(4D3N) Php 4,600 Budget Travel Guide to Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Saturday, August 13, 2016 Justin Vawter 3 Comments



After more than a year, the squad is finally complete and back for some budget adventure. This time, we're heading down south to conquer Davao, Surigao del Sur and Samal for 4D3N all for just Php 4,600 and that already includes everything from food to transportation to accommodation (except air fare). Impossible? Well not for us. This is #BudgetTrip to its best!



Note: this is a quick guide of our entire trip. I'll be doing a more detailed guide for each places we visited so I hope you could check that out too!

Our first trip to Mindanao was unplanned. It was supposed to be a trip by Jess and SJ only since they were able to book tickets during the AirAsia seat sale. But when Cebu Pacific held another seat sale, Er and I decided to go as well. Since our tickets were bought separately, each stay was different. Er and I stayed for 4D3N, Jess stayed less while Sj stayed longer extending her stay for 2 more days.

First Flight


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

It was my very first flight and honestly, I was very anxious and nervous and excited all at the same time. I was actually freaking out because I know my bag is very heavy. I usually bring a lot of stuff so fitting them all in a 7-kilo max baggage was a struggle. But hey, I made it. Well not really. I had an excess of 1 kilo and I had to put them in Er's bag. Haha!

Our flight was via Cebu Pacific. We bought our round trip ticket for just Php 1,000+ during its seat sale.

DAY 1: DAVAO CITY


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

We arrived at Davao International Ariport at around 8am. From there, we rode a cab straight downtown to meet Sj. She arrived the night before and stayed at Homitori Dormitel for Php 220/night. From the airport to Homitori, we paid Php 120 for the cab fare. What I love about Davao is that, just like Baguio City, they are very honest when it comes to fare and they really give a change.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

From the dormitel, we then walked around the Chinatown. It is the only Chinatown in Mindanao and the largest in the country. While the entire Davao region is one of the largest, the city proper is relatively small and it's very walkable. We had our breakfast at Jollibee and then went to the City Hall to do a quick city tour.

Places to Visit

Davao City Hall
San Pedro Cathedral
Davao Museum
Clock Tower
Osmeña Park
Magsaysay Park
People's Park

Tip: if you're doing a day tour, it's best to check in at a hotel and leave your stuff so you can travel freely. We stayed at Daylight Inn and booked a single fan room for Php 250 since we have no plan of sleeping overnight. We just need a place to leave our stuff.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

After doing a city tour we rode a van going to Calinan. Fare is Php 40. Then we rode a habal-habal going to the Philippine Eagle Center for Php 20 per head. There is a small entrance fee of Php 5 and there's also a huge python on the side where you can take a picture for Php 20. It was my first time and it really freaked me out!

Entrance to the Eagle Center is Php 150. After taking photos and touring the center, we went back to Calinan to eat lunch at a carinderia serving roasted chicken. Right after that, we went back to the city proper and roamed around. By night, while waiting for Jess' arrival, we decided to go to Abreeza Mall.

As I mentioned, we had no plans of staying overnight. The reason is we intended to travel by night and sleep on the bus instead. From the city hall, we rode a jeep to Ecoland, the city's grand terminal station. There, we rode a bus going to Cagwait, Surigao del Sur. It was a 7-hour travel time, long enough to get enough sleep.

DAY 2: CAGWAIT + BRITANIA


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Day 2 is dedicated for everything beach! By around 7am, we finally arrived at our first destination: Cagwait White Beach, Surigao del Sur. We took our breakfast at Lolenghayaw Beach Resort which the tricycle driver recommended. Although it doesn't really have a white sand, the Cagwait White Beach is a serene place. It's so quiet and we had the whole beach all to ourselves. The sand was soft and the whole place is really relaxing.

Right after, we took another trike going to the bus station where we rode a jeep straight to Britania. Boat rental is around Php 1,200. Upon arriving, you can also tell your guide to cook lunch for you. For our island hopping trip, we visited 4 islands: 

Hagonoy Island
Naked Island
Hiyor Hiyoran Island
Boslon Island

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Honestly, I had little expectations of Britania but it really blew me away. We had the islands all to ourselves! The water was super clear and the sand was pure white. I actually prefer it over Boracay. Just can't help but fall in love with Britania. I don't even get at how this place is not that popular? I mean, just looking back to our photos.... I have definitely fallen in love with this place. Fave destination from our entire trip!

