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Get a glimpse of the natural and man-made attractions at the Island Garden City of Samal.

The name Garden Island City of Samal, or simply Samal Island, readily suggests images of pristine beaches, exciting snorkeling and diving spots, and more activities for the adventurous ones. Being able to experience these places first hand, you could say that the photos you see online do reflect reality.


Hagimit Falls is not like the ordinary waterfalls where a massive amount of water falls from a high mountain edge to a plunge pool below. Hagimit Falls has a series of low waterfalls, each with its own natural pool. From the entrance of the attraction, you need to walk a few steps down a concrete stairs and a short trail to reach the waterfalls. But on your way down, you will already see locals using the fresh water for various chores or simply for their enjoyment.

Upon reaching the waterfalls, you will instantly feel relaxed by the view of natural rock formations, lush green trees, and the bluish green water of the waterfalls. Speaking of trees, Hagimit Falls is named after a tree that grows in the area. Hagimit Falls is currently closed to the public for rehabilitation and is an ecopark in the making.


There is no better time to go to the beach than summer, and if you prefer to enjoy the sea sans the usual crowd, Sanipaan is the perfect spot! Sanipaan Marine Park is a 158-hectare marine protected area at Barangay Tambo, Babak District.

The marine park is divided into four zones—marine sanctuary, multiple-use zone, mangrove protection/ rehabilitation zone and ecotourism or recreational zone. Just last March 2, the local government opened the 320-meter boardwalk and staging area in Barangay Tambo as part of the development program of the tourism office.

On the other end of the boardwalk await multiple boats that can bring you to the beautiful Vanishing Island. The island is called such because the sandbar literally vanishes during high tide and reemerges during low tide. Standing there, you can see the healthy marine life consisting of different species and the mangrove trees that grow beautifully, complementing the color of the seawater; a perfect scene for your beach photos!


If you think Samal Island is all about beaches and falls, then you are wrong. One of the unique experiences you can enjoy in the island is bat viewing. It is not just a simple bat viewing though, because Monfort Bat Sanctuary is home to more than 2 million fruit bats. This made the sanctuary a Guinness World Record holder for having the largest colony of a single species of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bat.

The Monfort Bat Sanctuary is owned by the nongovernment organization Philippine Bats Conservation Foundation Inc. They group takes care of the bats not just for viewing but because these bats have a very important contribution to the environment. Fruit bats serve as seed dispersal agents and they are the reason why Davao became the Durian Capital of the Philippines because the more the fruits smell, the more attractive it is for the bats.

There is only one cave in the sanctuary, a big one that has four different holes from which you can view the bats. The caretakers identified the holes as the maternity/ courting holes (first and second holes), training ground for flying (third hole), and the darkest hole that is 30 feet deep is the area for hibernating bats or the elderly bats (fourth hole).

The bat sanctuary is open for day tours from 8 am to 5 pm. If you are looking for a more adventurous activity, try the night tour from 5 pm to 7:30 am when most of the bats are out of the cave. If you are lucky enough to visit during a full moon, you may witness the bats fly in a tornado-like formation. But be careful because during nighttime, taking of photos is strictly not allowed as this may cause total blindness and miscarriage for the pregnant bats.

The bat sanctuary has a Php150 entrance fee. Make sure to bring your face masks when visiting because bat droppings can be toxic for humans.


Have you ever seen giant clams? If they are amazing enough as seen in photos, imagine seeing them in person! There is nothing to be anxious about if you are afraid of the water or a first timer in snorkeling. The tourist guides will orient you on the proper way of snorkeling while appreciating the giant clams. Besides, the clams are just a few feet away from the water surface.

The area is a 14-hectare marine reserve park that is home to 37,000 giant clams. This is under the partnership of Davao del Norte College (DNSC), AdeCor United Fisherfolks Organization (ACUFOR) and Samal’s local government. The Giant Clams Sanctuary provides livelihood to the residents of the coastal communities who are trained to become tour guides and conservation warriors. With the cooperation of everyone, this tourist spot was recognized by Pearl Awards 2022 with the Best Tourism Practices award, under the Best Practices in Responsible Tourism category.


The Tourist Rest Area is one of the flagship projects of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Frasco. This establishment situated at the city hall complex in Penaplata, Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCOS) is one of the first two built in the country. It is a one-stop-shop for tourists who need to literally freshen up because it has a shower and comfort room for men, women, and persons with disability (PWD). They can also buy souvenirs here or enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee at the soon-to-open café.

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