I have been to Samal island several times but this is my first time to travel around the island by myself or to travel here by myself. I was often accompanied by my cousins, nephews and niece the past moments I was here and quite honestly, it never fails to amuse me how the kids love it here.
From my aunt’s place in Gulf View Homes where I stayed after my cousin’s wedding, I rode a jeepney with signboard going to Magsaysay. I cannot exactly remember how the Magsaysay street looks like and so I asked the jeepney driver to drop me off where I can take the bus going to Samal. After reaching the stop I waited several minutes – about 15-20 minutes for the bus which will board a barge that will take us to the island. There are no other means going to the island unless of course you are rich enough to hire a helicopter to bring you there. Also, there are only few hotels or beach resorts that has helipad. Anyone may choose to bring their own car or motorcycle but they too will have to ride the barge. Different fares are applied. If you cannot afford the helicopter nor have a car to drive around Samal then I would recommend taking the bus since it will go directly to Peñaplata terminal. If you have not booked with any beach resorts or hotel yet then there are several beach resorts you will pass by if you take the bus. From the terminal, there are Habal-Habal and tricycle that will bring you to your designated place.
Jeep ride from Gulf View to Magsaysay – Php 10.00 (USD 0.23)
Bus (Island City Bus Tour) from Magsaysay to Peñaplata Terminal – Php 40.00 (USD 0.90)
Mineral Water – Php 20.00 (USD 0.45)
Lumpia Ubod – Php 10.00 (USD 0.23)
Habal-Habal – Php 50.00 (USD 1.13)
Total: Php 130.00 (USD 2.94)
By the way, every time I go to Samal Island I always, never fails to get a “physical souvenir” (coined by Pumpkin Head Jack) and this year it was a burnt skin in my right leg which I got from the motorcycle I rode to go to La Vida Orchard. And that was the first motorcycle I had after getting to Samal Island. Which I lately realized that it is a second-degree burn.
I booked with La Vida Orchard (I have a post here) via Airbnb. There are only few things I considered when I was looking for a place to stay in;
2. Has a private toilet and bath
3. Has privacy
The accommodation I got served me really well. I felt like I was in a five-star hotel. There is a beach nearby roughly a two-minute walk from La Vida Orchard. It is a fine beach but I don’t think I will go swim there because my plan was to really roam around the island as much as I can. I booked in around past 1:00 in the afternoon. I was escorted by the caretaker (Dave) to my room (Guyabano B). He keeps on asking if there is anything that I need. I felt like I had my own butler. After unpacking and securing my stuff I asked Dave about the “how to go to here and there”. There are just so many places I wanted to see and I only got very little time. My stay in the island; 2 nights 3 days was the longest I had here in Samal. Another plus in this accommodation is that they have trusted habal-habal drivers to bring their guests wherever they desire. I chose to get this service instead of letting myself choose my driver from a number of drivers around. I must say that I am still not confident enough to entrust my life to a stranger wandering in the island with a motorcycle. And the places I chose to go this afternoon is literally very far. Since it was already past 2:00 in the afternoon, the driver and I decided to go to Puting Bato Peak and Canibad Beach.
I told Dave or “Bruno Mars” as my driver calls him about my burnt skin and how I am scared to ride another motorcycle with the fear that I might get a second one but it was the only mode of transportation that can take me to the outrageous places I want to visit given the timeframe we have. I want to be back to my place at 6:00 in the evening since it is a weekday, only few people are outside beyond this time. No nightlife – and not that I am looking for one. In addition, these two places are really far and I do not want to travel at night using a motorcycle with the worst kind of road.
Puting Bato Peak
The ride going to Puting Bato was a tough one. The road has a very rough path but the view is just breathtaking. I just love nature needless to say. Too many steep hills and slopes in addition to the very stoney path. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the jump off point and start climbing up. Truthfully we were not able to reach the peak because both of us were already tired. This was my first time to travel that long with the use of a motorcycle and the path is not even friendly to us. There were couple of times where it was so hard for the motorcycle to drive in steep hills that we have to get off the motorcycle and walk up. Also, we had a timeframe so we can also go to Canibad beach which will take about 30-45 minutes travel time from the jump off point of Puting Bato. According to my driver, it will take about an hour or so to reach the peak and it was already past 3:30 in the afternoon. If you have the desire to reach the peak I would suggest to go there early morning so you will have the time to explore the area and try to rent a van if you are a group that will transport you to the jump off site.
Puting Bato Peak is the highest peak in Samal. It is located in Sitio Tayapoc, Brgy. Guilon, Samal District, it stands a towering height of about 1,345 feet (410m) above sea level. There are two trails to reach the peak and there are several tour guides offering to help you get to the peak. I cannot however recommend anyone as I have not tried this. It was basically just me and my driver. I guess I will have to check this again the next time I go to Samal.
