Davao Series-Day Two: Into the Giant Clam Sanctuary

Our morning walk in Kaputian Beach Resort and swimming in Capt. Hook’s Red Parrot Inn’s clear water were the initial activities done for the day. I wanted to go island hopping in Talicud Island and Isla Reta , but our limited time skipped the opportunity.

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But fortunately, Barney’s family was so generous for bringing us all to the Giant Clam Sanctuary, a fishing village across Barangay Adecor.  We were told that it was one of the exciting spots in the Island Garden City of Samal to explore. Getting aboard in our hired boat hit the adrenalin rush. Coming from the inn we passed by the Kaputian Beach Resort which was now crowded with bathers.  Later we were amazed seeing the recognizable luxurious seaside villas of Pearl Farm.

 

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My two kids are no longer scared in snorkeling activity. Our beach escapades from the past taught them to be adventurous on the sea. And not only that, they were taught to love and appreciate nature.

Time to jump to the water!

Our teen-age son Pao dashed hastily.  My hubby assisted our little girl and hit the water.  I was left behind for I was still busy taking pictures.  When I had my moment, my buddies were now far away from the boat.  I swam so fast to join them. They were standing on a white sand, submerged half of their bodies on a very clear water.

We met Edward, the staff of the sanctuary and briefed us shortly about the giant clams locally known as taclobo. He was a volunteer with a minimal pay per day but he was so dedicated in his job.  He told us that the taclobos are solar animals with a number of about 3,500 scattered in a sprawling 14-hectare area. The entrance fee of P70/head was used to sustain the project of Davao del Norte State College in protecting the sanctuary. The taclobo is now an endangered specie because of over-harvesting. Some used it for food and some for shell crafts which are sold as souvenirs.

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getting ready to jump into the water

The giant clam belongs to a family Tridacnidae. It has five classes to which I remembered one class only, the eldest Trinacda Gigas.  Blame it to our excitement to see the colorful giant clams under the water.

Out of curiosity we asked Edward if it is dangerous to put our hands inside the mouth of the clam. He said yes because it sucks foreign objects.  The thought of our hand getting cut by the clam scared me so I didn’t dare to come close.hehehe!

Small clams were found in shallow area.  We snorkeled in deeper part, and saw lots of giant clams in varying colors from violet, deep green, brown and yellow.  We swam here, there and everywhere to see more and more giant clams.  Shen was left to her father for she can’t go far.  Pao and Dwight were so busy wading farther from the group.

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just having a good time looking at taclobos down the waters

After a satisfied attack, we went back near our boat and refreshed ourselves staying on the 20-feet deep water level. Barney could swim without a life jacket.  Amazing!  Pao and I tried it too. It was an overwhelming feeling to overcome our fears of the deep. I did my favorite back float style while gazing on the blue horizon.

Once in a while doing this activity is a rewarding treat especially to people like us who couldn’t escape monster stress from work. Far from the noisy busy life of the city, this wonderful experience is a better doze.  But it’s time to go back to the boat and stop day-dreaming! hahaha!

We went back to Capt. Hooks Red Parrot Inn by lunch.  And there after, we packed up for another swimming activity at Hagimit Falls and for the last stop, at Monfort Bat Cave.

Boat Rental – P1,500 to P1,800 (haggle the price)

Entrance Fee:  P70, 6 years old below is free – with life jacket and snorkel gears

Davao Series-Day Three: Hagimit Falls

Our two-day stay in Red Parrot Inn in Kaputian Beach was indeed one of our best beach getaways ever.  My family especially our kids still wanted to stay but we have to move on for another refreshing treat. Yes another nature tripping to Hagimit Falls which is located in Poblacion Peñaplata, still in the Island Garden City of Samal. We were so thankful to Barney and his family for making our Davao vacation so fulfilling.

From Kaputian, it took us almost thirty minutes reaching the parking space of Hagimit Falls. Barney paid the entrance fee. There were two trails in descending to the waterfalls. My family took the flight of concrete steps while the others took the rocky and slippery trail.

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my son and our buddies were enjoying in the icy cold water

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Davao Series-Day Two: Monfort Bat Cave

This is the last part of our Samal Island Adventure

If it wasn’t for this tour, we would not be able to discover Monfort Bat Cave which houses an estimated 1.8 million bats. It was recognized by the Guiness World of Records on February 2010 as the world’s largest colony of Old World fruit bats known as Geoffroy’s Rousette Fruit Bats.  Amazing!

