If you’ve landed in Davao City Philippines and want to spread your towel and soak up the sun, you’ll find that there are no beaches in the city. You’ll need to reach the Island Garden City of Samal, the beach resort capital of Davao. There are 80 resort operators on the island ranging from budget to mid-range and high-end resorts, it’s an easy reach by car or ferries.
Every time I visit my folks in Davao, a day trip to one of the beach resorts in Samal is high on the agenda. There’s something about Filipino family bonding by the beach, it gives everyone time off – stay outdoors, swim and share a big lunch banquet. Whether it’s a small or big group it’s definitely a lot of fun just being near the water!
Most Samal resort operators have their own private outriggers to transfer guests direct to their resort. Driving is another option, you and your vehicle will board a barge from Sasa Port to Babak Port and takes around 15 minutes. Vehicles are charge by their size, for us we paid 270Php (Toyota Fortuner) each way plus an environmental fee at Babak Port. By bus, the Island City Express operates between Davao and Samal and vice versa. From Babak Port, you can hop on a ‘habal – habal’, a Filipino motorcyle taxi to your resort destination. Resorts that are located in remote areas of the island, you need to contact them beforehand so they can arrange your transfer accordingly.
Here are some of my favourite beach resort day trips on Samal Island:
Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort Address: Barangay Caliclic, Samal Mindanao Philippines Contact: +63 917 708 5766
Without a doubt this is one the most popular resorts on the island for locals and tourists alike. It has a massive area, 8 hectares of land with bungalow type accommodation scattered around a manicured garden with coconut trees, tropical flowers and fully maintained walkways. It has a colossal restaurant overlooking the beach area with powdery white sands and clear waters perfect for swimming during high tide but very shallow during low tide.
The restaurant is only available to paying guests, food is reasonably priced including alcohol, soft drinks and snacks. There is a self catering area with a grilling facility located at the far end of the resort. Other amenities include a massage area, convention rooms, convenience store, children’s playground, fruit shop, hiring shop for all water sports and a tour operator desk. Dance or sing along with the live band entertaining all day or play beach volleyball. Showers and toilets are provided and I must say they are clean, excellently maintained and comfortable.
Added attraction is a cluster of bird cages featuring a collection of exotic birds in all forms.
Entrance Fee: Day Visit – Php 220 Overnight – Php 400 Boat transfer – Php 15
Accommodation Rates: Premier Room – Php 6,000 |Deluxe Room Php 5,390 | Extra Bed Php 1,000 | Casa Monina 1,080 / person. All are fully air-conditioned with private toilet and shower. Check-in time: 4:00 PM Check-out: 12:00 NN (source website) Note: Bringing of food and drinks are not allowed.
Chemas By the Sea Address: Island Garden City of Samal, Barangay Limao, Davao City, 4200 Davao del Sur, Philippines Contact: +63 917 814 0814
Location, privacy and a good resort for a nature retreat away from the hustle and bustle of suburban life. I have visited this resort several times now and I must say that this resort ticks all the right boxes. Only 10 minutes boat ride from Davao and can also be accessed by car. The resort is nestled in a tropical lush setting with nicely landscaped gardens amidst scenery of surpassing loveliness and privacy. It has a nice infinity pool, private beach and beach chairs for sun bathing/relaxing. It has a bar and restaurant that serves all-day dining.
Accomodation is available and rooms are themed with Mediterranean, Spanish, Balinese and Filipino interior. Aqua Sports and Day and Island tour can also be arranged upon request. Proper swimming costumes are required when using the pool and fully maintained showers and toilets are available for use by day trip guests.
Day Tour Package:
Day Tour – Php 300 per person. You will be required to stay in a hut while in the resort – Php 500 for a group of 7.
Accommodation Rates: Cottage 1 and 3 Php 5,500 | Cabana 2,3,4 Php 6,000 | Cottage 2 (12 pax) Php 12,000 | Lower Cottage Php 4,750 | Upper Cottage Php 5,250 (source website). Check-in time: 2:00 PM Check-out time: 12:00 Note: Bringing of food and drinks are not allowed.
Pearl Farm Beach Resort Adress: Adecor, Kaputian District, Island Garden City of Samal
Pearl Farm Beach Resort is unquestionably one the most sought after resorts when it comes to luxury offerings in the whole of Mindanao. The 14 hectare area was once a pearl farm located in a quiet cove of Samal and was transformed into one of the Philippine’s leading resorts surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking vistas. This resort has got you covered when it comes to a relaxing paradise holiday away from home whether it’s for a day tour, overnight or longer.
The resort has two swimming pools, beach, restaurant, bar, conference rooms, gym, spa, gym and movie lounge. Water activities include jet skiing, banana boat, kayaking and snorkelling. Accomodation tariffs vary depending on the type of villa and they offer promo prices through out the year.
When I visited this resort, I organised our day tour package at their Abreeza Mall booking office at JP Laurel Avenue Davao City. Weekend rate was 2,500 Php per person, which includes round trip boat transfer (45 minutes), buffet lunch and use of facilities.
Accommodation Rates are not currently published on their website!
Arriving by private car in Samal can be a hit and miss, during our previous trips we always got on the barge in no time but our last visit in September was a different story. We waited for over an hour because of a queue to board the barge at Babak Port on our way back to Davao City. We learned a lesson on this visit, next time take a ferry ride instead of driving for a breezy and hassle free resort transfer.
The national road in Samal Island is fine, it’s sealed but the road leading to the resorts definitely needs improvement, it is a very uneven and quite rough, it’s a shame that nothing has been done to improve it. Perhaps it’s part of the island life experience but come on, it’s 2018!
Always check out the resort’s condition of entry, most operators will not allow you to bring food and alcohol into their resort, don’t forget to carry a good insect repellant, sun screen and protection as well as suitable and appropriate clothing for your stay.
Lastly, contrary to some of the news about tourist security on the island, I have always found Samal Island to be a peaceful and perfectly safe place to visit with my family and friends!
E_deliciou_S travels are paid for by ourselves.