Samal. Island in Mindanao, Philippines


Island in Mindanao, Philippines

Ista Reta Beach, Samal, Davao (2) Photo © Constantine Agustin

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Recognized as the largest resort city in the Philippines, the island garden city of Samal boasts over 70 beach resorts around its area, a rich marine wildlife, and a number of natural wonders waiting to be explored by adventure seekers from all over the world. Samal is an amazing resort island located in the province of Davao del Norte (Wikipedia Article), and only a 10-minute ferry ride from Davao City. It is quickly becoming one of the top summer destinations of the Philippines, and is quite frequented by foreigners due to its pristine beaches and alluring diving attractions.


Hagimit Falls

Aside from alluring beaches and powder white sands, the island of Samal has plenty of other natural wonders including the Hagimit Falls. Locals have set up a few cottages near the attraction to accommodate visitors but this small multi-tiered waterfall is still untouched, undeveloped, and hidden in the lush forest of the island. The waterfalls is located 2 kilometers away from the Penaplata proper.

Monfort Bat Cave

The popular bat cave of Samal Island is home to the largest colony of Rousette fruit bats in recorded history. The single colony of fruit bats cover almost 75% of the entire ceilings and walls of the 75 meter-long cave. The cave is maintained and owned by the Indigo-Monfort family, and is open to the public for viewing.

Talikud Island

The beautiful Talikud Island, which situated southwest of Samal, is regarded as the next Boracay of the south. Just like its sister island, Talikud also houses a number of luxury resort hotels and world-class diving spots. Currently, the island is being developed by the local government in order to compete with other popular summer destinations in the country.

Big Ligid Island and Small Ligid Island

Situated along the northeast of Samal, the Big and Small Ligid Islands are top diving sites in Davao. There are two limestone caves in the area where tourists can experience the extraordinary underwater marine life of the province. The Ligid caves also have interesting passageways that divers will surely love to explore.

Vanishing Island

The Vanishing Island is one of the most interesting and unique tourist attractions in Davao. The island can only be accessible during low tide because it vanishes during high tide (hence the name). The island is also one of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Samal.


The charm of Samal Island extends to its number of delightful restaurants and wide selection of specialties. A popular dining option on the island is “the Venue”, which is located just beside the wharf in Kinawitnon. The Bahay Kubo in Penaplata is also recommended for its elegant ambiance and exquisite local cuisines. Most resort hotels on the island also have its very own restaurants, serving all kinds of Filipino and international cuisines to suit the taste of both foreign and local visitors.


Samal offers a myriad of world-class beach resorts and hotels situated along the white sands of the island. The most popular resort on the island is the Pearl Farm Beach Resort. What used to be a humble pearl farm that cultivated oysters from the Sulu Sea (Wikipedia Article) has now become one of the premier resorts in the country.

Other tourist’s favorites are the Bluejaz Beach Resort and Waterpark and the Maxima Aqua Fun and Canopy Tours. Bluejaz Resort is locally well-known for its wide selections of water sports and modern amenities, while the Maxima Aqua Fun is popular for its 40-meter waterslide and its one-of-a-kind trekking adventures. Aside from the ones mentioned, there are also plenty of other resorts and affordable accommodation options available on the island for all types of travelers.

Getting There

Going to Samal Island is quick and convenient due to its close proximity to Davao City. Tourists from Manila and from outside of the Philippines can take a plane ride directly to Davao. Flights are catered at the Davao International Airport (formerly Francisco Bangoy International Airport). Upon arriving at the airport, tourists can take a taxi ride to these three established entry points to the Island of Samal.
  • Santa Ana Wharf – near Magsaysay Park and downtown, several motorboats are available to take tourists directly to Kaputian (Samal) and Talikud Island.
  • Sasa, Km. 11 Wharf – motorboats are available to take tourists directly to Babak wharf (Samal)
  • Sasa, Km. 11 Ferryboat LandingIsland City Express buses are available to take tourists (by ferryboat) to Babak wharf and Kaputian (Samal).

Aside from these established ports, there are also other entry points to Samal such as the Lanang Beach Club, Waterfront wharf, and Pearl Farm wharf, which are only available for chartered, private motorboats.


Davao City (including Samal Island) has been dubbed the safest city in the entire Philippines, thanks to the vigilant efforts of the city mayor and local authorities. Tourists, especially foreigners are still advised to watch over themselves especially when dealing with locals.

Travel Tips

  • The ideal time to visit Monfort Bat Cave is during sunset. This is usually the time when the colony of fruit bats fly outside their cave to hunt for insects and feed off fruits.
  • When staying a day or two in Samal, it is better to book a resort hotel in advance and have them arrange convenient transportation for you to the island.

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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Dec 17, 2014

Pictures of Samal

Ista Reta Beach, Samal, Davao (5) - Samal
Ista Reta Beach, Samal, Davao (5) - Photo by Constantine Agustin

Samal Island - Mt. Apo Sidetrip - Samal
Samal Island - Mt. Apo Sidetrip - Photo by incrediblethots

Ista Reta Beach, Samal, Davao (6) - Samal
Ista Reta Beach, Samal, Davao (6) - Photo by Constantine Agustin


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