Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal: Where Love and Hate Collide
The Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte has a charm that naturally draws me back for more. This time, I decided to explore another tourist destination in Mindanao which I've heard much popular only among the locals of Davao Region.
Accompanied by a guest travel buddy from Davao, Mari John, we ran to Sta. Ana Wharf along Magsaysay Road in Davao City to catch up for the 3:00pm ferry boat bound for Kaputian and Isla Reta in Samal Island. With a fare of P80.00 per head, the trip lasted for an hour.
Before reaching, Talicud Island, we had a short stop over at Kaputian beach to unload passengers bound for Peñaplata. After 15 minutes, we reached the island of Talicud Island which is just fronting the mainland Samal. We docked at the port of Isla Reta.
Isla Reta awed me with its natural turquoise water and with the not so more than 200-meter white fine coral sand beach. But my excitement rushed down to see hundreds of visitors scattered everywhere which shouldn't be a surprise since it was the peak of summer heat during our visit.
The resort is a privately owned property with few concrete and “sawali” type of accommodations that ranges from Php 600-800 per night. There are also tables and pavilion set near the beach. Since all rooms were fully booked, we opted to rent a tent for a ridiculous price of Php400.00 without beddings included and we also needed to pay for Php 150 each for an overnight stay. Whoah , we just got robbed on the spot!
Wandering around, I got a little disappointed seeing some parts on of the island being shoved with concrete materials just to provide pavement for passing visitors, making it look more artificial and most importantly, depreciating its natural outlook. Well, I can’t complain since the resort was established as a commercialized tourist destination, aiming to accommodate as many as they can, not thinking of the deteriorating impact it can give to the place just like what is happening inEnchanted River of Hinatuan and other beautiful spots in the Philippines that are mismanaged..
Reach for the other side!
Seeing a crowded beach makes me feel uncomfortable and the whole place looked like it was raped by hundreds of visitors littered everywhere that almost resembled to Puerto Galera, only the latter is better and smaller. Instead of staying in Isla Reta Resort, we left our things inside our tent and wandered at the other side of the island where we discovered a much relaxing place with better ambiance and jaw dropping water quality.
It was the perfect venue for us to enjoy and compliment the expensive accommodation in Isla Reta. Since there were no other people aside from us, we had a blast doing the ultimate cam whoring moments in this less known paradise in Davao del Norte. The surrounding area is accentuated with sharp boulders and countless scattered broken coral skeletons . Generally the place has fine white sand where you can just sit and lie down while enjoying the setting sun and cool water splashing almost everywhere.
When the tide got a little high, we returned to the resort for our dinner. Good thing there’s a grilling station near our place where we grilled a half kilo of pork chop we initially bought from Davao City. Sad thing, we have to pay additional P55.00 for our half kilo of rice that was steam-cooked at the store operated by the resort and extra Php 10.00 for the plates and another Php5.00 for the glass they "lent" us.
The store sells basic commodities with price literally soaring to the sky. They also have a videoke center where you can rent for Php350.00 an hour. Yaykks!
Not much to do in the beach aside from night swimming, we put out the most important content of our bag- Vodka. Hahaha. We tried to invite newly found friends in the campsite but it turned out they weren’t much of a drinker , so it led to a one on one drinking session with my travel buddy Mari John until we finished the whole bottle . After the last drop of our drink slipped, we were totally drunk, sleeping halfway to the sand of the beach from our tent.
Sober We Were-Opps!
The morning was a new beginning for us to get an inspiration to shoot for some quality pictures. I locked my eyes on the nearby deserted port and decided to make countless of dives into the bluish green water. It was a fun activity that even others had joined us in diving, running and jumping here and there until other people noticed and everybody were in queue to jump from the end of the ramp.
It was an energy exhausting activity and when my eyes started to run dry and got really reddish and painful, we decided to hit the shower and packed our things clean. At 8:00am the ferry boat bound for Davao City arrived in Isla Reta and we decided to board that ended our full fun filling stay in the island.
Will I be returning to Isla Reta in Talicud Island? In Talicud Island, YES, but in Isla Reta SORRY to tell but that would be the first and the last time I shall step my feet on the fine coral sand of the resort. The place has its natural beauty but major alteration depreciates its natural value and the prices for its facilities are way beyond unreasonable. I rather go to a deserted beach in Talicud Island which is my next goal in returning to Samal Island.
Tips and Points to Ponder in Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal:
Prices of commodities in Isla Reta are skyrocketing, so better bring your own food, water and other personal necessities. There are grill stands if you wish to have some barbecue party. Just bring your own charcoal. For some beverage like softdrinks are charged with corkage fee.
There is no electricity during day time at the resort and lights are generator produced at night. Bring extra battery for your gadgets like phone, MP3 players, especially camera if you wish not to miss a happy moment with your family and friends during your stay in the island.
Since the island is literally at the back of mainland Samal Island, wind is trapped at night making it a little bit humid in the place with only patches of wind passing , thus it is better to stay on the sand or bring your own tent and hammock to hang at the Talisay trees.
Videoke rental is Php 350.00 per hour, so I suggest bringing your own guitar or any music player to jam with your family and friends.
There is a beach volleyball court but the ball is also for rental, you may want to bring your own sports equipment as well.
We suggest for you to explore the rocky part on the left side of the island to experience better spot to swim and just relaxed with less crowded place.
You can reach isla Reta in Talicud Island via Sta. Ana Wharf. The port is in Brgy. Sta. Ana just along Magsaysay Road across Davao’s China Town. Ferries are available in the morning till afternoon; 3:00pm is the last trip bound for Isla Reta. Fare is Php80.00 per head, travel time is 1 hour.