Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kwentong Kaladkarin #40: Davao Delights – Soaking Up the Samal Sunshine

Da Where: Isla Reta Resort, Talicud Island, Island Garden City of Samal
Da When: August 13-14, 2012
Da Who: me and Deej, on our Davao Duo trip

Serenity and the sea
 The past two weeks before this trip, Manila was once again drenched in heavy rains brought along by the southwest monsoon or habagat. Several colleagues even experienced flooded homes and landslides in the northern mountainous areas became news on the nightly programs.

Save for a few minutes of heart-thumping turbulence before landing in Davao, it felt like Deej and I were in a whole different continent. It actually made feel a little guilty to laze around in sunshine while my Facebook news feed filled up with woes of never-ending rain, flood and horrible traffic. I was sending virtual sunshine to friends, hoping that helped a little.

This was the second time Deej and I have been to Isla Reta and we've always thought how lucky Davaenos are to be living so close to such pristine beaches. Unlike the popular resorts on the main Samal Island, Isla Reta is located in Talicud Island and takes about an hour to get there from the Sta. Ana Wharf in Davao City. There are also no resort facilities like a pool or first-class rooms to check in to but they don't charge corkage fees for bringing in food and you can opt to rent or bring a tent and pitch camp right on the beach. On weekdays, you may also find the resort all to yourselves, like what we experienced.

Busy port
On an early Monday morning while the rest of the city hustles to get to school and work, we packed our swimming gear and tents and went straight to the wharf in Magsaysay where we took a boat out to Isla Reta. The boat leaves around 1000H and charges PhP80/pax. Apart from Deej and I, the only passengers on board were a large family bringing in hampers loaded with food, also eyeing some vacation time with their loved ones.

After being lulled into naps by the salty sea breeze and gentle swaying of the boat over the waves, Deej woke me up as the boat switched off its engine and slowly positioned into a dock. The beach was fringed with talisay trees with the blue-green shallow waters inviting anyone to come take a dip. We finally made it back to Isla Reta. :)

What greeted us after an hour's boat ride...
We went straight to their registration desk-slash-sari-sari store to register our entrance (PhP150/pax) and camping (PhP100/tent) fees for the night. The last time we were there were with our friends from work, I remember we had to go outside the resort and take a habal-habal to the nearby wet market to purchase food supplies. We need not do that anymore as the resort now offers options to have chicken, pork and noodle dishes cooked and served. Soda, bottled water and alcoholic drinks were also available but expect a higher mark-up as electricity in the resort comes from solar panels and is only available at 1500H until midnight.

Lunch by the beach...
Two-girl session. :)
After that, we wasted no time and pitched our tents on the powdery sand, enjoyed the warm waters and a sheepish sun until dusk. The family that we were together with on the boat have retreated to their cottages and that left the whole stretch of the beach to us.

Under the talisay trees' shade
Gone soul searching. Be back in a few. :)
So what if we don't know how to swim? ;P
This far away from the bright urban lights, the starts shine like diamonds strewn on a blanket of black silk. Several brandy shots later, I went lying on the sand with only the gentle lapping of the waves on the sandy shore and star-gazed. This is the definition of rest and relaxation. :)

The next morning dawned bright and sunny and gave us a chance to go for a dip and sunbathe some more and explore the rest of the resort. I could stay here for a week and just enjoy a cold bottle of beer while digging my toes into the sand while watching the sun rise and see it set.

Sunrise or sunset? :)
All that beach. All to ourselves. was when I carried you.
Our accommodations for the night. The view was to-die-for. :)

Go barefoot on the sand or the well-trimmed bermuda grass.
Lost in her own thoughts.
It's not everyday you come across views that take your breath away.
Standing out.
Alas, mini-paradise moments like this always have to come to an end. As the coastline of Davao City loom ahead of us when we took the afternoon boat trip out, I was still lost in daydreams of cerulean waters and sizzling sunbeams. *sigh*

...and will likely be back for a third time.
Back into my tropical bubble.

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