Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Davao: Island Hopping with Island Banca Cruises

With summer just around the corner, there's no better way to maximize the sunny weather than by going on a quick local trip with family or friends.

This year, I'm launching a summer series where I'll feature a different local destination every month starting this February until May. Hopefully, my posts will inspire people to travel more within the country and experience first hand why It's More Fun in The Philippines!!!

Let's get the ball rolling with Davao for February! Here are some quick facts about Davao:
  • Davao is the third most populous metropolitan are in the country.
  • Located in the Southeastern part of Mindanao, Davao is approximately 946 kilometers from Manila.
  • Davao is home to Mount Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines.
  • Called the Durian City, it's in Davao where the exotic, smelly fruit grows.
  • The Philippine eagle and waling-waling  are other icons identified with Davao.
  • One of the most popular attractions of  Davao is  the “Kadayawan Festival” which happens every August.

My friends and I had an ungodly 4:15am flight to Davao from Manila. The only thing that made it bearable was seeing this sunrise:

After almost 2 hours of air travel, we arrived at Davao and were picked up from the airport by Pearl Farm since we will be staying there for the night. We made special arrangements to have our bags brought to the resort as our number one agenda during our first day in Davao was to go island hopping with Island Banca Cruises.

For 8,199php, we were able to rent the entire boat to go around Samal Island, a popular tourist destination in Davao because of its numerous beaches and marine reefs.  

There are other boat operators but we chose Island Banca Cruises because we were lured by the promise of a chill, relaxing island hopping experience with bean bags, Ipod dock, and an open deck for sunbathing as part of its amenities. 

Photo 5-18-12 12 32 51 PM

We were supposed to start the cruise at 8 am but got delayed because the food arrived late.

DSC_0759 - Copy

Once the cruise began, the staff introduced themselves and gave us a brief orientation on what to expect during the tour.
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Our first stop was the white strip of sand  known to tourists as the Vanishing Island. It got its name because the island vanishes during high tide.
Vanishing Island

There was an entrance fee of 20php per person at the Vanishing Island. We just enjoyed the view and took some pictures since swimming was not an option because of the shallow water.

Next was Maxima Aqua Fun which was about 30 minutes away from the Vanishing Island. For 200php per person, one can stay the whole day at the resort. Maxima Aqua Fun is actually famous for the giant water slide which I encourage everyone to give a try. The exhilarating feeling of spiraling down the tarpaulin to the open waters made the entrance fee well worth it.
Maxima Aqua Fun's Giant Slide

For those who dare, one can also jump several feet from the high board to sea.
Jump Board

After swimming and sliding at Maxima Aqua Fun, it was time to eat in our boat. Island Banca Cruises prepared our lunch consisting of grilled pork and chicken barbeque plus lechon. Everybody loved the lechon! 
Pork Barbeque Meal (165php)

Chicken Barbeque Meal  (165php)

Lechon Biik (3,00php)

After lunch, we continued our tour around Talkud Island. We could have docked at some of the beaches but chose not to.
Isla Reta

Isla Reta 2

We did stop at the Coral Gardens in the middle of the sea but didn't see any corals or fish! Before going to Pearl Farm, we decided to get off the boat at Babu Santa.
Babu Santa

Babu Santa was beautiful with fine sand and clear waters. Best thing was we had the beach all to ourselves. Do note, however, that there's a 300php docking fee per boat at Babu Santa.

Unfortunately, when it was time to leave, our boat's engine failed to start!!!  

We had to wait for more than an hour before Pearl Farm's boat came to our rescue.  From what I know, Island Banca Cruises had to pay Pearl Farm for making the special trip. Island Banca Cruises also gave us a discount for the inconvenience.

Our first day in Davao proved to be memorable because we got stranded in the middle of the sea. When it comes to the natural beauty of Samal, I have to be honest: It will pale when compared to El Nido, Caramoan, or even Boracay. But if you have an extra day, go ahead and island hop to discover for yourself what Davao has to offer when it comes to beaches.

My next entry will be about our experience staying at Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

For more information on Island Banca Cruises Davao, click here


leian dultra said...
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Glutton Is Me said...

Almost 13,000k including the food.

Nerissa Lee said...

Hello.may i know the contact number of this boat?thank you

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