Samal Island is a dream destination for anyone who lives in Davao and the nearby places. When I was young, when one can go to the Paradise Island, one of the pioneer resorts in the island (even before it was chartered to be a city in 1998) that means that person “can afford”.
When I left Davao indefinitely in 2001, Samal Island was still underdeveloped. It was more of a virgin island for me, dotted by a few private resorts. I remember that my sister’s best friend, Jane, often invites their group to their private rest house whenever possible.
When I came back 11 years later to observe the 10th death anniversary of my sister, I was shocked at home resort owners have “partitioned” the island to themselves.
What used to be a beachfront became measured strips of what they call a beach. I didn’t feel like it was a beach at all. Talk Baler, La Union, Zambales and Batangas beaches. On the other hand, it is a really safe place to swim for kids and non-swimmers since the area is blocked off from where the shallow and deep waters meet.
And so when I landed in Davao on a Saturday night, I booked the nearest hotel to the airport, and from there took a cab to the resort’s pick up point at Maryknoll Road in Brgy. Vicente Hizon. The chartered boat took me to the resort around noon, and it dawned on me that it was Palm Sunday and I should have called in advance to book.
Again, I would never have thought it would be that crowded. My memory of this place came from more than a decade ago.
The resort boasted of wifi access; to find out it’s only as long as you’re in the vicinity of the front desk. Ampf.
The following day, I wanted to try the gigantic water slides, but for some reasons, just ended up taking pictures of it.
The infinity pool staff are very strict when it comes to proper dress attire (a repeat of the Mambukal nightmare?) They wouldn’t allow my nylon shirt. So when you go there, be prepared with your proper swimwear.
There were stalls there for memorabilia, swimsuits in case you forgot to bring one, henna tattoo, and all sorts of things.
The food though has to be exclusively bought from the resort. As I’ve written on top, the resort owners have partitioned the island to themselves.
Well I’m not saying that Samal Island is overrated. I’m just saying, if you found this island garden city to be a haven, imagine what we had a decade ago. As one resort put it, it’s PARADISE.
Here’s their website www.bluejazresort-davao.com/