Samal Island and Talikud Island

Davao city was awarded and recognized as “One of the Most Livable City in Asia”, but we’re not really big fans of urban areas, so we had to look for other options with a natural setting. We stumbled upon two intriguing island destinations – Samal and Talikud.

We weren’t able to explore the city proper that well, but we managed to visit their People’s Park during the day, then we had a food buffet dinner on the ground floor of Grand Men Seng Hotel, served at around 9 PM, then we ate Bulca Chong (bull stew) later that night.

The next day, we woke up early to accomplish our island hopping plan. We came up with an itinerary that connects directly to both Samal and Talikud islands, even a  quick visit to Hagimit falls.

We hailed a Route-6 jeepney going to Magsaysay Park where Sta. Ana wharf is located, one of two ports with daily ferry schedules to Samal island in Davao city, the other being Sasa wharf. Not to worry, the driver will drop you off at the site where the bus will park. There is also a queue of passengers waiting for the Island City Express bus to arrive.

It was a delightful experience riding on the bus as it went on a Ro/Ro (Roll on/Roll off) crossing from Sta. Anna wharf to the port of Samal island. The transit time was only 10-15 minutes. Originally, we were going to drop by Marex beach resort (in Samal island) where it is possible to charter a boat going to Vanishing island, but our main concern was the tide. We could also be facing the likelihood of the sandbar already underwater or we wouldn’t like it there at all. We also skipped other tourist traps like the Maxima Aqua Fun resort and other popular destinations in Samal island. So, in order to save up, what we did was to spend some time in Samal island’s Kaputian beach and Talicud island’s Isla Reta beach resort. There is also another option to cheapen the expenditures for a day’s worth of activities both in Samal island and Talikud island, but for couples like us, that would mean joining a big group and sharing the cost with them.

In the end, we were able to complete our Samal island and Talikud island day tour for a very low cost… and it made us very happy.

NOTE: Actually, the durian and sweet pomelo near Magsaysay Park is super expensive. We highly recommend the Bankerohan public market where they are being sold for cheap.


Durian and Sweet Pomelo of Davao


Island City Express bus


Grilled Skipjack Tuna





Sea urchins in abundance

It was already low tide when we reached the sandy shore of Isla Reta in Talicud island revealing an expansive beachscape. It’s perfect for long strolls or lazing about the rock formations present, but since we brought our snorkeling gear, we went right away to check out their house reef (which was non-existent in Kaputian beach, Samal island.

There were patches of corals, schools of small fish and also good-sized ones. We were about to give up and call it a day, until we came across a lone cuttle fish. It was the first time we encountered one in the sea.

On our way home, we took the returning outrigger boat to Kaputian beach, then headed to the Island City bus station. Just ask around where it is located. 


Isla Reta





 How to Go to Samal and Talicud Island From Davao City

  • Take a Route-6 jeep to Magsaysay
  • Ride an Island City Express Bus to Kaputian beach in Samal (fare: P70)
  • Charter a pump boat in Kaputian beach, Samal island to Isla Reta (16-person capacity, P20 each) one way is P320 or wait for it to load up and you’ll only have to pay P20/head.
  • Once in Talicud island, you may opt to rent a motorcycle and visit other parts of the island or you can go directly to Isla Reta at P75 entrance each.

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