A trip to Davao is also a trip to the Island Garden City of Samal for me. The neighboring island province makes a Davao trip just complete and more worthwhile since I am a beach lover. When people think of Davao, people think of Pearl Farm, when it is actually in Samal. I have been to Paradise Island Resort twice, being the most accessible beach from Davao City. It's so near, you could have lunch there and go back afterwards.
This time, we had the time to explore more of Samal. We didn't make any plans, so after staying at Paradise, we went back to the city to catch a ferry to Talicud Island off Samal as our ultimate destination. It was described as a rustic island paradise, with white sandy beaches and fantastic coral life.
We took a ferry to Talicud Island from Sta. Ana Port in Davao City. The boat left at 12 noon, and arrived in Talicud an hour and a half later. We were supposed to stay at Isla Reta so we took a stupid 2 minute boat ride from the port to Isla Reta, which turned out to be just beside the port. In any case, we had our boatman wait for us as we checked out the place. Isla Reta had a very nich beach and vibe, with trees lined along its shore, giving some inviting shade. However, the place lacked good accommodations, and we weren't prepared to rough it out. No food. No beddings or towels. So we had to look for another resort.
We then went to Kaputian, the center of Samal. From there, we asked around for some resorts, but there wasn't anything that was accommodating enough. The Kaputian Beach Resort, which was their public beach was full, and we were shown a bodega like room which in no way we would sleep. It was nice to see that the public beach was very well maintained. The picture below shows the white sands of Kaputian.
Fortunately, someone overheard us looking for a resort. The guy approached us and gave us a calling card of a new nearby resort, Hof Gorei, just beside the famed Pearl Farm. I called and booked a huge room for the six of us. We initially planned to explore Talicud Island, since we had limited time. Our flight was tomorrow night, and I was worried we wouldn't be able see anything. But it was already late in the afternoon, so we decided to just head straight to the resort and explore tomorrow morning.
Hof Gorei was a blessing after feeling hopeless in finding a place to stay. We were the only ones in the resort, and it was huge and beautiful. The resort was nestled on a slope which gave the colorful cottages fabulous views of the Davao Gulf. There was a restaurant, a bar and a refreshing swimming pool.
There was even a condominium type building on the very top that had a patio that made me feel I was in the Mediterranean because of its design. The fabulous Madam Jeanne Kroelle was our most gracious host and had pampered us with royalty service (imagine clapping and an attendant comes right up to you).
The barkada room could sleep 8 people, which was perfect for us. It cost us P4,000 for a night. Other rooms cost P3,500 but could only sleep a maximum of three. There was also the Leaning Hut which was perched on a hill. The place looked high end, just right for a night of relaxation after an exhausting afternoon. The food was expensive though, and not spectacular, but tolerable. There was a beach front but not really meant for swimming.
We went up Madame Jeanne's house which was under construction at that time to see the view. It was 200 steps I think up, giving us a great vantage point. You could see Pearl Farm from a distance. It was just beside Hof Gorei that you could walk the beach going there.
We explored Talicud Island the next day, heading straight to the popular Babusanta Beach. Blogs described it having crystal clear waters perfect for snorkeling. So we made sure we brought our snorkeling gear along. We arrived at Babusanta at around 10AM. The ruins of a jetty was its most prominent landmark, which gave it a sense of character.
The beach was white though the sand was not powder fine. There were a lot of natural debris on the shore and three more boats full of tourists were present. It wasn't really the rustic paradise I had imagined, since there were makeshift houses on the other beach. There were a number of fishing boats as well. However, we moved to one end of the beach and found a spot that made us feel castaway.
We had a hearty lunch of grilled fish that we bought from the fishermen. We left around 2PM to snorkel in the reefs nearby. The water was clear indeed, but was very very disappointed when a stream of trash made its way to the reefs. Again, another wake up call to all locals and tourists. I think the trash even came from Davao City. They formed a line going with the current. The reef was fantastic though, and there was a steep cliff/wall of coral that seemed to plunge into infinity. We went back to Hof Gorei hurriedly to catch the last ferry from Kaputian back to Davao City.
All in all, Talicud Island and Samal are worth the trip from Davao. Hof Gorei gave us a memorable resort experience and we wish to come back. The ferry ride back to Davao City was one of the best I had experienced. I went up the roof and marveled at the most golden sunset I have ever seen. It was priceless.
Hof Gorei Resort
Kaputian, Island Garden City of Samal
Davao del Norte, Philippines 8120
Tel. Nos. (+6382) 2860238
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
HOF GOREI BOAT
8am from Sta. Ana Pier
2pm from Sta. Ana Pier
Departure from Resort
3pm from Hof Gorei