Summer means a lot of things. For students, it means a much-welcomed break from the monotony of schoolwork. For travelers exploring the Philippines, it’s an opportune time to travel to their favorite destinations without having to check storm alerts. For me and for most beach lovers, summer has always been the perfect excuse to be one with the sea. And in this part of the Philippines, we enjoy an almost endless summer.
I live very close to paradise. In case it’s your first time visiting Philippine Traveler, this writer is a resident of Davao City and a short boat/ferry ride away is Samal Island and its glorious beaches. Whenever the need for sea breeze strikes, I need only to catch a ferry and hire a trike to my resort of choice.
Samal Island has a huge number of resorts: some high-end, some so-so and some not really keen on impressing visitors. The initial plan was to go to Camp Holiday, a popular resort literally steps from the ferry landing. Although I can’t say anything positive about the beach in this area, Camp Holiday has excellent rooms and a decent pool. Unfortunately, the place looked too crowded for comfort when we debarked from the ferry so we decided to head to Golden Bay Beach Resort instead.
Golden Bay Beach Resort is located in Brgy. Limao, Samal Island. From Davao City, you’d have to take the ferry from the Sasa Ferry Port. Once in Samal Island, you may hire a tricycle or a single motorcycle to take you to Golden Bay Beach Resort. Since it is quite a distance from the port, you’d have to negotiate the price. Normally, it would cost P300 per way; you can always split the amount among your companions or others headed to the same resort/area.
Travel time is more or less 30-45 minutes via Samal Island’s main highway. TIP: arrange for same tricycle driver to pick you up from the resort and take you back to the port. Tricycles do not normally pass by this area and there’s very slim to zero chance that you’ll catch a ride without waiting for hours.
We’ve visited Golden Bay Beach Resort once before and noticed that the resort has since upgraded their facilities. The trees have grown taller and they’ve reconstructed their open cottages. There was more shade and the place looked greener than ever.
We were able to check out their overnight accommodations during our first visit but not on the recent trip. I do not know if they also made upgrades on the rooms.
Here’s a photo I took of the cottages during our first visit:
Air-conditioned overnight cottages occupy two sides of the small courtyard that doubles as parking lot for guests who arrive with their own vehicles. The cottages can accommodate two persons and have basic amenities like private bathroom, refrigerator, TV, a dresser and a small living area. There are non-AC rooms as well but I would not recommend these since I noticed most of the staff use them as living quarters.
Further in are large open-air cottages looking over the tops of Talisay trees into the azure Davao Gulf. Descending a flight of stairs, we found smaller cottages that can easily accommodate up to six adults on a day trip. These cottages were closer to the beach so we picked one under a good shade and settled there.
We had to descend another flight of stairs to the beach but we did not mind. The sea looked so calm and beautiful from our cottage. We were the only guests during our first visit and the feeling of exclusivity was still felt during the last. I guess this is part of Golden Bay Beach Resort’s charm: you get to feel as if you have the resort to yourself.
Golden Bay Beach Resort’s main feature is their long jetty which terminates not with the conventional dock for boats but with a cottage made for karaoke. There airy cottage has a karaoke machine, large TV and a few sets of tables and chairs. The only thing lacking in the scenario is an unabashed guest singing his own rendition of Here Comes the Sun. It was perfect; from there you can see the resort, the Davao Gulf and the breathtaking sunsets.
I noticed that Golden Bay Beach Resort is big on karaoke. There were at least three large spaces with karaoke machines and I think a couple small ones. I figured this would be a perfect place to sing your heart out without having to be shy about it. There’s hardly anyone else to hear you, anyway.
The beach is fantastic. Its white sand is finer compared to that in Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort and the shore has a very gentle slope. Children can play freely in the water without fear of drowning or getting washed away by strong waves. The water was warm and a delight to bathe in but guests must be reminded to wear slippers or water sandals as there are rocks and corals on the sea floor.
Overall, our weekend beach trip to Golden Bay Beach Resort was a great experience. The long ride to the resort was definitely worth it, if only to avoid the crowds in more sought-after Samal Island resorts. Would I recommend going there? Definitely especially if you’re looking for a place away that will allow you to enjoy the beach to yourself or with very little company.
Philippine Traveler’s Rating:
What’s your favorite resort on Samal Island? Let us know on the comments below!