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one of the cave openings

It is situated in a 23-hectare protected area at Barangay Tambo, Babak District, few minutes away from Hagimit Falls

Our visit to the cave was something peculiar because we just got off from swimming activities for the past several hours. We paid for the entrance fee (P100/head) and had a leisure walk on the neat pathway going to the Exhibit Area. The view of Davao Gulf and the tall palm trees were indeed a sight to behold.  We were briefed about the bats and later accompanied by a 12-year old little girl named Amanda as our guide.

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She started her cue as soon as we hit the pathway to the first of five cave openings surrounded by bamboo railings.  We were amazed to see immense number of bats hanging upside down on the cave wall.  They were very close together, some were flying, some were clinging almost to the ground.  It was almost five pm and their shrieking sound got so louder and louder.

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the peeping father and son

The strong smell of their wastes known as “guano” exuded the area. It is said to be used by local farmers as natural fertilizer.  We were lucky that we saw the White Lady bat, the only white among the millions of hanging bats. We were told that bats were forming a huge whirlwind formation at night time and will fly in group across the region to pollinate fruits. And they will return before dawn. That would be so exciting to see but the sanctuary is closed at 6 pm so we have no opportunity to witness that spectacular phenomenon.

When we went back to the Exhibit Hall we got to know more about the bats by reading all the articles especially those of National Geographic Magazine attached on the wall.  We were given a small pamphlet with informative facts about bats.  And here it goes.

1) Bats are found through out the world except in the Artic and Antartic.

2) Some bats live up to 30 years!

3) Of over 1116 kinds of bats globally, 123 come from Southeast Asia.

4) Of over 450 mammal species in S. Asia, more than 25% are bats!

5) The smallest bat in the world can fit into a matchbox – bumble bee bat.

6) Bats are not pests they control pests by eating insects.

7) Bats increase our road supply by pollinating plants and scattering seeds

8) Bats are not a bad omen.  They are considered lucky in some countries.

9) The world’s biggest bat has a wingspan of 6 feet and weighs 1 kilo (Giant Flying Fox)

10) Mother Bats have babies called “pups” once a year.

11) Bat homes are called “roosts” and they live in giant joint families.

12) Bats are comfortable hanging upside down.

13) Insect bats use ultrasound to find food and avoid obstacles.

14) Insect bats have less vision due to life in caves but fruit bats can see.

15) Bats are like cats in washing daily and being clean.

16) Also like cats, males bats mark their territory.

17) Bats are the only mammals that fly. Flying squirrels glide.

18) Bats have been in this world for over 50 million years.

Now you know more about bats.  We were the last visitors to come out from the sanctuary. We were so delighted to Amanda for being so informative. Such a small bright girl. We gave her a tip as a reward for answering all our queries.

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how I wish a have a copy of this National Geographic Magazine

We were thankful to the current owner, Norma Comfort in her advocacy of preserving these fruit bats in this island. By the help of the residents and the local government, they were able to protect the colony which has valuable contribution to the ecological balance and to the mankind as well.

In Getting There:

Take a ferry boat from Sasa Wharf to Bakak Wharf. You may choose to ride a habal-habal (negotiate for the fare) or the Inland Express non-aircon bus and tell the driver to drop you to the entry point of Monfort Bat Cave.

The road is accessible by car so it is better if you bring your own and take the ferry service at Sasa Wharf for a minimal fee of P300 for the vehicle and P10/head for the passenger.

Contact Numbers:  Smart-0920 969 3299 / Globe-0917 705 4295

 

 

Davao Series-Day Two: A Morning Walk at Kaputian Beach Resort

My excitement in our snorkeling today in Giant Clam Sanctuary at 9 a.m. woke me up so early.  I rushed into the window and hailed the curtain. Oh my it was gloomy!  But rain or shine, we got out from Captain Hook’s Parrot Inn and started the day taking a morning walk in a nearby Kaputian Beach Resort to see the humble community of Kaputian.

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the wide stretch of Kaputian Beach Resort

Kaputian Beach Resort is one of the popular beach resorts in Samal Island and is frequented not only by locals but tourists as well because of its white sand, clear water and most of all, its affordable rate from entrance fee to room and cottage rent.

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A laid-back scenery warmly welcomed us as we hit the rocky and dusty road. The cool morning breeze, the scent of sweet flowers and the early riser locals gave a delightful feeling. Samal Island is underdeveloped place, devoid of city improvements, but its charm was so fascinating. The resort was just five minutes walk from the inn.

