city may take longer than you think. From our hotel, we paid 15 pesos each for our jeepney fare and by Manila standards, we thought it would take less than 30 minutes but it took us close to an hour to reach the Sasa wharf.

Tip #3 Be familiar with the ports
Samal can be reached in two points-via Sasa wharf and Sta Ana Wharf. However, "Sasa" in Davao city actually refers to a long stretch- a kilometer or so- that faces the sea and so if you tell the jeepney driver/conductor ( like we did) to drop us in Sasa, he gave us a confused look and asked a ton of question on where we would alight specifically. As for Babak and Sta. Ana Wharf, Babak Wharf Sta. Babak Wharf caters to those who wish to access the northern and mid parts whereas Sta Ana wharf caters to passengers who wish to go to places closer to the southern tip of the island.

Tip #4 Hire a habal in advance if you can
There are actually plenty of habals in the ports but it was quite annoying to be surrounded by 5-10 men or so offering their services. I would have given you the cellphone number of the habal we hired(which we got from pinoyadventurista) but he lost his cell while he was with us and when I checked after a few days, I couldnt contact him, meaning he wasnt able to get it back.

Tip #5- Allot a looooooooooot of time in Maxima Aqua Fun if you're a waterbaby.
I give this place 5 stars!!!!! Their name is very apt- it was really all about aqua fun! ^_^
The all-in rate for weekdays was 250, and with that, we were allowed to use the giant slide unlimited,kayak unlimited, the trampoline(it was under repair at that time) and the canopy walk. The giant slide wasnt as scary as I thought it would be but after the first time, I didnt do it again because one mouthful of salty seawater was enough. What we enjoyed a lot was snorkeling and the kayak! 
This wide area on the side of the giant slide serves as the snorkeling and kayak area

Tip #6-Skip the beach altogether (if it's okay with you)
I put this tip at the very last because I know I'd get a lot of raised eyebrows but lemme tell you why
*From the research I've done, it seems that Pearl Farm has the best shore line in Samal, and for its price and distance from the ports, it's not worth it for people on a daytrip to this island
*The sand in other areas of Samal ranges from gray to white and our habal drivers actually brought us to a resort with good sand but the water was very shallow, we decided to just go ahead to Maxima first and it was the best decision we did. If I may compare, the sand was actually close to the sand in other white sand beaches but if you've been to Boracay, Palawan, Calaguas, Hundred Islands and the likes, you're not missing much.

All in all, our day trip to Samal was very tiring but nonetheless awesome, so don't miss out if ever you're in Davao. Until the next thought bubble!
Beautiful Samal as we were aboard the Roro

No comments:

span.fullpost {display:inline;}