More often than not, the setting of the place that we are bound to explore has a strong bearing on our entire vacation experience. So if you’re looking for a place somewhere in Davao that is worthy of your time and money, then Samal is your perfect escape.
Nestled in the coast of Davao Gulf in Southern Philippines, you have all the time in the world to choose from more than 70 resorts dotted around the island showcasing access to fine-looking white sand beaches, clear azure waters and diverse accommodation choices.
A charming haven- an island, a garden and a metropolitan all rolled into one, Island Garden City of Samal takes pride of its teeming wildlife, stunning waterfalls, awe-inspiring caverns and scenic underwater sanctuaries. With such great fusion of tourist attractions, Samal has been dubbed as a region for tourism wellness.
Samal is a fourth class city in the province of Davao del Norte, Philippines, situated in Davao Gulf, detached from the mainland Mindanao thru a body of water which can be traversed thru a 15-munute barge ride from Km. 11, Sasa, Davao City to Babak Port or thru a 45-minute trip to Kaputian and Penaplata warf from Sta. Ana Wharf, Davao City. Samal’s official name is Island Garden City of Samal and is composed of Samal Island and Talicud Island.
The closest distance from Samal to Davao City is either thru Barangay Caliclic and Km. 10 Sasa, which is around 900 metres. Geographically, Samal is to be found latitude 6º 54’00” and 7º 11’28” north, and between longitude 125º 39’30” and 125º 47’28” east.
The Island Garden City of Samal takes pleasure in its tropical climate, ranging from mild to pleasant weather for the entire year. Usually the rainy months are from June to August while the cool months are from September to February. The dry/summer season on the other hand usually starts from March to May. Nonetheless, there is no definite declaration of the dry or rainy season in Samal since the weather conditions may vary from time to time.
Low Season for tourists can be observed typically during the rainy season or school days. Accommodations during the low season are relatively cheaper depending on the chosen resort. So if you would like to have more quality time with yourself and your loved ones minus the jam-packed crowd, it is highly recommended to visit Samal during the months of June to September.
The peak season of tourists is typically during long weekend holidays, Holy Week, Summer Season and sem-breaks. Be sure to book your chosen resort early since resorts may be fully-booked most of the time during these days and rates may be higher than its regular rates.
From Manila, you can book either Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific Air to take you to Davao City. Travel time is around 1 hour and 45 minutes. From the Davao International Airport to Km-11 Sasa, travel time is around 7-15 minutes if you take the taxi. From the Km. 11 Sasa Port to Babak Warf is around 10-15 minutes ride thru a barge.
In heading to Samal from Davao City, there are many routes that you may explore:
Via Sta. Ana Wharf:
- You may take the ferry boat in Sta. Ana Wharf just close to the famous Magsaysay Park. Ferry Boats from this port will take you to Kaputian Warf.
Via Km. 11 Sasa Wharf
- Positioned along JP Laurel Avenue, Sasa, Km. 11 wharf is where you can find barges which takes passengers to Babak Port.
Via Private Boats
- Majority of resorts usually have private boats which can transport clients from the city proper directly to their resort. You just have to contact the resort beforehand so your transfers can be arranged accordingly.
- Island City Express is the only bus company which has trips from Davao to Samal.
Route: Agdao to Km 11 Wharf (Davao City), Ferry Service to Kinawitnon Wharf, to Kaputian via Babak and Penaplata (Samal Island) & vice versa.
Whether from Babak Port or Kaputian Port, there are single motorcycles and some multi-cabs available which can take you to your chosen resort. Just haggle well with the driver so you can get your money’s worth.
For more convenience, you may also contact your chosen resort to arrange the transfers for you but expect the price to be quite expensive.
If you have your own car or perhaps rented a car for the entire day, you may explore Samal Island yourself. Just strictly follow the signboards along the streets or you may ask some assistance from the locals so you won’t get lost.
Philippine Peso is the currency used all throughout the Philippines. Bill currencies are: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 pesos. ONB (One Network Bank) is the only local bank with a branch in Samal so it is best that you bring enough cash with you all the time. Some resorts accept credit card/debit card payments though but not all resorts offer these modes of payment.
Unlike Boracay, Samal Island is not yet so commercialized so don’t expect to find shopping centres when you get there. There are only convenience stores and wet markets in the area which can’t cater for all your personal needs.
Samal Island is serviced by SMART, GLOBE AND SUNCELLULAR mobile providers, however, there are certain areas with poor reception and signal may be weak depending on how secluded the resort is.