at the Sasa Wharf
Ok, today will be dedicated to the beaches of Davao
. I woke up quite earlier than usual because we had to catch the boat that goes from mainland Davao to the Island Garden City of Samal
(yep, that's it's official name). I've heard a lot about the beaches in this island. Samal is also the home of Pearl Farm Beach Resort, one of the most famous (and expensive) beach resorts in the whole of Mindanao. Well, we're not going to Pearl Farm; instead, we'll settle ourselves with one of the cheaper resorts along Samal's northwest coast.
Before going to the Sasa Wharf, we dropped by a Chinese resto to get some food for the trip.
getting on the boat to Samal
We arrived at the wharf at around 9PM and boarded a boat (fare was P15) that will take us to Paradise Island Resort. Each resorts in the island, although side by side, has its own dock, so you have to board the right boat to get to your destination (you can't cross to the other resorts via the beach). The boat ride went smoothly and only took around 15 minutes. When we got close to the island, I started to notice the clear blue-green water, but there were also some garbage and beach dirts (translation: twigs, leaves, moss, etc. don't know what they're called) here and there. But from a distance, I already got a glimpse of the sands (whitish) and it got me all excited! J'adore la plage, bien sur!
However, my excitement dampened when we finally made it to the dock. Up close, the resort's beach area is very small, and most of it has been covered by roofs over dining tables where everyone eats their "baon" food.
Mon Dieu! Moreover, because it was low-tide, you can only "walk" a few meters from the beach to the water (there was a net separating the "swimmable" waters from the deeper waters). Where's the fun in that? Anyway, we paid the entrance fee (P90). went in, and tried our best to enjoy our time there (we didn't swim), ate our lunch, and still I had this nagging feeling that I should be somewhere else. I remembered a beach photo of a friend who is also from Davao, and this resort was not it. I asked Kathy if she knows of a different resort (she didn't, she doesn't know Davao that much although she lived there practically all her life - go figure), and finally we went to the resort's information desk.
They told us of another, smaller island southwest of Samal called Talicud, and there we could find better beaches.
Talicud Island as seen from Samal
We looked at a map and saw what they were referring to, and we thought that it's not very far from the resort, and they said we can go there by road. So we took our bags, took some food, and said goodbye to Kathy's mom and her cousin. We wanted them to come with us, but they preferred staying at the resort, thinking that Talicud Island was very far. And boy it was!
So, we got out of the resort through the back gate leading to a narrow dirt road. There were a bunch of motorcycle men waiting for tourists who want to transfer to a different resort, but at that time it was only Kathy and I. The fare cost P200 per head, and when we asked how long travel time is, they said 1 hour! What?!? One hour riding a motorcycle on a rough road?!? Kathy asked me if I thought it was worth the time and money (and danger), but by then I really wanted to get out of the resort and find a better beach, so I said let's go for it.
We could go to Pearl Farm which is nearer, but the entrance for day-trippers is P1,600 (according to the drivers). Tres cher. So we each mounted a bike and headed on our way.
The first 15 minutes of the ride was really bumpy, but it couldv'e been worse had our "drivers" not been expert on running the bikes on a rough road. To our relief, the dirt road connects to a paved, two-lane main road dissecting the entire island into two, so our ride should be smoother from then on (or so we thought). So, another 30 minutes passed, we rode faster because of the improvement in road condition. We also got to see more of Samal Island
, the countryside, town centers, schools, churches, and people.
I tried chatting with my driver a few times to ask what life is like in the island (he speaks Tagalog well enough) while Kathy's bike rode on ahead of us. It started to rain lightly, but I didn't mind because I love the rain and for me, it's part of the whole adventure. As we moved along, I started to appreciate what I was seeing more and more, and I thought to myself - not bad! There were even parts of the road where you'd see the sea (very scenic), but I didn't ask my driver to stop because we wanted to get to Talicud as soon as possible.
Then, we got to the part of the road that was still under construction. There were Constructicons digging everywhere, and at a point where the road winds downhill, we almost had an accident because an excavator's bucket hit the spot directly in front of us and lifted in just a millionth of a nanosecond.
the beach at Isla Reta Resort, Talicud Island
Well, something like that. Effin stupid operator didn't even stop what he's doing even though he's seen our bikes approaching! That got me really scared, and after that I didn't think of anything else but getting to our destination and getting off the damn bike.
So, arrived at the wharf that turned out to be another beach resort (no dock), a boatman haggled with us to ride on his boat for P100 (one-way), we agreed (mainly because we don't know which boat to take), then got on our way. As we neared Talicud, Kathy and I felt vindicated. The beach was gorgeous! We finally arrived in Isla Reta Resort after 15 minutes. In the resort, you can opt to stay during the day for picnics, etc. or camp overnight.
There was a ferry waiting at the dock, so we asked someone when it will leave for the mainland.
leaving Talicud Island
He said it's leaving at 3PM and that it will be the last trip back to Davao City; meaning, if you miss the ferry, you'd have to spend the night in the island. That's not too bad except that first, we're not prepared to camp overnight; and second, there's no electricity in the island! No way, Jose! Then I looked at my watch, and lo and behold, it's already 2:15PM!!! One hour of motor ride and only less than 45 minutes of frolicking on the beach?!? NOOO!!! So we changed and jumped in the water faster than you can say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" hehehe... well, what can we do, there was no electricity in the changing rooms! =D
Ok, so we barely got a tan when I remembered that we had less than 45 minutes to enjoy the waters. We also noticed that people were already starting to board the ferry, so we panicked.
storm is brewing...
What more, there were storm clouds coming closer and closer. So, got out of the water and ran to the changing rooms, noticed that we had less than 10 minutes to change and that there were no more people boarding the ferry, panicked even more, shouted at Kathy to not bother changing, grabbed a towel and wrapped it around myself, took some pics as evidence that we did make it to Talicud (of course, hehehe), and boarded the ferry just in time. Whew!
We barely had time to catch our breath (and dry ourselves) when the ferry finally left for Davao. On the ferry, we finally realized how we underestimated the size of Samal Island based on the map, because it's way bigger that we thought (hence the 1 hour bike ride from north to south). We caught a glimpse of Pearl Farm from the ferry (kinda nice) and some other resorts along the coast.
empty plates mean full stomachs...
Travel time took more or less 1 hour. When we arrived at the Sta. Ana Wharf, we took a cab and headed home, exhausted but still pumped up from our misadventures. Then I slept...
At 8PM, with dreams of being hit by an excavator still in my mind, Kathy woke me up and told me we'd go out for dinner. Since I was hungry, and haven't really gotten a taste of Davao's cuisine yet, I agreed (actually, as if I had a choice, I can't cook hehehe). So, after going around the city looking for a resto, we settled for Banoks, a resto that serves Filipino dishes. Why not? The food was good, (you should try their chicken) and the price even better. Very cheap! We left the resto very satisfied and content. We then went to one of Davao's famous night spots, Matina Town Square.
I invited Kathy and her cousin to enter one of the bars there, but they refused, so what was I to do? Drank beer by myself! Gggrrr...
Anyway, we went home at 1AM (we were in Davao, not Manila, so 1AM is late enough). When I finally hit the sack, I suddenly felt very exhausted from the long, rain-filled day that we had. I also reflected back on everything that happened that day, and I realized one valuable lesson that I learned: If you want a good beach in Davao, get a boat from Sta. Ana Wharf and not Sasa!!! =D Well, maybe next time. Good night...