I don’t really know anything about Samal except that it is in Mindanao. I randomly booked a trip to Davao with a friend few months ago because we’ve heard good things about the city and wanted to experience the place. Upon searching about Davao City’s attractions, Samal City would keep stumbling up. That’s when I found out that its just a nearby town that offers a variety of activities and attractions for a very affordable price.
There were just only the 2 of us in this Manila- Davao- Manila 4-days 4 nights trip and we planned most of our time to be consumed in Samal.
Friday- October 6, 2017
We arrived in Davao Airport at around 11 in the morning. We took a cab going to Sasa Wharf going to Samal. The fare was just P100 less. Make sure to bring your ID on hand because you’ll be needing to show it most of the time because of the on-going martial law in Mindanao. Upon our arrival in the port, there were armed military guys in the entry point to inspect our baggage and had us show our ID’s. The barge ride was only 15 pesos.
Note: Above is the barge transporting people and cars from davao to samal vv. It has an interval of arrival and departure of 20-30 minutes.
It only took us around 15 minutes to reach the Samal Wharf.
Upon arrival in Samal Port, we’ve decided to book in Holiday Camp Resort which is located just beside the port. For reviews:
We just spent our first few hours in our room because we got no sleep a night prior and the bed was really comfortable.
A hotel staff approached us later that afternoon about our plans in our Samal Tour which we didn’t have. He recommended to us his friend, Jay-R, a habal-habal driver who does tour services for the tourists. We somehow searched for the regular prices on the internet prior to our trip hence we are knowledgeable about the regular pricing of the said activity which was around P1500 for a whole day transportation services. He first offered us P2000 for the 2 of us in a single habal-habal and later agreed to P1400 (P 700 each).
The resort offers a variety of facilities and activities including a playground, beach, infinity pool, restaurant, live band and many more. We didn’t bother going anywhere to have our dinner because the restaurant in there has a wide menu and the place is just so relaxing.
We spent our whole night chilling in the infinity pool area until it closed at around 10pm. (They allow guests to bring foods in the pool area)
Saturday – October 7, 2017
We met our driver at 6 in the morning outside our hotel. The itinerary we prepared was to visit the Monfort Bat Cave first since its on the other side of the city, and then the Hagimit Falls to take advantage of the place while no one was still there,Blue bird View Deck, Kaputian Beach for Lunch, and lastly, the cliff diving spot grotto.
Monfort Bat Cave
From Camp Holiday Resort, the habal-habal ride took us about 15-20 minutes to reach the Monfort Batcave. Its opening hours is from 8am- 5pm which means we were early but we were still allowed to enter the place but just without a tourist guide.
The entrance fee was P100 which I personally think is a little bit pricey compared to other attractions in Samal which costs way way cheaper. For reviews:
The place generally looks like the above picture with me. Basically, there were 5 huge ground holes (caves) scattered around the area where bats are. People could peek from above because there were kawayan railings surround the wholes. Note that these railings are not structurally stable so don’t depend on it to support you because its a really major problem if you fell down.
- The place is extremely stinky because of the bats’ excretes if you would want to minimize (just minimize because you couldnt completely eliminate the strong odor), bring a mask or handkerchief with you.
- Wear pants or any longs bottoms because the place is full of mosquitos. Or you can apply off-lotions or whatever that would repel these insects. I counted my mosquito bites upon leaving the place and it was around 20!!! Its quite irritating that I haven’t read anywhere about it.
We didn’t stay long in the place because of the mentioned situations above. I don’t really recommend going to the place because I personally think that its not worth it. But if you’re really into bats, then go!
Our next destination was the famous Hagimit Falls. From the Bat Cave, it took us around 30-40 minutes of habal-habal ride to reach the Falls. We were lucky to be the first people to go there that day because it means that we got so much time to take pictures without anyone blocking the view.
The entrance fee was only P15.00. Yes. Only P15. However, the cottages cost at around P150- P400 depending of the size. If you will be swimming or dipping in the water, you are required to get a cottage. In our case, we originally didn’t plan of swimming in there but the falls was just so inviting. So we availed the P150 cottage good for 4 people. There were also guides in the area that would help tourists in finding the perfect spots for pictures. We also availed the guide’s services which is more than worthy because he was really helpful and showed us the secret passage behind the falls which I won’t say and its for you guys to find out. We gave him a tip of P100 as what our driver suggested.
- If you want an unobstructed shot of the falls, you should go as early as 8am (its opening time) because the place is that famous that it is always packed. In my experience, people started to arrive at around 10 in the morning.
- Hire a guide to take photos of you and tour you in the place. Its nice if someone would inform you about the do’s and don’ts for only a hundred pesos. Right?
- Wear comfortable clothing because it requires you a 15-20 minute walk to reach the falls.
- They have comfort rooms.
Blue bird view deck
Our next stop was blue bird view deck. It was an estimated of 30-minute habal-habal ride from the Hagimit Falls. The entrance fee was only P10.00
Basically, the place was on the topmost portion of Samal overlooking the pearl farm island. It was a nice place for relaxation but we didn’t stay for too long since there wasn’t any activity in the area except for the viewdeck.
We chose to have lunch in Kaputian beach because it is where variety of karinderya’s are surrounded (Karinderya- small filipino restaurant “eatery”). We first had our lunch in a restaurant beside the entrance of the beach before actually going to the beach. Note that there are no eaterys inside the beach. We decided to just pay for our habal-habal driver’s meal.
P15.00 is the entrance fee in the beach. The cottages rent however ranges from 200-500 pesos which is a little bit pricey for only the 2 of us. We decided to just find a chill spot under a tree and leave our belongings to our driver while we enjoyed the beach.
The place actually deserved its name “Kaputian” because the sand was really white (Kaputian means white in English).
There are no other water activities in the area except for swimming.
- Wear swimming shoes because there are sea urchins on the sea. My friend accidentally stepped on one and it almost ruined our vacation because he couldn’t barely walk! The remedy for this however is pouring vinegar or urine on the affected area.
- Its better for you to bring foods and consume it by the beach.
We only stayed in the place for an hour because we have nothing left to do. We got no foods and got really tired of swimming under the extreme heat of the sun.
Grotto Cliff Jumping
This wasn’t really a part of the package but when our habal-habal driver found out that we love cliff jumping, he suggested for us to go to the place since its just along the way back to our hotel.
We just did not really expect that we would stay longer in there than the other “famous” places we’ve visited. It was really an undeveloped area where locals would just go and relax free of entrance.
The cliff was 45ft high which I had really no plans of jumping since the landing point was an open water and really really scary but the locals’ convincing powers were just good. They told me that the presidential daughter, Sara Duterte also jumped in there which made me think that I can do it too. Hahah. My friend was really scared for my life but it was actually fun!
After landing on the water, you needed to climb back again to the top of the cliff thru this thrilling stairs and with a rope. Just like mountain climbing but without a safety harness. It was actually more fun than the jumping part. Hahah.
- We stayed there for almost 2 hours going back in forth jumping and climbing the cliff. It was a fun experience that anyone capable should try.
- Wear aqua shoes because the rock formation below the cliff which you would pass through when going up again was really rough. Don’t jump without any footgear. Tried it and my sole were all bruises afterwards.
- The water starts to get itchy at around 3 in the afternoon which always happens in there said by the locals for reasons that they have no definite answer.
Back to Hotel
The habal-habal drive from the cliff to our hotel was almost 1-hr. We arrived at around 4-5 in the afternoon. We paid our driver the agreed amount of P1400. We definitely would recommend him. +639058664073 – Jay-r