The Island Garden City of Samal is the kind of place you don’t want to miss in your lifetime. White sand beaches, pristine waters, majestic waterfalls, fascinating caves and panoramic views are plenty in the city. Its amenities and several exciting activities have added more vibrancy to the Island Garden City of Samal, making it a major tourist destination in Southern Philippines. In fact, the city is hyping up its well-celebrated festivals to earn the moniker “Island of Festivals” and to draw more tourists to its naturally beautiful land.
The Island Garden City of Samal is a group of islands that is centrally located in Davao Gulf in the southeastern part of Mindanao. It is a second class city in the Davao del Norte province which is politically subdivided into 46 barangays. Presently, it is part of Metropolitan Davao alongside Davao City, Panabo City, Tagum City, Digos City and the Municipalities of Sta. Cruz and Carmen.
In the past, the area was divided into three municipalities – Samal, Kaputian and Babak – each endowed with different natural and man made attractions. In 1998, however, the resolution of Republic Act No. 8471 paved the way to the merger and dissolution of the three municipalities into one local government unit, officially named Island Garden City of Samal.
Today, the city is known for its booming tourism industry. Scenic beaches, rich flora and fauna and other natural attractions abound in the city. There are also many activities to do around the city like island hopping, snorkeling, Jetski ride, scuba diving, hiking and camping. You can also visit the sanctuaries of Dugong, Pawikan and other rare marine creatures. An island tour via ferries and sea craft are also offered to tourists, making it possible to view all of the city’s coastal beauty in just few hours.
The fastest way to get to the Island Garden City of Samal is via ferries and speed boats from Davao City which approximately takes 2 hours. Davao City, equipped with bus terminals and international seaports and airports, is accessible via land, air and water.
The Island Garden City of Samal is currently bidding to gain the moniker as the Philippines’ Island of Festivals. Among the festivals the locals celebrate are the Hugyaw Madayaw Samal (August 29-30), which is a cultural celebration of the practices of the Sama tribe; Kabasan Festival (May 22-28), which is in honor of the founding anniversary of the then Municipality of Babak; Bat Festival (last week of January) which is aimed at promoting the environmental benefits of bats; and Pangapog Festival (first weekend of August) which is in thanksgiving to Magbabaya or the Sama God.
With the city’s number of merry-makings scheduled all year round, no doubt the Island Garden City of Samal will earn their much anticipated moniker soon. (Samal Travel Guide by www.Mindanaoan.com)