The 10-peso 20-minute ride to Paradise: Samal Island

Yet another solo adventure.

My wake-up call was the sweet chorus of birds making their presence known. Yes, there was a mini-aviary in my hotel. Eager to start the promising solo trip, I skipped breakfast and hurriedly left the hotel. Sasa Wharf was my stop and the jeepney fare was a mere P15. I noticed the group of people outside the wharf seemingly waiting for their companions; I approached them but was hesitant to ask for directions to the ticketing office. Instead, I turned towards the sari-sari store nearby and bought myself a bottle of water hoping that I could easily segue into sharing my travel concerns. The vendor turned out to be quite snobbish and as much as I hated having my questions answered in the form of another question, I kept my calm. I saw a group of teen excursionists hurrying their way past a tollgate of some sort and then I followed them. The ticketing station, it turns out, was a small booth where you get a token for 10pesos and you drop this token into a slot in a gate very much similar to that in MRT and LRT stations. How clever and efficient!

 

Not too long after I paid for my token, the barge was ready to accept passengers. Standing beside a motorcycle and a ladder dripping with oil the color of soot, I didn’t find the transit uncomfortable since it lasted for only 20minutes. I asked a lady near me if she knows of any resort she could recommend as I really don’t know where I’m going. She told me there are dozens, but never really gave a specific name. haha.

 

Disembarked and walked towards a convenient store for some snacks. I was starving but I needed a quick fill and something I could bring along the way so I opted for some chips and oatmeal cookies. Not knowing my destination, I approached and asked a Habal driver if he could bring me to the city tourism office for my inquiries. He gave me a better deal instead: a half-day tour around the island with stops in Monfort Bat Sanctuary, Hagimit Falls, and a beach resort of my choice (but I didn’t really know the choices so I went with what he recommended- Paradise) for just P350. The fare was originally set at P500 but I worked my charm. haha

 

 Monfort Bat Sanctuary (Entrance Fee: 40pesos)

It was a sight to behold. The cream limestone walls held black curtains of fruit bats. I marveled before the five cave openings that serve as home to 1.8billion Geoffrey Rousette Fruit bats, the largest colony of the said bat kind in the world! I didn’t mind the mosquitoes and the humid, putrid air filled with the stench of guano. I simply clicked away.

Hagimit Falls  (Entrance Fee: 40pesos)

Hagimit falls is actually a collection of several cascades and not a single tall waterfall. One needs to descend via a cemented stairway composed of more than a hundred steps (I forgot my count! 😐 ).

Paradise Beach Resort (Entrance Fee: 150 pesos, a third of which is consumable)

Families were lounging by the shore, which isn’t much of a shore anymore as the stretch of sand fronting the resort has been reduced to a teeny tiny commercialized strip. Oh well, this still doesn’t make me love the beach less.

I very much enjoyed this solo trip except for the compulsory self-timer shots (which I’m surprisingly good at) !

 

 

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