View Full Version : Things to do in Samal

6th June 2015, 21:32

Read more: http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/travel/shareph/davao/75772-island-garden-city-samal-things-to-do

7th June 2015, 07:11

Am I lucky or what living here in Mindanao :Jump:

3rd August 2015, 07:21
The photo in the OP is of Pearl Farm Beach Resort as is another photo - of Malipano Island - in the linked Rappler article. Malipano Island is an integral part of Pearl Farm and not a separate resort.

I've visited this resort very recently and I have to say that it is the best beach resort certainly on Mindanao and probably in the whole country. It stacks up well against resorts in parts of the Caribbean (such as St Barts and Sint Maarten) for comfort, food, facilities and safety.

Here's my write-up:

It was my birthday last weekend - my 65th, if you're asking - and I wanted to do something a bit special to celebrate. We were in SM on Friday and my wife suggested we take the family on a day trip to the Pearl Farm Resort on Samal Island whose booth we had just passed.

The resort is about two-thirds the way down the western coast and is reachable via a ro-ro and about an hour's drive once across. But we discovered that all their packages included return boat transfers from their own marina in Davao City thus saving us a considerably lengthier drive. All we had to do was arrive at their marina no later than 45 minutes prior to a boat departure and they would take care of the rest. Our party consisted of 3 adults and 3 children aged between 10 years and 18 months for which I was charged just over 11,000 Pesos to include return transfers, buffet-style luncheon and use of the resort's facilities for the day. Quite expensive but not excessively so.

The first boat of the day departs at 9am and we duly turned-up three-quarters of an hour beforehand having been awakened a couple of hours earlier by the delivery of a text message to inform us that the sea state was calm and that the boat would be leaving on time. There's a pretty thorough security check on all bags and baggage and they examined our son's pushchair closely. As party leader I had to sign the boat's manifest and then we were invited to wait in their coffee lounge whose furniture, ambiance and menu are reminiscent of Starbucks. Very comfortable.

We boarded the boat at about 8:45. But this was no ordinary banka but a very modern GRP trimaran built at an international yard in Subic last year. It had obviously been constructed to a very high standard with stainless steel deck fittings and powder-painted steel awning supports. We left the marina quay bang on nine o'clock - not that we heard the marine diesel engine or felt its vibrations. The trip to the resort took around 45 minutes.

On arrival and whilst waiting for the pushchair and baggage to be unloaded from beneath the banka's main deck, uniformed waiters offered us glasses of iced pineapple, orange and mango juices. Once reunited with the pushchair we walked the few yards to the first of the resorts three swimming pools, each of which has an integrated childrens' paddling pool whose depth went from 6 inches to 1 foot. Nearby there's a decent number of sun-loungers, arranged in pairs under huge umbrellas ad we set-up camp. An attendant came bearing half a dozen huge towels and told us that we could get fresh towels at any time, should we need them.

I was quite surprised to learn that the resort is wholly-owned and run by a local Filipino family. They have not spared any expense in creating and equipping a world class resort. In the eight years I've been here, I've stayed at or visited a number of resorts all over the country and this has to be the very best. In addition to the swimming pools I mentioned, you can go SCUBA-diving, snorkelling, hire jet skiis, water-ski, be towed astride a number of differently-shaped inflatables - such as a 'banana boat' - be pampered in the spa, work-out in a fully-equipped gym or take a trip to Malipano Island a couple of miles away which is also part of the resort and where, in addition to secluded beaches, there's a chapel and the resort's helipad (transfers from Davao International Airport are available at considerable extra cost using the resort's eight passenger Eurocopter). Outdoor and indoor games are also available but I did notice a lack of basketball facilities which I thought rather odd. But there is a Beach Volley-ball court. On one of its beaches (where else!).

Accommodation is available in a range of free-standing villas which range in size from one to six bedrooms (which will cost you just short of a grand for a one night stay including 3 meals and transfers). All these villas are built from modern materials but designed to resemble traditional native houses; those along the sea shore stand on high wooden stilts. All are fitted-out to a very high standard and include telephone, cable TV, aircon and hot and cold bathrooms.