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

By around 4pm, we decided to head to Marky's where we will spend the night. Marky's is a small hostel owned by, you guessed it, Marky! He's also a traveler and his place is currently managed by his parents. It's a popular backpacker's inn in Hinatuan. Rate starts at Php 250 per night.


DAY 3: HINATUAN + SIBADAN + TINUY-AN


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

It rained the entire night and luckily, the weather cooperated. For today's trip, our agenda is the Enchanted River and Sibadan in Hinatuan and the Tinuy-An Falls in Bislig. Usually, habal-habal offer packages for the entire trip. We got it for just Php 500. But before leaving the place, we paid a visit first at the Saint Augustine Parish near the hostel.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Upon arriving at Enchanted River, I was not impressed. It looked differently from photos. Perhaps because I was expecting it to look "natural". It was very developed and there are cottages near the river. After swimming for a bit, we rented a boat and went to Sibadan. Sibadan is popular for having fish cages where you can swim. They have stingrays and large fishes which I find very traumatic. You see, I thought swimming with the fishes is cool but once you try it, it's really haunting. I don't know why I find it scary.

When we went back to Enchanted River, I was more surprised. It was SUPER CROWDED!

From Hinatuan, we rode the habal-habal to Tinuy-An Falls in Bislig. It was a 2-hour painful ride especially that we're bouncing up and down because of the rough road. But the travel was worth it. Tinuy-An Falls was really beautiful. You can even climb it to get to the higher portion of the falls where a small set of waterfalls await you.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Right after eating lunch at a nearby carinderia, we headed to our final destination of the day: Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental. But as fate would have had it, it rained the entire afternoon forcing us to cut it off to our list and instead head back to Davao City. It takes around 3-4 hrs to arrive back to Ecoland since it will pass through Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley.

DAY 4: SAMAL ISLAND


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

On our fourth day, we went to Samal Island. Although there's a notion that it's not really safe there, we actually felt very safe. We first met with another local traveler, Lakwatserang Negra who went with us to the island. Since we have only half day to tour the island we just climbed Mt. Puting Bato and went to the Kaputian Beach which is so awesome by the way (It's amazing at how a public beach could look this good!) and finally Hagimit Falls. Hagimit Falls was very depressing. It reminded me of Daranak and Batlag Falls in Tanay, Rizal. Overcrowded and super developed. It just lost its beauty.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal'Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

To go to the island, you just have to ride a ferry for Php 10 and then you can just rent a habal-habal to tour you. We got it for Php 1,500 / group of 5.

We then headed back to the city proper, indulged in kwek-kweks, bought some souvenirs and pasalubongs and went back to Manila.

Summary


I really tried my best to cut the story short so if you've read everything, thank you! As for the complete itinerary and budget guide... here it is! *drum rolls*

Note: We didn't have a complete itinerary. Just a list of destinations for our trip.


ITINERARY

Day 1
Davao City Tour:
Davao City Hall
San Pedro Cathedral
Davao Museum
Clock Tower
Osmeña Park
Magsaysay Park
People's Park
Abreeza Mall
Philippine Eagle Center

Day 2
Cagwait White Beach
Britania Group of Islands:
Hagonoy Island
Naked Island
Hiyor Hiyoran Island
Boslon Island

Day 3
Saint Augustine Parish
Enchanted River
Sibadan
Tinuy-An Falls

Day 4
Samal Island:
Mt. Puting Bato
Kaputian Beach
Hagimit Falls
Davao City:
Pasalubong Center

Note: If you have additional time, you may also add in Lon Wa Buddhist Temple, Malagos Garden (Entrance fee: Php 100), D' Japanese Tunnel (Entrance fee: Php 50)

EXPENSES
(Group of 4)

