15 Photos of Samal Island that Will Make You Want to Unplug

Here’s to more than three years of throwback to a quick getaway at the east-southern tip of Samal Island, Davao.  I may not vividly remember the details of getting there, but one thing I will never forget is the tranquility of being one with nature. 

Samal Island is Davao’s beach haven.  Instead of heading to the more popular (and more expensive) beach resorts on the west side of the island facing Davao City, we chose to stay at the south-eastern tip of Island Garden Resort.  The resort is in Brgy. Pangubatan.

Let me share some photos of Samal Island that will make you want to unplug from the busy world. Hope you enjoy it.


Island Garden Resort in Samal Island


Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

One of the tree houses at the beachfront

The journey getting here is not that straight forward but the reward is worth it – seclusion.  Island Garden Resort has opened only more than 6 months ago when we got there in July 2013.  The rooms like the one we had are rustic and basic, and we loved it.  The best rooms, however, are the two tree houses fronting the beach.  Both rooms were reserved at that time.

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

We arrived at dinner time and we only had the morning till after lunch the next day to explore the surrounding beach.  So we went for an early morning walk along the shorelines on both sides of the resort’s beach front.

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island Island Garden Resort, Samal Island Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island Island Garden Resort, Samal Island Island Garden Resort, Samal Island Island Garden Resort, Samal Island Island Garden Resort, Samal Island Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

At one end of the shoreline before the beach got rocky is a small lagoon

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

There’s a floating cottage in front of the resort and snorkeling sites nearby the resort.  Unfortunately, time was not in our favor and we did not have the chance to see underwater life.

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

We had a delicious seafood meal before we said goodbye to this peaceful sanctuary.

I would have loved another day or two in the island as there's a lot more activities to do (and not to do – I mean, just resting in the hammock and beach bumming).   There’s island hopping in Talicud Island, snorkeling, and Hagimit Falls.

And if you’re back in Davao City, why not try fresh durian at the Magsaysay Market?

Island Garden Resort, Samal Island

Durian fruit – either you hate it or like it!

Samal Island from Davao City


Here’s how we got there, as far as I can remember:

  • We took a bus heading to Peñaplata in Samal from Magsaysay Park in Davao City. To cross Samal Island, the bus gets into a Roll-on-roll-off (RORO) ferry at Sasa Wharf.  That means we don’t have to get off the bus. Our bus ticket already includes the ferry ride, which takes about 15 minutes.
  • We got off at Peñaplata, then took another bus ride to Kaputian (~23 km).
  • From there, we took a habal-habal (motorcycle) ride to the resort. Coming to Samal Island, we came directly from Surigao del Sur, where we also had a long habal-habal ride a day before this.  That ride blistered the end of my lower spine.  No kidding, it really did.  With a driver and 2 passengers at the back, it was unfortunate I got my butt stationed at the farthest end where my spinal bone rubs with the metal arch supporting the back seat.  When I learned we’ll have to go through another habal-habal ride, you know why the idea wasn’t that welcome.

Aren’t you missing being a beach bum? Why not make Samal Island your next destination?


  1. Nancy 12 November, 2016 at 03:37 Reply

    Your photo’s of Samal Island are giving me the idea that I really need to make my way to that area. The beaches do look like the perfect place to unplug!

  2. MakeTime2SeeTheWorld (@VickiLouise86) 13 November, 2016 at 02:13 Reply

    I’ve never heard of this place but it has just shot straight to the top of my Philippines list. I’ve been looking for somewhere away from Palwan and Boracay (as everyone seems to go there) but this beautiful beach and fresh seafood sound like everything I want! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • findingjing 13 November, 2016 at 12:06 Reply

      Hi! Thanks for the comment. 🙂 Being a Filipino, I would put Boracay in my least recommended beaches in the Philippines. It have to admit though that Boracay has one of the finest sands I’ve seen, but too much crowd and over-development is the drawback. I’d still think Palawan is a must see as it has a lot of other smaller islands that are within off the beaten track.

  3. kunaltreks 19 April, 2019 at 23:12 Reply

    Samal island is added to my travel bucket list , the sea food seems to be amazing.
    thanks for sharing the information.

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