I use to rave about the quality and variety of the buffets at Plantation Bay - a hotel beach resort on Mactan - and Cebu's Marco Polo Hotel which well-deserves its five stars. Now I can happily add the Pearl Farm's buffet to the list. It is nothing short of excellent with many choices of main dishes, accompaniments and deserts and, happily, it's an "all you can eat" deal. I especially liked the Chicken Cordon Bleu (chicken breasts stuffed with ham and Cheddar cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried) and their potato wedges coated in butter and chopped fresh chives and served with homemade mayonnaise. Tiramisu was one of the pud choices - there were many others. All beautifully prepared and presented. Apparently all the veg and salad ingredients are grown on the resort's own organic farm; the chicken and pork is free-range and organic.

My hat's off to this family. It's by no means a cheap resort - the cheapest room costs Php 12,400 for two people - but they don't "nickel-and-dime" you with the extras: you'd pay the same or more at other resorts. But you can be sure that all the equipment is checked and double-checked before being hired-out.

Our return transfer was at 4pm and, to be honest, we were bt that time quite tired and looking forward t0 going home after a fantastic day out. For that trip - being the last of the day - two bankas were laid-on and, with the benefit of hindsight, I was pleased that the trimaran was already full when we arrived at the landing stage. We - and about 20 other passengers - would be accommodated on an older traditional wooden banka with bamboo outriggers. The older craft had one distinct advantage - roll-down side covers similar to those deployed on Jeepneys when it rains. The trimaran had not been so equipped which would be fine but for the fact that it was by then raining very heavily in Davao City - but not at all on Samal). Those on the trimaran got drenched but we were spared that. We were, however, urged to don life-jackets as the boat captain had been advised over his VHF radio that conditions were quite squally in the channel between Samal and Davao; and he didn't want any accidents.

3rd August 2015, 15:39
Thanks for the write up, which I found very interesting.
We have promised ourselves a week at Pearl Farm next year before we head off to Yokohama for April and May.

Everyone we speak to raves about Pearl Farm but always with a 'but it's not cheap' ending.

5th August 2015, 12:42
a cheaper option is Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort..... obviously not the same standard as Pearl, but for the money, good value.


5th August 2015, 13:55
I stayed at Pearl Farm myself for 4 nights. Very nice indeed for that away from it all experience. Any longer though and it would get a little boring though. Coincidentally also the Marco Polo.

9th August 2015, 11:11
I went to Samal last year. I took a tricycle around looking for a nice place to stay. I never wanted to stay at the places that looked over to Davao, the tricycle driver kept taking me to some really bad looking places, in the end we got a boat to Talikud where there was a nice beach and resort, but they had no vacancies. So came back to Davao that same day. I should have taken some advice maybe of where to stay.

9th August 2015, 11:22
Not one to lie on a beach,been to pearl farm a few times though,what to DO on samal however,well a visit to monfort bat caves is a must,try to go at dusk and you might see one of the pythons trying to snaffle a bat,fantastic place :xxgrinning--00xx3: also the diving around samal and talikud is decent :smile::smile:

jeff in phils
7th January 2016, 01:37
I went to Samal Island this past August. I went to Sunset Beach. While, I enjoyed the Karaoke, drinks on the beach and fire dancers for entertainment, my little bungalow was a little too close to where all the action. I guess I was in one of the "party" resorts. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast, but didn't get much sleep at all! haha. Still was a lot of fun and would do it again if I was in that kind of mood. Next time I will book a room further away from the craziness though.

John Marrisy
30th April 2016, 07:25
I found very interesting post hear. what a greenery!!! Thia's so awesome place for visiting, If i want to try to join this place for my weekend , So Is hear every facility available for my family comfort? I want to join this service with my short family, Thanks.

21st October 2020, 09:04
Pearl Farm is the best place to stay. Confirmed!

7th December 2021, 21:38
Can I diving in this country?