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The islands  of Samal and Kalikud in Mindanao

The islands of Samal and Kalikud in Mindanao

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Samal island is located a few kilometers from Davao, just get on the ferry that runs night and day, 10 minutes later a foot is placed above, two .. if you have better luck !

Following, map of the island :


Carte de Samal island

Jenefer never stops imitating all foreigner’s accent when speaking English. We met recently Belgians,  French, Australians, Germans, Italians and created with them absurd dialogs … i suspect her to be gifted, anyway i often burst out laughing.
While searching on internet, I found a guesthouse that seemed affordable and friendly, bingo !!! It is run by  a Filipino-Belgian couple and this is one of the best places I’ve ever visited, if you ever go there, go to “Samal Island Huts” at Caliclic, a paradise on earth, it’s not near water, or the most beautiful beaches, but the manager is extremely helpful. There are  great cabanas with dining area, showers, sofas,  and even a stove, all made of wood (but the stove !) for 1200 pesos, great !!!

Hagimits’ cascades are not very far, take a motorcycle-taxi to get there, the road requires good experience, though.
After seeing Erawan’s falls, they seem very wise and a little too constructed, it is sorely lacking wild, except the color of the sky, blue water and the pleasure of drowning, nothing exceptional but for families who enjoy it a lot.

After our good daily rain which seems to be the  normal climate here at this time of year, i ask our young driver where to contemplate the colors of dusk. It was a good idea, even if the place was not amazing, the sun and the clouds have orchestrated an explosive graphic symphony !!

It’s almost Christmas, the Philippines are the only Catholic country of Asia, the religion is inherited from the Spanish colonization. In the evening, groups of children come and sing at the doors of houses, people give them back a few pesos, a beautiful tradition, here is an extract :

Being eager to explore the seabed of the island, we organize a small expedition to the east cost. Canibad, to get there our friend Michael, the motorcycle-taxi will take us, 1h30, passing by villages and a second drive very, very chaotic, do not forget to buy food and drink before you go, preferably in the morning !
Arriving on the spot, it is almost deserted, a small white sandy beach, some rocks and empty resorts.

I swam for half an hour near the rocks, the time to notice that : here the corals are alive and well, a good amount of corals comfirms that the biotope is not doing too badly at the moment, however, few fish, nothing to do with the current state of Thailand’s seabed. Some photos done with the gopro, and 3 videos will follow later, when i get back from this trip.

To end the day, a photo of Michael, motorcycle -taxi hero of the day, and Jenefer could not help  create a work .. containing the word tomorrow “pronounced” like French people do .

And tomorrow came.  The next two days will be devoted to shooting sessions of Grace, a model who came from Manila.
Moving in the south west of the island is necessary to find a white sand beach, easily accessible, Kaputian seems a perfect place, according to the informations collected. To get there from Caliclic our port of arrival, it takes one hour motorcycle-taxi (1000 pesos/person).
Kaputian, the beach is not very big, a resort called “Two red parrots” offers rooms, not too dear, and near the water. Two red budgerigars  scream  their head off, while Cockatoo challenge all passers-by with :  “hello” ….
It’s almost noon, the sun hits hard, but we are motivated for a first session on this small beach.
After the photo shooting, i tried an hour snorkeling, in front of the hotel, the coral garden is larger than in Canibad, i met a sea serpent, the “Laticauda colubrina”, black and blue, it has  a very concentrated venom, much more than a land snake, one bite can kill ten men, fortunately, it cannot penetrate our skin esaily, given its small mouth, only between-fingers are vulnerable, it is not afraid of me and even proudly, facing me, i could not take a picture in this position, i must say that aiming with a gopro while swimming is not a piece of cake …and then i freaked out a bit !!

In the evening the main hotel employee proposes to visit the manager’s property, on a hill overlooking a palm plantation, this is a beautiful place, in a coconut park, with  soft grass underfoot. The sea view is spectacular, unfortunately the sunset will be gone by the time we start a session with Grace, and again  the rain stops all photographic activity, we must be content to contemplate the afterglow under shelter on the terrace.


We see it well on the map, opposite Kapitian, the Bancas (Filipinos’s boats with lateral floats) depart regularly in the morning to get to Santa Cruz, a small wooden village, it takes twenty minutes. The place is pretty wild, only one resort on the beautiful white sand beach, south of the village, almost nobody about. The island also offers diving spots and snorkeling, including a coral garden to the west.
No sun today, it rained all night and a good part of the morning, the sky is threatening again, we have time to cover a part of the coast, several white sand beaches lined with Terminalia Catappa, tropical almond tree, separated by rocky places, beautiful area !
Flocks of sheep and goats frolic very near the edges and go together with roosters which i suspect might have sore throats, given their distorted  vocals.

And once again, the rain will end the day … tonight is departure for Cebu ….

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The islands of Samal and Kalikud in Mindanao

par Stéphane Bidouze time to read: 7 min