About My Motorcycle Fear
I don’t usually ride motorcycles. Before my trip to Samal, I only rode motorcycles twice in my life. One, when I got a bit drunk and my friend from the graduate school decided to put me at the back of his motorcycle and drove me home. I guess I did not mind it because I was a bit drunk and also, it only took about 10 minutes to reach home. The second one was about a 3 minute ride my coworker gave me. I was walking to the hospital at that time. I decided to walk instead of taking a jeepney when he saw me and gave me a lift. The reason I am scared of riding a motorcycle is because I have seen, heard, and read about all the accidents involving a motorcycle in Manila. It is outrageous how many motorcycle accidents there are in a day and how bad it turns out for the driver and the passenger. I do know however that there are only habal-habal and tricycles in the island as means of transportation and yes I did take chances with this (got my skin burnt though). There are also bus that you can take but they only have specific routes (I will discuss this further in my next post).
I honestly should have booked a night here or even a week. After Puting Bato, we then head on to see Canibad beach which houses several beach resorts. We went to check Madyaw Beach Resort. Whatever beach resort you will choose it will all end up with the same kind of beach. They all share tha same beach the only difference is their accommodations. I really wished I have stayed here even for a night. The shore line is laid in with white sand and the water is just crystal clear. It was very inviting. I am definitely recommending this place. I could stay here for weeks and just take in the enchanting sight of the beach and wallow in that sweet soft sound of the waves. It simply took my breath away.
I forgot about the time when my driver told me that we need to leave. It was already past 4:30 in the afternoon and we still need to travel back. He also said we could check the Monfort Bat Cave. I told him I wanted to actually see why people love visiting this place aside from it being in the Guinness World Book in 2010. However, due to the rough road one of the tires got flat. Yup! Some misadventures. My driver still drove us for about 30 minutes with that flat tire until we saw a vulcanizing shop. Just imagine how tough it was to drive through a very rocky road with good tires and how it was when one of which decided to give up on us. Every time we passed through some people they would yell “na ay flat kay gulong” (your tire is flat). It was really funny because we do know it is flat and there is nothing we can do until we get to a vulcanizing shop. Since the tire was all worn out, the men who assisted us said that we had to change the tire and that is what they did. After changing the tire and checking the other tire we then realized it was past 5:00 in the afternoon which meant that the cave is close and so I decided to go back home. On our way home, I told him that I need to get to a drugstore to buy some ointment for my burnt skin. It was brownout when we got to Mercury Drugstore (one of the largest companies of drugstores here in the Philippines). The security guard said that it happens in the island but it does not lasts that long. True enough, after few minutes the lights went back on. I along with the other customers had to wait for them to have their machines operate. The assistant pharmacist perhaps noticed I am a bit annoyed since I am tired and pained and just really want to go home so I could clean my open wound. She asked if I have the exact money to pay for the items I need but sadly I do not have the exact amount needed so I had to wait. Remember: Always have loose money!
I reached home safe and happy and fulfilled with how the day went except for the time I got my skin burned. I can never ever forget that! It was a good adventure for me. I visited two places for that small amount of time. I will definitely book with one of the resorts in Canibad. I really did feel in love with that place. Perhaps when my wound is all dry and totally healed.
Driver: Php 500.00 (USD 11.31)
Tip to Driver: Php 200.00 (USD 4.52)
Vulcanizing Shop: Php 40.00 (USD 0.90)
Entrance to Madyaw Beach Resort: Php 50.00 (USD 1.13)
Ointment: Php 72.00 (USD 1.63)
Drinks: Php 50.00 (USD 1.13)
Dinner (At my place): Php 100.00 (USD 2.26)
Total: Php 1,012.00 (USD 22.89)
I am not supposed to give a tip nor to pay for the vulcanizing shop because the amount of money I paid him was an agreed one. However, we did really had a long travel time against the condition of the road we drove in even though the total fare is discussed which should cover just about everything except drinks and entrance fees. I gave him some because I think he deserved it and it is jus fair for him as well. He had to change one of his tires and for consolation as he did not leave me alone when his tire got flat.
After I reached home I took a shower and decided to check the beach nearby. It is not owned by the owner of the place I am staying, rather it is government-owned. It was late, past 6:30 in the evening when I strolled around the area. It was really dark since there were no lamp posts. The only lights that were there came from the two houses located after the place I stayed in. There were no lights in the beach as well. I was also informed there are no lifeguards posted there. The shoreline has huge rocks. I cannot see clearly though the color of the sand but the driver told me it is gray colored or dark in color. I only stayed for few minutes and decided to head back. There were mosquitoes there and I have nothing to do there. I initially planned to seat on the sand and write but I changed my mind given the condition of the place. I sat in the porch right outside my room when the caretaker asked if I had my supper, I have forgotten I haven’t eaten anything yet and so I asked if they serve meals. I am not really hungry at that time but he told me there is available food and so I went to the common kitchen to eat. He really did served me well. He had my dinner all ready for me (it was supposed to be self-service) but I got way much better service. They also have a dog roaming around. I forgot his name and so I called him “Ovaltine” which I think he loves because whenever I call him that name he come towards me.
Overall, my first day in Samal was really good. I should have woke up early and went to the island earlier so I could have stayed much longer in some places or have visited more places. I am looking forward to see the other places I want to visit while I am still here. I wanted to extend my stay until the day of my flight but sadly I cannot do it because I still have to buy some pasalubong for my family back in Manila and for Pumpkin Head Jack.