Island Hopping in Davao Oriental

The majestic Pujada Island
It has been five months since we went to Davao Oriental for the second time, and until now, the images of the beautiful beaches and the laid-back vibe still haunt me. The bumpy roads, the long drive, and the crazy waves are, simply put, all worth it.

To go to Mati, the capital city of Davao Oriental, we took an early flight from Manila to Davao. Upon arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, we hired a taxi to bring us to the terminal where GT Express shuttles bound to Mati (and other parts of the Davao Region) are stationed. From Davao, it took us around three hours to get to Mati. It would have been longer if we had taken the bus, which would take about five hours. From the terminal in Mati, our ever reliable tour guide RJ fetch us and we all took a tricycle to Baywalk Hotel. As the name says, the hotel is right on the Baywalk and is walking distance away from eateries, bars, banks, and the main highway.

Baywalk Hotel, location-wise, is very convenient. Its rooms are very basic but will definitely give you a homey feel for a night or two. My only concern about it is that the bathroom fixtures like the shower and faucet in our room were busted,and so we requested that we be transferred to another room. At the next room, the bathroom fixtures were all working fine, except for the water heater (which, by the way is the only distinguishing feature of this room category versus the cheaper one). The aircon was also very noisy and annoying, so it was a bit of a challenge to fall asleep...unless you are too dead tired.

Our room at Baywalk Hotel
Once we settled in our room, we went out for afternoon snacks and later on proceeded to an eatery where we bought some food to bring to the Amihan sa Dahican Surf Camp. We promised the Amihan Team that we will be hosting a boodle flight on that night (thank you to the silent donors for making this possible--the team was so happy). 

Kilawin

Boodle fight with the Amihan Team
The following morning, RJ picked us up from the hotel right after breakfast. We rode the habal-habal to Brgy. Tamisan where a chartered boat was waiting for us. Our itinerary for the day--Oak and Pujada Islands. We wanted to include Waniban Island again (we visited this last year) but we were told that the island is now closed to the public. This left us with more time to spend in the other two islands!

From Brgy. Tamisan, Oak Island is just less than an hour away. It is more of a sandbar than an island actually. It reminds me of the Naked Island in Siargao--just pure white powdery shores, no more, no less. We just took photos and decided to go to Pujada Island right away as the sun was beginning to intensify. There was nothing on the island, not even a tree, so needless to say, if you want to get a perfect tan, go ahead and stay longer.

Approaching Oak Island

Pure shores



The current was a bit unforgiving

Pujada Island on the backdrop, as viewed from Oak Island


Pujada Island is just a few minutes across Oak Island. The 156-hectare island is fringed by white sandy shores and a rich marine biodiversity. There are coconut trees and simple cottages where we you find refuge amidst the scorching heat of the sun. You can also bring food to grill and eat on the island. Just make sure to bring your garbage back to the mainland.


Pujada Island


Food is served!
What impressed me most about Pujada Island are the vibrant and humongous corals not too far away from the shore. They are massive and very much alive. Not many fish though but the corals alone will make you jaw drop.

Yours truly, snorkeling above giant coral reefs
Clown fish again
Our guide in action



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