Samal, Davao del Norte

Our initial plan after Bislig was to go to Britannia which is still in Surigao del Sur. However, my friend Jao said that it’s too far from Bislig and even farther from Davao which was our entry and exit point.

When we found a post about Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental, we changed our plans to that since it is just two hours away from Bislig. However (again!), our friend Dottie mentioned that the road going to Cateel is not exactly safe due to rebel activities in the area. I really wanted to go to Cateel but I didn’t want to drag a group of people, let alone a family, into a danger zone, so I wanted to go solo. Up until the last minute before our flight to Davao, I was still thinking about Cateel but I had to let go of that thought since the time I had would make it really difficult for me.

Jao and his family kept discussing about where to go on our second day. Mati, Samal and some places within Davao City were mentioned. Final decision was Samal.

We left Bislig at 2am. We took a Bachelor Express bus going to Davao. Fare was P360 and travel time was five and a half hours.

We arrived at the Ecoland Terminal in Davao around 7:30am. We took a taxi who took the five of us, as long as we give him P40 extra, to go to the house of Jao’s sister, Ate Eves. Things went problematic when he took us to the wrong place on the other side of the city. Since Davao is too big, getting lost in the city would really cost a lot. What could have been just a fare of P150 (based on what I paid the previous day) ballooned to P360. Jao had to argue with the driver considering it was mostly the driver’s fault.

We arrived at Ate Eves’ house around 8:30am. We had breakfast, cleaned up and prepared to go to Samal. Their whole family was going this time. Aside from Judielin, Ate Cathy and Kiboy, Ate Eves and her children, Kate and Steven, were joining us.

We left around 11am. We rode on their neighbor’s multi-cab to go to the wharf (I didn’t get the name of the wharf, but from what I read I’m assuming this was Sasa wharf). We paid P10 for the barge which took us to Babak wharf in Samal in only 10-15 minutes.


We then took habal-habals going to Maxima. The habal-habal drivers were charging P75 each, so P150 for each motorcycle.

We found a lot of activities when we got to Maxima, so instead of going to other sites in Samal, we decided to stay for the rest of the day. Entrance fee was P200 (if I remember correctly) and we were free to use almost everything (tables, life vests, the tarp slide, the jump-bounce thing).


We had lunch first before going to the water. I did the tarp slide which was fun and scary at the same time, so it was exciting.

Photo courtesy of John Rey Cuyos.
Photo courtesy of John Rey Cuyos.

Perhaps the most popular was that balloon bouncing thing in the water. No one among us tried it but it was fun to watch other people doing it. One person would go to the far end first then somebody would jump on the near end. The bigger the person jumping on the near end, the higher the person flies on the other end.

Photo courtesy of John Rey Cuyos.
Photo courtesy of John Rey Cuyos.

Jao had no idea that Maxima had a diving spot so he felt disappointed that he wasn’t able to bring his fins and his snorkeling mask. So we decided to rent from the resort – P100 for the snorkeling mask and another P100 for their fins.

The wildlife underwater was flourishing despite the number of people swimming around. We even found a sea snake which was thankfully just resting on one spot but was too close for comfort.

Photo courtesy of John Rey Cuyos.

Ate Eves, Ate Cathy, Judielin, Kate and Kiboy decided to do the banana boat ride later in the afternoon. Fee was P330 each. They had so much fun as seen on this raw video:

Around 5:30pm, we left Maxima. By the way, Maxima has its own passenger boat that could take its guests directly to Davao for P75. However, their last trip was at 4pm.

So we rode on another habal-habal to go back to Babak wharf. While on the way, rain started pouring so most of us really got wet. That was another set of fun though.

There were a lot of people going to Davao so the barge was full and the wharves were chaotic. We managed to arrive in Davao around 7pm, had dinner, watched videos from Jao’s GoPro at Ate Eves’s house and went into really deep sleep. Fun fact: I’m scared to sleep in other people’s houses when I’m really tired because I talk and sometimes even walk in my sleep. I think I snore too.

We were planning to visit other places in Davao on our last day but we were still tired and we were short in time so we decided to just rest. After lunch, we started getting ready for our flight back to Cebu.

We stopped at the mall to have pizza before heading to the airport. Since we were on our 5:30pm flight, we all selected window seats to get a good view especially of the sunset.


I also want to add that the view of Bohol from above was really nice with all the hills covering most of the island.

We arrived in Cebu around 6pm. I spent the night at a friend’s place and made my way home to Negros the next day.

I’m really thankful to Jao and his family. I am open to travel with anyone nowadays, but I’m still shy, quiet and awkward around people I just met. I really had fun on this trip though. 🙂


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