Day 1

Taxi from airport to homitori taxi - Php 120 (2pax) / Php 60 each
Jollibee breakfast - Php 70
Jeep Chinatown to City Hall -  Php 8
Day light fan room -  Php 250 /  Php 83 each
Gatorade -  Php 31
Fx from City Hall to Calinan -  Php 45
Habal habal to eagle center -  Php 20
Entrance fee -  Php 5
Snake picture -  Php 20
Entrance Eagle Center -  Php 150
Habal habal back to Calinan -  Php 20
Lunch (lechon manok with rice) -  Php 51
Fx Calinan to City Hall -  Php 40
Dinner chicken with rice (Chick-a-bing-daks)  -  Php 25
Jeep to Abreeza Mall -  Php 8
Jeep back to City hall -  Php 8
- checkout from hotel -
Jeep to Ecoland -  Php 8

Day 1: Php 652

Day 2

Bus from Ecoland to Caguait -  Php 510 / Php 430 student discount
Trike to white beach -  Php 10
Breakfast Squid + buttered chicken -  Php 410 /  Php 102 each
Trike to bus terminal -  Php 15
Jeep to Britania -  Php 50
Trike to Joan's Beach Resort -  Php 20
Entrance fee -  Php 25
Pump boat rental -  Php 1,200 /  Php 300 each
Lunch paluto -  Php 118 each
Souvenir -  Php 25
Trike to highway -  Php 20
Jeep to Barobo -  Php 35
Trike to Marky's Hostel -  Php 5
Hostel -  Php 250 / head
Dinner (cup noodles + rice because it was raining and super cold) - Php 50

Day 2 :  Php 1,455
Total =  Php 2,107

Day 3

Trike to enchanted and tinuy-an -  Php 500 / head
1Liter Mineral Water at  Marky's -  Php 25
Entrance enchanted -  Php 30
Life Vest rental -  Php 25
Boat to Sibadan -  Php 51 / head
Entrance to Sibadan -  Php 10
Entrance to Tinuy-an -  Php 50
Guide fee -  Php 25 each (no fixed rate, Php 100 for our group)
Lunch carinderia -  Php 50
Habal-habal to Bislig-  Php 100
Trike to bislig -  Php 10
Van to Davao Ecoland -  Php 300
Cr Agusan terminal -  Php 3
Jeep Ecoland terminal to Daylight Inn - Php 8
Check-in -  Php 250 / head (Php 800 air-con room good for 2pax + Php 200 "Php 100 per additional head x 2 pax")
Dinner chicken with 2 rice (Chick-a-bing-daks) - Php 30
Mcdo sundae - Php 29

Day 3 : Php 1,496
Total = Php 3,603

Day 4

Jeep from crossing to SaSa wharf - Php 15
Entrance barge - Php 10
Habal habal tour - Php 300 each (Php 1500 group of 5)
Guide tip - Php 60 (Php 300 group of 5)
Mt. Puting Bato entrance - Php 20 (Php 10 x 2 entrance)
Fruit soda - Php 8 
Lunch chicken with 2 rice (turo-turo) - Php 30
Entrance to Kaputian beach - Php 25
Entrance Hagimit falls - Php 40
Jeep from SaSa wharf to Ateneo - Php 15
Souvenir key chain - Php 150
1/2 kilo mangosteen - Php Php 
kwek kwek - Php Php 
Airport taxi - Php 50  each (Php 150 / 3pax)
Terminal fee - Php 200

Day 4 : Php 1,003

Total = Php 4,606


TIPS and Notes



As you can see, we saved a lot of money because of our food. If you're not picky, you can survive by just eating at carinderia. Try Chick-a-bing-daks. It's our fave! Apparently, it's a popular chain of fried chicken stalls in Davao city. Davao City has a lot of cheap hotels. Also, try to haggle as much as possible.

For contact persons, you may contact our guide and drivers which we met along the way:

09494568433 - Kuya Boyet Habal Habal Enchanted

09359182485 - Kuya Jimmy Samal Island

That's it! More detailed guide for each places next on the blog. Thanks for reading! :)

Cheers~!

- Justin -

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Will use it in my Davao Trip. Thanks.

    andrewfeliciano.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Justin! I had always admire your blog esp your photos. Thank you for this budget travel guide. Might use it on my upcoming travel in D3cember. Keep it up! Cheers too more travels. ��

    ReplyDelete