Travel Guide: Samal Island
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Samal Island is one of tranquility,
and for those wishing to escape the hoards who congregate on the beaches of Boracay or Panglao but do not want to skimp on the adventure or the stunning vistas the Philippines have to offer, this is the place to be. Travelling there couldn’t be simpler: from Davao City one can take a ferry out of Sasa wharf at 4am or 10pm each day; catch a boat ride from Sasa or Sta. Ana wharf; hop on the Island City Express bus in Davao.
Accommodation varies to accommodate budget travelers and those in need of blissful opulence alike. For those seeking the latter it is advisable to book a suite at Bluejaz Resort (boasting one of the best water parks in the Philippines), Chemas or the renowned Pearl Farm in advance. These sumptuous resorts fill up quickly in time for the Caracoles de Samal, the Island’s lively salutation to its abundance of natural assets and indigenous culture. This event takes place in late April and heralds the rest of the summer, the best time of year for flocking tourists. For those wanting to get back to nature it is possible to set up camp on the shoreline, with the stars for a blanket and the sea to sing you to sleep.
Travelers to Samal Island must ensure themselves an evening on The Venue, proffering a buffet to cater to all tastes for 500 PHP whilst cruising on the main with Davao twinkling in the background against the inky sky. For other sources of evening entertainment head to the coast and set up a beach bonfire with friends or meet some of the friendly locals and other travelers at one of the many bars dotted around.
During the daytime visit Maxima Aqua Fun for all kinds of water based fun, such as diving, fishing, kayaking and, for the daring, a huge slide plunging you into the depths. Hagimit Falls is a must, with its idyllic plunge pools offering sweet respite from the heat of the day, and camping grounds on location. Monfort Bat Cave hosts the world’s largest gathering of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bats, so grab a camera and snap the awesome sight of nearly two million bats suspended from the cave ceiling. Samal Island’s allure is irresistible, as picturesque as anywhere in the Philippines and filled to the brim with new experiences and people, nature and humanity coincide and join hand in hand.