Traveling Solo in Samal Island

September 29, 2011 Travel

There are two things we do not wish to happen to us when traveling solo: first is getting lonely, and second is getting sick. This pretty much sums up my recent journey to Samal Island.

The original plan was to go to Surigao del Sur, but I decided against it due to menstrual discomfort. It was a good decision not to board the 2 AM bus and instead look for a hotel in the city. That night was filled with discomfort, and I also noticed a sharp pain on my left toe from an ingrown.

Letting go of the unfamiliar, I switched my attention to Samal Island, which I had visited several times before with friends.

The following day, after a quick trip to the salon, I decided not to board the boats that take visitors to Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort, where I stayed on my previous Samal visits. Instead, I took a boat at Sta. Ana Wharf to Kaputian in Samal Island. The description on the internet of Kaputian Beach was very alluring, so I decided on it.

That decision, however, wasn't the best.

After more than 30 minutes of waiting for the boat to be filled up, plus an hour of boat ride, we reached Kaputian Beach in Barangay Poblacion.

Kaputian Beach Park is right beside the port. I walked to the resort and found a throng of people enjoying a program. I asked the personnel to show me the available rooms, which turned out to be disappointing because of the obvious lack of maintenance. I then asked for recommendations, and they pointed me to the next resort called Red Parrot Inn.

It was walking distance, but I decided to take a pedicab. I was still having dysmenorrhea. The resort seemed more maintained than Kaputian Beach Park, except for two things - the room is across the street, about 50 meters walk, and the main building was constructed right on the beach, so there was no white sand to walk on.

Because of my menstrual cramps, I was willing to take the room, but luckily there was another family from Manila who was equally disappointed and decided to go back to Peñaplata to find better accommodations. They allowed me to join them back to Peñaplata on their rented multicab.

Peñaplata is one of the barangays of Samal Island. It has several resorts, and the first we visited was Fernandez Beach Resort.

After inspecting the cottage available for me, I immediately decided on staying. I went straight to the comfort room for my much-needed freshening up. After a shower, I went out to check the beach, and I was just in time to watch the color of the deep blue sea turn orange and gold as the sun sets.

Just when I was about to entertain the thought of dipping in the waters, I felt pain in my lower abdomen, so I decided to go back to my room.

The decision not to take the bus to Bislig turned out to be the right choice, especially when I started feeling body aches, followed by the flu. All those perks of traveling solo, like enjoying a good book (which I had) or having deep insights, or even connecting with myself, were not happening. Instead, I was dialing the numbers of my travel buddies and telling them about my misery.

Thankfully, a good night's rest took away my illness, and I was able to enjoy a good morning walk on the beach the day after.

I got the number of the multicab driver that took us to Peñaplata and asked him to take me around Samal Island.

Kuya Bong, the multicab driver, was pleasant company that morning, telling me about his migration to Samal, some of the people we encountered on the road, the progress of the island, and the facilities we visited. Conversations like these don't often happen when I travel with my family and friends because very often, I talk with them.

He took me to Maxima, Samal's new resort that boasts water sport facilities like giant slides.

I was not up for swimming, so I just took a quick tour, then boarded Kuya Bong's van again.

Afterward, we visited Samal's entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, the Monfort Bat Sanctuary, which is home to the largest colony of rousette fruit bats ever recorded. Visiting this sanctuary was the best part of my Samal visit.

After my morning tour of Samal Island, Kuya Bong took me to the port, and I took a boat back to Davao City, where I decided to take some rest and regain my health.

Despite my brief vibrant moments in Samal Island, the encounters and conversations with Kuya Bong and the family I met made this solo trip rewarding. It is true what they say: traveling enriches you, but traveling solo doubles the dose.

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