Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Samal Island : Escapade on an Island Paradise

A small island off the coast of Davao City, Samal Island is actually a city known as Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), and was formerly composed of three different towns (Babak, Penaplata, Kaputian) which was later merged to form the city. 

Sinapaan Island (Vanishing Island). Samal, Davao del Norte.
The island's official name includes the word "garden" and that made me curious. I thought then that the city must be a very large garden with so much to see and do, and lo! I was not mistaken. I was able to visit the island city finally during my 4 days Davao Region town hopping activity, and man, I was not disappointed!

After having a short tour around Panabo City, I immediately got on a jeepney which brought me to Sasa Wharf. From the wharf, passenger boats (at a very minimal fare : 14 or 16 pesos) are available which brought me to the island I was dreaming of visiting for so many years already.

View from Binoling Bridge. Samal, Davao del Norte
At the port, I met with a friend I met online, Wilmar Ranes, who helped in making my not more than 2 days stay in Samal Island unforgettable. He arranged an itinerary for me where I was able to visit much of Samal Islands' beautiful spots in just under 2 days. One of our first stop is the Binoling Bridge from where beautiful natural scene can be seen. The river below the bridge is supposedly the river where the Island's Princess take a bath once upon a time.

Talikud Island. Samal, Davao del Norte.
We also visited Kaputian Beach at the the southern part of the Island where there is a very clear view of the Talikud Island, and of course, the very fine white sand beach. (I will be creating a separate post about Kaputian on the coming days). 

Balete Park. Samal, Davao del Norte.
After Kaputian, we had a visit of Balete Park where the main attraction is a century old Balete Tree located inside an elementary school. Said Balete Tree is smaller and younger than the more famous Balete Tree of Maria Aurora Town in Aurora Province but is equally beautiful (and haunting?). 

View of Mt. Apo. Malipano Island View Deck, Samal, Davao del Norte.
Going back to Babak, we stopped at Malipano Island Viewing Deck (another separate post later) where Malipano Island can be seen as well as other islands which are part of the famous Davao Pearl Farm. My favorite scene in the said viewing deck is the Majestic Mt. Apo view.

We also got to visit some other spots that day (The Historical White House and the Japanese Cave House) until we decided to just continue touring the city the next day. I thought that was it but Wilmar asked me whether I am up for a night swimming! I immediately said yes and we then go to Babak Beach to enjoy its cool, night water. (Babak Beach actually looks like a very small Boracay where bars and restaurants are present)

Penaplata Garden. Municipal Hall, Samal, Davao del Norte.
We continued the Samal Island Tour the next day. Because I am a fanatic of city/municipal halls and churches, I made it a point that I will be able to visit all the halls and churches of each of the Island's districts (which were independent towns before as I have mentioned earlier). The most beautiful one is Penaplata Town Hall which is the present city hall of the whole IGaCoS. 

Hagimit Falls. Samal, Davao del Norte.
Next destination was the Hagimit Falls where numerous small but beautiful falls can be seen. Swimming in the falls are allowed and picnic huts and table are available for rent.   

Monfort Bat Colony. Samal, Davao del Norte.
Next stop is the Monfort Bat Colony where the largest colony of Rousette fruit bats in the whole world can be found (as verified by the Guinness Book of World Record).  An entrance fee of 100 pesos is collected before one is allowed to go inside the private premises that houses the bat colony. 

Sinapaan Island (Vanishing Island). Samal, Davao del Norte.
The very last destination I was able to visit is the Sinapaan Island (also known as the Vanishing Island), an island owned by the Sama Tribe of Samal. Said island (which is actually a sandbar) "vanishes" during high tide but reappears during low tide. It was the most beautiful spot of Samal Island I had seen and visited and a perfect last spot to cap my escapade on an Island Paradise called Samal (a separate post about the Vanishing island will be available soon). 

I left Samal Island at 12 noon that day for Davao City, feeling somewhat unsatisfied yet because my stay was too short to be able to enjoy and savor the beauty and serenity of the island to the fullest. I promised myself I will be back to the island as soon as I can.

Special thanks is due to Wilmar Ranes for his hospitality and generosity and for showing the best of  Samal Island to me. Another thanks goes to Deejay Bulay, the person I originally connected with to help me out during my Samal Island Escapade, and introduced me to Wilmar. He got out of his way to reply to my message even though he is abroad just to make sure that I will enjoy Samal.

*For those who would want to contact Wilmar for assistance in touring Samal Island, just comment and leave your email below or contact me so I would be able to give you his number.


This is part of my Davao Region Tour, November 30 to December 2, 2013

Samal Island
Halls and Churches
Historical Places
Kaputian Beach and the Samal Art Legacy
Malipano Island View Deck
Natural Attractions
Vanishing Island

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About the Author

I am ROMEL RAFOR JAIME, the man behind San Josenyong Gala. My travel blogger name came about because I am a proud resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In real life, I am a licensed librarian who works in a college in Gapan, Nueva Ecija as a librarian and teaches general education subjects from time to time. My goal is to visit all the 81 provinces of the Philippines before visiting other countries. As of 2017, I have already visited 73... :)


  1. As a second person to post a comment brad. heheheh this is my reaction splenderiffic wowerific superific spirkitik in short superb! heheh.,Cant imagine you made this all for jsut 2days..,. happy to see you very joyous in savoring our secret little island it was indeed a paradise.. you are welcome to come back anytime, thanks for introducing our island.. special mention mo pa talaga pangalan ko..,ahahahaha nice one sir

    1. Syempre, special mention tlaga kayo ni wilmar brader. Salamat ulit!

    2. Special mention talaga bro salamat.... ako dapat magpasalamat

  2. yaaaayyy ! napakaganda po. - hopefully makapunta po ko ndyan . heaven *3* =D

  3. isa tong maganda bro pero may nahanap narin akong isang paraiso parte ng norte :) invite kita kapg nakaluwag luwag na... :) kita kita ulit sa gala...

    1. Cge brod... Saan ba yan? Bisitahin mo rin tong Samal... Tiyak, mag-e-enjoy ka...

  4. Hi. I would like to visit the Island too for location hunting for a documentary program. May I have Wilmar's contact info? :)

    1. Hi Miss Lovelle! Here is my number : 09436582214
      Please text me so I can forward his number to you... Happy Trip! :)

  5. Ayan, naExcite ako lalo mag Davao dahil sa dami ng waterscapes na napuntahan mo (especially the waterfalls). Thanks sa pagrefer Romel!!! :)

  6. Replies
    1. Welcome po... And we should also thank IGACOS for being beautiful... :)

    2. Welcome po... And we should also thank IGACOS for being beautiful... :)

  7. Hello po. Magkano ba ang habal habal rates nyu around samal? May alam ka ba na rates para sa island hopping to specific areas?

  8. Hello po. Magkano ba ang habal habal rates nyu around samal? May alam ka ba na rates para sa island hopping to specific areas?