Samal Island Budget Travel Guide: Where to Go, Eat and Stay

Monday, August 29, 2016 Justin Vawter 0 Comments


The Island Garden of Samal or simply Samal Island is a small paradise, just roughly 10 minutes away from Sasa Wharf in Davao city. Despite the security issues that faces Samal Island (there are numerous hostage incidents by rebels in the area), we took the risk of exploring it. This is the final part of our #BudgetTrip goes to Mindanao. Hope you enjoy it! (read: (4D3N) Php 4,600 Budget Travel Guide to Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal.


How To Get Here



Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

The easiest way to go to Samal Island is via Davao City. You can book a flight directly to Davao City. From the airport, ride a cab going to Sasa Wharf. If you'll be doing a city tour first (which I recommend), you can ride a jeep from the city hall bound to Sasa Wharf. Fare is Php 15. There is an entrance of Php 10 to the barge and travel time from the wharf to the island is just 10 minutes. You wouldn't even notice it.

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

Highly suggesting that you go here early in the morning because according to the locals, the line could be long especially during weekends. Also, if you're in a rush, instead of entering the barge, you can just ride a bus going to Samal. The bus will still be in the barge but you won't have to fall in line since public transport is a priority.

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



Where To Go


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

You can tour the entire island in a day or two but since we're in a rush, we only had half of the day for our visit (our flight was in the evening so we have to return back to Davao city by 3pm). Before we went to the island, we first met with another backpacker Lakwatserang Negra. We met her online via the Facebook group DIY Travel Philippines (you guys should join here!) after asking who wants to join us on our trip to Samal. While I can understand Bisaya (the dialect in the area) since my parents are Bisaya, I have a hard time speaking it. Good thing Lakwatserang Negra knows how to speak the language since she resides in Davao. She instantly became our translator and helped us find our tour guide. 

For our tour, we had 3 places in mind: Mt. Puting Bato, Kaputian Beach and Hagimit Falls. Habal-habal is the main mode of transportation in the island and our tour costs Php 1500 for a group of 5 (2 motorbikes).


Mt. Puting Bato


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

Once a mountaineer, always a mountaineer. What's a visit to a new place without hiking its highest summit? Standing at 410 MASL, Mt. Puting Bato is Samal island's highest point. Guide is required for Php 600 but luckily, our driver offered to guide us for free (we gave him Php 300 tip instead). It takes around an hour to reach the summit but the trail was a bit painful. We were not wearing proper hiking attire since this was not originally part of our itinerary. There area a lot of ants and it was very muddy which makes it harder. But the view was worth it. Mt. Puting Bato is also called Huyong Huyong Mountain Park and at the summit you'll find several houses with beautiful gardens. However they do ask Php 10 per head as entrance fee (we passed 2 houses which makes it Php 20).

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

This would be a perfect poster for a teleserye! Haha. Featuring our driver and guide and Jess.

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

The summit offers a calm view of the sea and the city of Davao. Since it's not a popular destination especially for tourists, the grasses are high and a bit sharp so better be careful. There's also a small corn field on the way to the summit.

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
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Er, Lakwatserang Negra, Jess, Sj and Me!


Kaputian Beach


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Less than an hour away from Mt. Puting Bato lies Kaputian Beach. From the word Kaputian which literally translates to "whiteness", the Kaputian Beach is a very underrated beach in Mindanao. It's a public beach but you have to pay Php 25 for the entrance fee. This really surprised me. The beach, true to its name, features white sand. Although there are sea urchins everywhere, the water is so clear! It also acts as an entry point to Talikud Island, another popular destination in Samal.

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


Hagimit Falls


If you want to a relaxing view, some quiet time and a peaceful environment with the sound of falls and rushing water , don't go to Hagimit Falls. I repeat, SKIP THIS PLACE. This was very depressing. I had high hopes for the falls since you can read it at almost every blog. But it was disappointing. It's worse than Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal (READ: Tanay Adventure: Daranak and Batlag Falls).

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

There's an entrance fee of Php 40. The place is overcrowded and over developed. If you have free time, you may want to visit this place but if you're on a tight schedule, skip this one and go other destination instead.

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


Other Places


For your reference, here are other places you can visit if you plan on staying longer on the island:

Monfort Bat Sanctuary
Vanishing Island
Talikud Island
Tagbaobo Falls
Maxima Aquafun


Where to Stay


Although we didn't get to spend a night here, Maxima Aquafun is considered as one of the top resorts (they have this 40ft slide that goes directly to the sea!). We were supposed to go here but it would be time consuming plus there's an entrance fee of Php 300 per head for a day tour. There's also the Paradise Island Park & Beach Resort in Babak District and the Lorelei Beach Resort in Samal District. For the rates, you can check them out here.


Where to Eat


There are a few restaurants in the island and although there's small supermarket where you can find fast food restaurants. If you're not picky, you can eat at a carinderia which is almost anywhere especially in the market area. For us, we went with fried chicken and 2 rice for just Php 30 each.


Tips and Guides


Try to go here as early as possible. Don't forget to haggle since habal-habal ride can be very expensive. For contact persons, you may contact our guide and drivers which we met along the way:
09359182485 - Kuya Jimmy.

That's it. Don't forget to read the entire series below:


Here's to more #BudgetTrip adventures!

Cheers~!

- Justin -

0 comments: