The people of Davao City are blessed to have a resort island so close to the city. Currently dubbed as the “Island Garden City of Samal,” this elongated island is just a few kilometers away from Davao CBD and immediately transports visitors from the hustle and bustle of the city to turquoise-colored waters, enchanting waterfalls and other natural sights.
hagimit falls in samal island
How to get there:
Samal Island is just a 7-minute ferry ride away from Davao City. Ferries that leave for Samal Island depart from Sasa Wharf in Davao City. The ride only costs Php 10 (US$ 0.22) per passenger. It is also possible to bring your own vehicle into the ferry in which case the charge is Php 270 (US$ 6) with each passenger inside the car having to pay the Php 10 fee. The disembarkation point of the ferry in Samal Island is at Babak. Allow around 15 minutes of wait per way as the ferry departure frequency is only once every 15 minutes.
I visited Samal Island during a recent trip to Davao City and spent one night there. We took the ferry at about noon and then checked into our accommodations in Samal. We started touring the island at around 3PM and had the Hagimit Falls as our first stop.
huts are available for use near the pools
The Falls is just a few minutes away from the town of Penaplata and consists of several short waterfalls cascading into blue-green pools of various sizes. Upon seeing it, I was immediately reminded of Kuang Si Falls in Laos. Although not as spectacular, the falls were of the same type.
the waterfalls consist of several tiers, each with its own natural pool
Entrance to the site is a mere Php 20 (US$ 0.45). This includes a free dip in any of the several pools in the area. On the way down, we saw a couple of ladies washing clothes in the water upstream.
We chose one of the larger pools. The water was very cold and the bottom of the natural pool was extremely rocky. Nonetheless, we had an enjoyable time. I did not get to take a dip when I went to Kuang Si Falls previously due to lack of time so doing it in a similar setup in Hagimit Falls was a good consolation for me.
all that is left of the vanishing island
The next day, it was quite sunny so we decided to go to the vanishing island just off the resort we were staying in. This “island” is actually a sandbar and disappears whenever the tide is high. Unfortunately, it was high tide that morning so the island had indeed completely vanished. Nevertheless, we still went to have a look and we hired a pumpboat to take us there.
the closest landmass was some 5km away and there we were swimming in the middle of the sea!
The island was indeed submerged by the tide with the water being waist-deep. So we did what was the most “logical” thing to do given the situation, and that was to take a dip — out there in the middle of the sea where the closest landmass was Davao City some 5 kilometers away. It felt like being shipwrecked. Haha.