Samal Island, Davao | Lost Paradise: Island Garden Resort

About three weeks ago, my girlfriend and I went to Davao to relieve ourselves from the toxic of everyday life in Manila. Only today did I get the courage to write something about the trip without being emotional. (Again, #sepanx.)

Pangubatan Beach, tree house window | Lakbay Xiomai - Samal Island, Davao
View of the Pangubatan beach from the window of our tree house. (Yeah, I’m owning it. Haha!)

Our first day in Davao did not go as smooth as we had planned it. We arrived at the Davao International Airport at around 5am. Surely, none of the places we intend to visit was open that early, except for the People’s Park–which, since we had no other option, officially became our fist stop.

Lakbay Xiomai - Pangubatan, Samal
Pangubatan, Island Garden City of Samal | Davao

Initially, we wanted to go straight to Samal Island (aka Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCOS) and spend our (whole) first day at a beach resort there. However, we were informed by the management of the beach resort we were to visit that the ferry going to their part of the island would leave Davao City at 12pm. Since we had already booked our room for that day, and it was yet too early to visit other attractions (plus we were tired due to lack of sleep–daming excuses, ha?), we had no other choice but to wait. But we did not really wait. Despite our tired selves, we decided to roam around downtown Davao until 11am so that when we got back from Samal the next day, we’d be familiar with the surroundings. We got lost a few times but it was fun cause we got the chance to talk to people and ask them for directions going to places. Good thing, the people were so accommodating that we did not really worry about getting lost. 🙂

boat, Pangubatan Beach | Lakbay Xiomai - Samal Island, Davao
A boat by the beach.

The Journey to Peace
Afraid of being left behind, we were already at Sta Wharf–where ferry boats going to Samal Island are located–an hour (and a half) before the actual departure. We were heading to Kaputian Wharf and the ride going there would cost us another hour. So after about two hours on the sea (cause we were technically on the sea while the ferry was waiting for more passengers, right?), we had reached Kaputian, Samal! Whoah!

That was not the end of the journey, though. Sabi nga sa home TV shopping, “But wait, there’s more!” We had to hire a habal-habal to get us to our beach resort in Pangubatan. So after about half an hour of bumpy ride, we had FINALLY arrived at our beach resort– the Island Garden Resort

And this greeted us. Haaaay… .

duyan, Pangubatan beach | Samal Island, Davao
Welcome to OUR resort! Haha! | Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan, Samal Island | Davao

At the Island Garden Resort
The Island Garden Resort is in Brgy Pangubatan, Kaputian, Samal Island, Davao. Just a few laps from this part of Samal Island is Talicud Island. We were not able to get a glimpse of this island though.

When we arrived at the Island Garden Resort, we were greeted by the staff and ushered us to our room, a tree house by the beach. It was the cutest beach tree house I had ever seen.

The tree house has a hammock (pictured above) where you could just sit, relax, and gaze at the blue sea before you. When I sat there, I asked myself how such a place could exist so far, far away from me.

There were not too many people in the resort at the time of our visit, so it was like the beach was all ours to enjoy. There was a group of foreign visitors, though, but we only saw them during dinner. The place was therefore quiet, peaceful, and just awesome that we forgot that we actually planned to sleep once we get there. I don’t know, it just felt too surreal to be in such a beautiful place to let any moment pass without exploring every inch of it. So we walked by the beach, from one end of the stretch to the other, until sunset.

White Sand | Pangubatan Beach, Samal Island | Davao

Did I mention that the sand is white? Yeah, the sand is white but might not be as fine as Boracay’s (I haven’t been there, so can’t really tell) cause of the crushed corals mixed with it. But the scenery is beyond comparison.

Pangubatan Resort | Samal Island, Davao

Below are some photos of the Island Garden Resort.

Anahaw roofing | Lakbay Xiomai - sland Garden Resort, Pangubatan, Samal
Anahaw roofing. | Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan, Samal | Davao

One of the things I love about this place is its rustic feel. It just adds to the relaxing atmosphere of the resort.

Tree house - Lakbay Xiomai: Samal, Davao
Our Tree House | Pangubatan, Island Garden City of Samal | Davao

There are two tree houses in the resort. One is up on a sampaloc tree (upper tree house), the other is on a calachuchi (lower tree house). The pictures above are of the lower tree house, which is situated by the beach. From the lower tree house, you could hear the waves as they touch the shore at night. Especially when it’s high tide.

Dining Area - lakbay Xiomai Samal | Davao
Dining Area | Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan, Samal | Davao

The dining area has a flat screen TV, bar, table tennis, darts, and nice staff. You can also connect to their Wi-Fi but it’s kind of limited. Dinner is served from 6pm onwards. Their bestseller is Lemon Chicken. I liked their daing na bangus better, though, cause I find Lemon Chicken too sweet. The food are priced reasonably, I must say. We dined twice, dinner and a hearty breakfast, and we paid PhP600 only.

Hanging Bridges | Lakbay Xiomai - Samal Island
The hanging bridges going to and from the tree houses. | Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan, Samal Island | Davao
Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan - Lakbay Xiomai - Samal Davao
Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan, Samal | Davao
Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan - Lakbay Xiomai - Samal Davao
At the Island Garden Resort, Pangubatan, Samal | Davao

The resort has 24-hour electricity. It is okay to roam around the area at night because it is well-lit. (I’m mentioning this cause some beach islands, such as Cagbalete Island and Potipot, do not have such privilege).

think twice | Lakbay Xiomai - Samal Island
Don’t think twice.

Your Great Escape
It seems to me that the Island Garden Resort is not visited too often. Perhaps because the resort has just opened a few years back, and mostly foreigners visit it–as mentioned by a staff. If you check online, there are only a few reviews from Filipino bloggers about this place. But I may be wrong. Maybe those Filipinos who have been here are only keeping it to themselves cause they want it to be just the same paradise they have visited. Or maybe I only think that way because, personally, I don’t want this place to be found. Haha! Selfish, ‘Teh!? But, yeah, I’m sharing this with you cause I want you to experience peace of mind for once like I did here.

So if you are thinking of getting away from the chaos of city-living or just want to  have some time alone, this could be the best place. Don’t think twice. Pack your things. Go to Davao, straight to Samal, hop on habal-habal and stop at the Island Garden Resort cause this lost paradise could be your great escape.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Cj says:

    Hi po planning to go there magkano po mga pamasahe all in all papunta ng pangubatan???

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