The beach isn’t as stunning as compared to Caramoan or Boracay but it has clean and clear water. We enjoyed lazing on the wide stretch of creamy white sand with crushed corrals and small beach stones.  There were tents pitched near the cottages. We immersed our foot on the water and played with the gentle waves.  It wasn’t crowded yet and we were refreshed watching the calm water, the Talicud Island and Isla Reta from afar.

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Bringing of food is allowed inside the resort.  But it is better to bring food and water for there are limited stores to buy around the resort.

We were offered by a local for an island hopping to Talikud Island, Isla Reta and Corral Garden for P1,800. But we refused because we will visit Hagimit Falls and Monfort Bat Cave in the afternoon.

We went back to the inn for a breakfast.  It was again a feast.   And no matter how full our tummies were, we rushed off to the beach and swim.  It thrilled me to see a brilliant crystal clear water because the sun was hovering happily into the clear blue skies.

Next stop, Giant Clam Sanctuary

In Getting There:

1)  There are passenger boats at Sta. Ana Wharf which will take you to Kaputian Wharf around 45 minutes to one hour depending on sea condition.  Fare – P70. Then take a few walk going to the resort.

2)  You may also take a ferry boat ride from Sasa Wharf to Bakak Wharf for P10 and take the Island City Express, a non-aircon bus and tell the driver to drop you off to Kaputian.

Davao Series-Day Two: Samal Island

Setting foot at Samal Island or the Island Garden City of  Samal in the province of Davao del Norte is the most exciting part in our Davao City tour.  The island which has been said the largest resort city in the Philippines boasts of the famous Pearl Farm Beach Resort, pristine white sand, rich marine life, waterfalls and other exciting tourist spots that will surely make your stay so memorable.

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the stunning view from the veranda of Capt. Hook’s Red Parrot Inn

The entry points to reach the island are Sta. Ana Wharf (direct to Kaputian and Talicud Island) and Sasa Wharf (direct to Bakak Wharf) via ferry boat ride.

The Start of our Adventure

From Drifters British Pub and Apartelle in Lanang , we were fetched by Barney’s brother-in-law through their van and head off to Sasa Wharf.  Upon arriving at the wharf, we queued for few minutes paying for the P10/passenger ferry ride and P300 for our four-wheel vehicle.  We went aboard the Roro (Roll-on Roll-off) ferry and got so excited hopping out from the van and made our way to the top. It was a nine-minute ride embracing the stillness of the calm blue sea and watching below the people from all walks of life.

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Near Bakak Wharf was Nest Convenience Store to where we bought toiletries, drinks and snacks.  Our van ride was so fast, blame it to the well-paved road.hahaha! Everyone was drawn into fascination watching picturesque countryside view. The journey took us almost one hour reaching Captain Hook’s Red Parrot Inn.  It was located in Kaputian, the farthest tip of the island.

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The Whole House was reserved exclusively for us. It has three rooms, kitchen, dining area, living room, two comfort rooms, a backdoor with direct access to the beach and wi-fi facility. We were assigned to a room with two double-decks.  From the window, a vast expanse of blue water and Talicud Island could be feasted by the eyes. What a wonder!

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enjoying our bonding moment in a laid-back island

As soon as we put our bags on bed, my little girl hastily enjoined me to swim. From the back door we slid into the veranda where my hubby, my son and our buddies were having a busy conversation. From where we stood, I was so overwhelmed to see a complete sea view, in fact a stunning sea view.

The beach resort had short and small strip of very fine creamy white sand. It was shallow, hence, so safe for my little girl.  The water was clear and clean.   No wonder we had a good time soaking on the water till the boys joined us at night time. We still wanted to swim after a hearty dinner but unfortunately, it rained.

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the water was so clear and the creamy white sand was so fine

We stayed on the veranda to enjoy the night time solitude.  It was so cool and so serene. Its calming effect was so soothing. This was indeed a fulfilling vacation and I just love to go back in this beautiful island. The boys had their social activity on the veranda except my son who was busy playing with his Samsung tab. The kids were also busy playing with their toys.

I’m not used to watching TV, but I was invited by the chic living room to sit back, relax and watch tv.  No laptop, no cellphone.  Wow!

It was almost twelve midnight when we went to bed.

Good-night amazing Samal Island!