Samal Island – to the Island Garden City

I was really eyeing Davao because I heard how safe it is to travel there and how beautiful Samal island is. I want to experience how Duterte mans his territory. Hehe. Earlier this year, I saw a fare promo on the Cebu Pacific’s webpage. My best friend and I had discussed this trip for months now and we were just so excited that we booked right away.

We paid Php1,186 each for RT Manila to Davao via Cebu Pacific. This is a DIY trip for 2.

Accommodation: We stayed in Qanaq Hotel along Matina, Davao. We paid Php2,996 for 3 nights. We had the Double bed room. The hotel is like a dormitel with common kitchen. A great thing about this place is it is near NCCC Mall, fast food joints and Matina Town Center (bars and shops). The CR in the room is covered only by a glass sliding door – so if you’re travelling with someone you’re not comfortable with better ask for another room type.

After our check-in, we headed straight to Sta. Ana Wharf to catch the ferry to Maxima. Unfortunately, we arrived there past 9am and we had to take a RORO to Samal island. We rode a pedicab from Sta. Ana Wharf to Island City Express for Php15 each. We paid Php50 for RORO fare.It only took us 30-40 minutes getting to the island (including bus ride). We went down to Penaplata and rented a tricycle to Maxima Aquafun Resort for Php40 each.

We paid Php5 environmental fee and Php300 for entrance fee. A must-try here is the giant water slide. You can also dive, swim and snorkel. We had the whole balsa to ourselves since there were very few people visiting.

For Php300 you can enjoy all of the amenities except the rooms & snorkel gears. Unlimited use of the giant water slide, diving board, Johnny’s ride, water bed and much more. Be careful of stonefish. We were on our way back to the main area when my best friend almost stepped on a stonefish along the shore. Safety first!

Places to check out:

  • Pearl Farm Resort – Too expensive. Someone take me here. Day trip is Php2000
  • Kaputian Beach – Too far. From Maxima it is 1 hour away.
  • Maxima Aquafun
  • Hagimit Falls
  • Montfort Batcave – We don’t like the smell of bat caves but I heard it is a good site.

We went to Hagimit Falls after our exhausting activities in Maxima. We rented a habal habal for Php25, paid Php5 environmental plus Php40 entrance fee. Here you can relax and just float.Make sure to check the falls at the bottom part of the resort. It is wider than the one in the middle.

We stayed here til 5pm. We forgot to take lunch, luckily we had a big breakfast earlier that day. We also bought a big bottle of water and snacks to keep up energized for the whole trip. From Hagimit, we rented a habal habal to take us to Sasa Port. We paid Php40. It rained so we had to stop on a local ihaw ihaw and had isaw. We had dinner at BBQ Boss in Matina Town Square in Davao city. We were so tired and we didn’t have lunch so we had heavy dinner.


4:00 am to 6:00 am – Travel time from Manila to Davao city

6:00 am to 7:00 am – Travel time from Francisco Bangoy Airport to Qanaq Hotel

7:00 am to 8:00 am – Check-in, Rest, Unpack

8:00 am to 9:00 am – Travel time from Qanaq hotel to Sta. Ana Wharf

9:00 am to 10:30 am – Travel time Davao city to Penaplata, Samal

10:30 am to 11:30 am – Penaplata to Maxima Aquafun

11:30 am to 2:00 pm – Enjoy Maxima Aquafun facilities

2:00 pm to 2:30 pm – Travel time Maxima to Hagimit falls

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm – Enjoy Hagimit Falls

4:00 pm to 6:30 pm – Travel time Hagimit Falls to Sasa Wharf to Sta. Ana Wharf

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm – Travel time Sta. Ana Wharf to Qanaq Hotel

7:30 pm to 9:00 pm – Rest

9:00 pm to 10:00 pm – Go to Matina Town Square/ late Dinner BBQ Boss/ Enjoy live bands


  • Php190 each Taxi fare from Airport to Qanaq Hotel
  • Php1,498 each 3 nights accommodation Qanaq Hotel
  • Php168 Jolibee Ultimate Burger Steak with Pineapple juice
  • Php8 Jeepney fare (Malinta to Sta. Anna Wharf)
  • Php15 Pedicab fare to Island City Express Roro terminal
  • Php50 Roro fare to Penaplata, Samal

  • Php40 pesos Tricycle fare from Penaplata to Maxima Aquafun
  • Php26 bottled water
  • Php300 Maxima Entrance Fee
  • Php5 Environmental Fee

  • Php25 Habal Habal to Hagimit Falls
  • Php40 Entrance Fee
  • Php5 Environmental Fee
  • Php35 ihaw-ihaw
  • Php160 BBQ Boss at Matina Town Square
  • Php10 Ferry fare back to Davao city
  • Php40 habal habal from Hagimit Falls to Sasa Port
  • Php8 Jeep fare to Matina – Qanaq Hotel

Total is Php 2,623. I already included the hotel fee. Not bad for 1st day.



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