The Philippines is a treasure trove of natural wonders with 7,107 islands of unique attractions. Of the 7,107 islands is Davao City’s very own 24-karat gold, the Island Garden City of Samal.

This island is a resort city opposite the coasts of Davao City and rests 2 kilometers away. It attracts various tourists from all around the world to its glorious white sands, pristine waters and abundance of marine life. Akin to Cebu’s Malapascua Island, Samal’s shores is dotted with both high-and mid-end beaches with the middle of the island occupied by hills, mountains, and other wonders that are also worthy places to visit.

By Virtue of Republic Act No. 8471, the municipalities of Babak, Samal, and Kaputian were merged together to form the Island Garden City of Samal. As of 2018, the island already has 85 registered resorts with the most famous one being the luxurious Pearl Farm Beach Resort. There are also middle-end accommodations such as the Club Samal Resort which was opened by President Duterte himself.

Here is a list of some of the note-worthy places to visit and things to do in the Island Garden City of Samal:

Pearl Farm Beach Resort

A 5-star paradise and one of the most famous and luxurious resorts in the island that promise only the best services and will help make their stay in the island unforgettable. If you’ve got the budget, then this is a recommended place to stay in. Otherwise, there are still other quality-resorts that can make your island experience unforgettable. The resort is a 45-minute boat ride from the wharf and is easily accessible.

Sanipaan Shoal

Also called the Vanishing Island because half of this island is submerged under the water during the high tide but reappears during low tides. It is also one of the most-visited attractions in the island because it is also a great place for various underwater adventures such as diving, swimming, and snorkeling. There are elevated cottages erected at the center of the island for those who want to experience the wonders of the island for a long period of time.  

Photo by Paul M. Baloja
Photo by Macoy Monton
Photo by isoy explorer
Photo by Dong Makoy
Photo by joe kikz

Monfort Bat Sanctuary

In the Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest concentration of fruit bats of the Geoffrey Rousette species with more than 2 million fruit bats that contribute to the agriculture of the island by pollinating fruits and feeding on harmful insects.

Photo by Ronnie Alarde
Photo by Ian Chin

Photo by JR
Photo by Bench Quero

Hagimit Falls

A freshwater attraction located in the heart of Samal Island. It is a series of beautiful cascading streams with natural swimming pools and rock formations. Its natural and secluded environment makes it very relaxing and a good place to meditate. They allow various activities such as camping, picnicking, and swimming as long as tourists preserve and respect the beauty of the place.

Photo by Aileen Panes
Photo by Marian Gogil
Photo by Casual Gamer

Japanese Cave House

It shows the wartime stories of Samal Island. This cave was used in the past as ammunition and supply storage by the Japanese during the Second World War. Inside the cave are a few artefacts and remnants of the past that were preserved.

Photo by Jean Calonce-Belisario
Photo by Jean Calonce-Belisario
Photo by Jean Calonce-Belisario
Photo by Jean Calonce-Belisario
Photo by Jean Calonce-Belisario

Coral Garden and Marine Reservation Park

The Talikud and Ligid Islands are considered as the best diving spots in the island with colorful underwater corals and breathtaking marine life. In Talikud Island is the Coral Garden and Marine Reservation Park that contains almost 50% of the entire Philippines’ different marine species. It is rich and thriving with different underwater wonders that is considered one of the best underwater views in the world and makes it very unforgettable once experienced.

Photo by Michael Kern

There are more things to do in this gem of an island and the ones mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. The Island Garden City of Samal has a lot to offer to nature-lovers and adventurous bloods. The number of places to explore on this island will surely satisfy any person’s wanderlust.


Boat Fares to the Island

  • Via Sta. Ana Wharf: P60 per person
  • Via Sasa Wharf: Bus – P60 per person; Ferry Ride – P10 per person

Other Information


Exact Location: Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, Philippines

BY PLANE: Book a plane going to Davao City International Airport. From the airport, travel to the Sta. Ana Wharf, Sasa Wharf or Km 11 Wharf. There are small boats and ferries that travel to the Island from there. There are also buses that board ferries in the Sasa Wharf that travel to Kaputian and other destinations in the island.

BY BOAT: There are ferries that travel from Manila and Cebu to Davao and are a cheaper option for those who are looking to save.

Looking for a place to stay in this island? Click here to get the best room deals.

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