Highly Recommended: Samal Island Tour with Kuya Joey Davao

Today is Samal Island day!

Pickup was at 8am, but it’s I overslept. Kuya Alex was kind enough to not mind. We headed to the roro dock to Samal Island (Fee: php200), which was an hour or two of waiting due to the Saturday traffic.

Good thing Kuya Alex’s company was good. We bought some Davao taho on the roadside. It costs php20 as the vendor still added some condensed milk on top but was delicious.

Afterwards, it was time to go to Samal Island!

Despite the long wait to Samal, the boat trip itself was short at a mere 15 minutes. Here’s the slew of cars waiting to come back.

We headed first to the furthest point of Samal. It’s because of these long complicated distances that makes me glad that I availed of Kuya Joey’s tour. Apparently, the habal habal can cost up to php1,500.

Blue Bird Viewing Deck (Entrance Fee: Php20)

Facing Davao City and on the left is Mount Apo and the Toril Power Plant, the Blue Bird Viewing Deck is windy and relaxing. A place to hang out with good friends and company.

In the distance is the Davao Pearl Farm. The family owns pineapple, banana and shipping lines. They also own the jewelry brand, Jewelmer.

The land all around this area is owned by the same family. There’s a private road here:

Sabang Cliff Diving

This section was windy and beautiful. The Sabang cliff was where the Fil-Am Tourism Head Drew Arellano jumped.

From this point is 20 feet deep so it’s pretty safe. The swim and climb back to the cliff for a second dive is only 5 minutes.

You can avail of some island hopping tour as well. Just google Samal Hopping. It costs around php700 with lunch buffet.

Personally, I would rather stand at the cliff at a distance and enjoy the view.

Kaputian Beach (Entrance Fee: php15)

The Kaputian Beach is government owned and is a white sand beach with a view of Talikod Island on the back.

Pay the php15 before entering. It’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than any entrance fee is any Southeast Asian beach:

Obligatory photo of the dugong which was found dead on the Kaputian beach:

Rental of one bahay kubo ranges from php250-500 for a day. That’s why it’s a great place to hang out with family and friends:

The beach is beautiful. While Boracay has finer grain of sand, the Kaputian beach is more accessible to the masses and is less commercial. Check out the photos just to get an idea on how beautiful this place is.

There’s a lifeguard on call and the beach is open on everyday for 24 hours. At night, teenagers hang out in the beach for a beer.

Sand quality and fineness at Kaputian Beach:

Wares and henna tattoos at the Kaputian Beach:

Warning: Shower is primitive and requires balde and tabo. Bring extra towel if you want to swim.

Hagimit Falls (Php 50)

Entrance was php50 and you have to walk down a slope carefully to reach Hagimit Falls.

While away from the city, the place is still well kept and clean.

Cheap snacks can be bought for php10-30 from these hardworking ladies. They are empanadas for php10 each, bibingka like snacks and puto:

You have to go down the cemented steps to reach Hagimit Falls.

The water is fresh and the current is strong. You can spend the entire afternoon here, swimming, rafting and having fun.

Cottage rental is at php300. There’s more to see as you follow the steps:

You can take a lot of sexy photos at the falls.

Monfort Bat Colony (Entrance: php120 plus php5 for car)

After paying the fee, we walk down to this hut for a brief orientation.

During World War II, the Maniego family hid on the caves from the Japanese. There are 5 entrances to the exit. At night, the bats come out to forage food. There are 1.8 million bats inside the Monfort Caves. Currently, there are more than 2.4 million bats inside.

There’s only one species of bats — the fruit bats.

In Samal Island, there are 70 bat caves. It is only in the Monfort Bat Caves you can see these many bats in one place.

Cave One Entrance

Cave 2

Cave 3

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Cave 4

These bats were in high demand because their meat tastes like orchids and their poop, called guano, make for great orchid fertilizers.

Back in the day, the children would go down to the caves to gather some guano. These days, people are not allowed inside. The smell of guano can be overpowering and there are small animals like snakes, lizards and iguanas that can be dangerous to children.

An iguana waiting for his prey:

Cave 5: Allegedly the quietest but the guano smell was foul.

As you can see, some are moving and are most likely dead.

Manfort Bat Caves: a must see when you are in Samal Island.

Vanishing Island at Sanipaan Marine Park

You have to walk this wooden pathway to the boat that will take you to the Vanishing Island:

Prices were as follows. For the boat, it’s php400 for 5 pax.

The boat ride was short. Manong was way past senior age but was still working.

The island used to be bigger but years of waves made it smaller. It’s a beautiful place.

Kuya Alex was there with me the whole time which I appreciated. That’s really specialized service.

Our last stop was Paradise Island, which requires a php240 per head payment.

There were a host of birds and animals.

Inside, you can sip some drinks and relax ag the beach. Employing 200 staff, Paradise Resort is a higher end beach to hang out in.

The peak season for Davao is: August, September and December. Low season is: June, July, November.

We arrived back to Davao City after Paradise Resort. Since the car had to fall in line, I arrived at the hotel at 7pm, to which we proceded to ride a padyak to Glamour for their ₱300 per pax eat-all-you-can buffet.

Food in Manila has never really been this cheap or tasty. It was simple food, but delicious. We were glad we visited even though they ran out of crabs as soon as we arrived. For eat all you can crabs, that’s only ₱500 a person!

Overall, the trip to Davao was a blast. I got to reflect a lot about the business and about life. We made some good friends and it was an eye opening experience. We would love to go back one day soon!

About Tina in Manila

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