Saturday, May 9, 2015

Detour in Samal Island, Davao

In life, some things don't go as planned. But unexpected things can sometimes turn out to be one of the best experiences you could ever have in your life. This is the best way to describe what happened to our Surigao del Sur planned trip.

Me and my sister Kit has planned this trip to Surigao last year. We were both very excited because seeing the Enchanted River in Hinatuan and the Britania Island in San Augustin is on our bucket list. But due to a last minute change in one of our companion's work schedule, we have to cancel it.

Though very disappointed and with a heavy heart, we just thought of other destination to go to. And, Samal Island was on top of our list.

Samal is officially called the Island Garden City of Samal and is one of the cities in Davao del Norte. It is composed of Samal Island and Talikud Island. The island is just a few minute's away from Davao City which is very convenient for people who want to temporarily stay away from the city life.

Since our lo
cation is in Iligan City, we traveled to Cagayan de Oro (CDO) for an hour and a half. Buses from Iligan City are stationed in Bulua Bus Terminal in CDO. From Bulua, we rode a jeepney going to Agora Bus Terminal, where we rode a bus going to Davao City. The travel normally takes 7 - 8 hours, but due to road repairs being done in the Davao - Bukidnon Highway, it took us almost 9 hours to reach Davao Ecoland bus terminal in Davao City.

almost 9 hours of travel and this face :)

We reached Davao late in the afternoon, so we just checked in at Queen Karla's Inn, a pension house type of accommodation at Times Beach. We will just cross Samal Island early in the morning. We still have to buy some things for our Samal trip, so Queen Karla's was an ideal location for us since it's near SM Davao. 

It was a family room type, with 2 beds, own CR, cable flat screen TV, and a terrace. It costs Php 1,500 per night good for 5 persons.

Oh, I forgot to say that it's also near the beach. Our view in the morning! 

It was a holiday, May 1 Labor Day to be exact, when we went to Samal Island. Though we expected that people will flock the island because it's a long weekend, still we didn't expect we would have to wait in a long queue at Sasa Wharf for more than an hour before we can cross to the island.

We weren't among these people who waited in line under the covered pathway. We rode the Island City Express bus, which will be transported by the vessel at Sasa Wharf to the island. It was convenient for us because the bus will pass by PeƱaplata, where Sea Grass Beach Resort is located (the beach resort where we will be staying overnight). From Times Beach, we rode a taxi to Magsaysay Park where Island City Express buses pass by.

And because we have to wait for long, we decided to entertain ourselves. Spell SA-M-AL!

When we reached Sea Grass Beach Resort, we did not waste time enjoying the view and the place.

I have been to several islands in the Philippines and was able to check out some of the country's most beautiful white sand beaches (talk about Virgin Island in Bohol!). I'd say the beach in the resort doesn't compare that much to those I've seen, but it was okay.

While waiting for our room to be ready, we explored the area.

We took our lunch at their restaurant. They also serve breakfast, dinner, and some snacks.

pool with a slide beside the restaurant

After taking our lunch, we settled our things in our room, then we headed to Maxima Aqua Fun. From the resort, we took a pedicab at Php 30 each to the place. There was a bit of a rough road when going inside. It was located on a cliff so we have to go down several steps before getting to the reception and the picnic tables.

We planned to go Kayaking but then decided not to continue because the waves were big during that time.

We just took the challenge of their giant slide! It was one of the most fun adventures I did so far.

I would say our time there wasn't really maximized because we weren't able to do the activity that we planned to do. Kodee even threw some tantrums which cut short our stay there. After doing the slide, we just decided to take a short swim before heading home.

We woke up early the following morning so that we could take a short walk at the beach and go swimming before it gets too hot.

Before having our breakfast, we let Kodee play with the sand.

We then went swimming at the resort's infinity pool.

After enjoying Samal, it's time to head home. This is what our room looks like.

Our temporary home at the island is a duplex type of accommodation and costs Php 2, 480 per night good for 2 persons, with free breakfast and free use of the infinity pool and the pool beside the restaurant. For additional persons, there's a charge of Php 500 each, with free beddings and free use of the infinity pool. There's no free breakfast for the additional persons though and they can't use the other pool. You need to pay another fee if you want to use it.

just right outside

We rode the Island City Express bus again in going back to Davao City. The bus terminal is located at Central Warehouse.

Though Samal Island is already quiet popular with tourists, the place has maintained its natural beauty.

taken while heading back to Davao

good thing we didn't have to line up again when going back

Davao City nearby

There were a lot of inconveniences along the way (such as the long hours of travel and waiting and Kodee's tantrums). But, I still consider this trip one of the best trips I have because I learned a lot of things. For one, it's not really advisable to travel with a toddler for long hours. If there's a shorter route to get to your destination, take it. 

And the best part of this trip? I got to spend some quality time and explore new places with my family.

Note: This post is for information purposes only and is based on my own experience. I do not represent any of the companies / products / individuals stated herein.