1 Dahican Beach, Mati City, Davao Oriental
Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental is located roughly 193 kilometers from Davao City. Blue waters, white sand, 7 kilometers of it, with great surfing and skimboarding. In fact this area is known as the Skimboarding Capital of Mindanao, with competitions held here each year.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia offer daily flights to Davao City. From the airport, ride a taxi to the Ecoland Transport Terminal where there are buses headed to Mati, Davao Oriental. Travel time is roughly four hours. Get off at the town center of Mati and ride a tricycle or habal-habal to Dahican Beach.
2 Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte
White-lipped oysters used to be farmed here, a variety that produces some of the largest and most beautiful pearls the region is known for. Hence the name Pearl Farm, one of the longest running resorts in Davao with a private white-sand beach, part of an 11-hectare resort property. The waters offer excellent diving and snorkelling.
Book a villa at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort. Rooms from P8,700 (about US$175).
How to get there
From the Davao airport or anywhere in Davao City, take a taxi to the Pearl Farm Marina wharf in the Lanang Davao Beach Club. From there, it’s a 45-minute boat ride to Samal Island.
3 Buenavista Island, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte
If money is no object, you can hire the entire island of Island Buenavista, and its wondrously private beach. It's a marine protected area, a world-class diving and snorkeling site, and a hawksbill turtle sanctuary. Located 10 minutes off the coast of Sasa wharf in Davao City, this island facing the Pacific Ocean does not allow motorized boats or activities so as not to disturb the wildlife and marine life. What you get is peace and quiet, crystal-clear turquoise waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Book Island Buenavista for P105,000 for a night for up to 10 people, including meals, transfers and exclusive use of all the facilities.
4 Punta del Sol, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte
Punta del Sol, located in Samal Island, is a laid-back beach resort with a narrow beach strip, mostly white sand and crushed corals. Davao travel writer Bernard Supetran recommends this secluded beach for snorkeling. Take a walk around the expansive grounds of the resort and enjoy a peaceful sunset as you wind down for the day. Day trips and cottages are available for rent.
Book a room at Punta del Sol from P600 for a non-airconditioned room for two people. Day trips are P70 per head.
5 Banana Beach, Tagum City, Davao del Norte
Roughly 79 kilometers from Davao City, Tagum City's Banana Beach in Hijo Resorts Davao is an off-the-beaten path oasis that boasts not just a four-kilometer fine black sand beach, but also a 60-hectare forest reserve and 4.5-kilometer river. The sprawling property earned its name because of its history as a banana plantation, but now it's the ideal family vacation spot offering swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, horseback riding, and walks along nature trails. Native huts dot the resort for day trippers and overnight tourists.
Book a room at Hijo Resorts from P850.
6 Parola Beach, Cape San Agustin, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental
Few people endure the hours of travel to reach the soft pinkish sands and crystalline waters of Parola Beach in Cape Agustin, about 131 kilometers from Davao City. This means most times the beach is empty. There are three lighthouses in the area, two of which are often open to the public, a perfect spot for taking photos and enjoying the sweeping panorama of Cape San Agustin.
How to get there
From Davao airport or anywhere in Davao, ride a taxi or tricycle to the Ecoland Transport Terminal. Here, you can get on a bus to Governor Generoso where a habal-habal will take you straight to Cape San Agustin.
7 Kopiat Island
Hawksbill turtles, leatherback turtles, an unspoiled multi-hued coral reef garden, and a white-sand beach make the 87-hectare Kopiat Island a must-visit eco-destination. It also has lush forests leading to a seven-hectare lagoon. An upscale resort called Lubi Plantation is currently being constructed on the island to accommodate the island's growing visitors.
How to get there
From Davao airport or anywhere in Davao City, take a taxi to Davao City Overland Transport Terminal and hop on a bus headed to Mati City. Tell the driver to drop you off at the Pindasan Barangay Hall in Mabini, where there are habal-habal (motorcycles) that can take you to the Pindasan port. Outrigger boats here go straight to Kopiat Island.
About our insiders
Henrylito Tacio lives in Davao and writes for Business Mirror and Sun.Star.
Bernard Supetran is a travel writer, editor and tourism consultant.
Cover photo is a screengrab from Pearl Farm Beach Resort Facebook page.
Published November 2016