Monday, February 08, 2010

Samal Island (Garden City)



samal islandFinally, I had landed in Davao City and stepped foot on Mindanao soil. My first destination in the area was the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS). Though it was already evening once I had arrived and too dark to take note of my new surroundings, I could already tell that things were different.

First, I could not understand the dialect, as they were speaking Bisaya. Obviously this did not work to my advantage, though I could still sense the gist of certain things being said. I learned that a lot of people can speak Tagalog (though a good bit of people cannot) but will not do so unless asked. Even on TV, a number of shows are done in the dialect of Bisaya or have a Visayan counterpart (like ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda).

I estimate that I arrived at the bus station 200 pesos poorer than I should have been as I did not notice that the taxi driver did not turn on the meter. He ended up hustling me into paying 350 pesos for what should have been a 150 peso or less fare. Apparently, there are a good number of cons everywhere--whether in Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao.

I was kind of disappointed when getting on the bus--as if perhaps it was a mistake to come to Mindanao. I opened my seat's window and just let the wind take my thoughts away.

It was pitch black with rain drizzling down by the time I had reached the ferry station. Yet, to my surprise, there was no need to get off the bus as the bus went straight on the ferry, which the people call a "roro." The roro was able to take us straight to Samal Island, which is actually still part of the province of Davao del Norte and only a few minutes away from Davao City.

15 or 20 minutes probably had passed before we arrived on Samal. From the entry point of Babak, we would head down the island past the capital of PeƱaplata, and I would finally get off at San Isidro or otherwise known as Kaputian. There, I stayed at my host's humble home, which I would come to discover played a great variety of music coming from a karaoke machine from dawn until dusk.

I must admit that I felt much better the following morning. Peering out the window, I smiled upon laying sight on the glorious beauty of Samal Island, which the bright morning sun had illuminated. Tall coconut trees towered over the grassy fields like they were guardians of this paradise. Clean, green, and fresh, it is certainly difficult for a place to get any better than this--aesthetically speaking.

Just a walking distance away was the coast--a spectacular, white sanded beach complemented by bright aqua blue water that gradually turned into a dark deep blue as you looked farther into the ocean. Peering out onto the horizon, one could see Talicud Island slightly to the left and Davao City to the right with the great Mt. Apo (the largest mountain in the Philippines) rising above the clouds in the background.

Even their church made a unique complement to the place as it was shaped like a shell. Yet the pearl did not lay inside the oyster shelled church... To me, the pearl is the island itself.

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Below is a map of Samal Island and its surrounding satellite islets.

samal island map

2 comments:

the donG said...

this is a great preview of our trip there by end of this month. just in time dave!

meron pa rin pala talagang manloloko kahit sa probinsya.

adventurous guy said...

@ don: sorry to tell you that the taxi driver he is referring to is not a taxi driver from the province....he came all the way from davao city so that driver is a city driver and it happened (the incident) not in the province it is in Davao City, samal is part of davao del norte which davao city is not part of...okey

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