A few weekends back, we booked a large bangka from Punta del Sol resort for a whole day around-the-island boat trip. I expected that we’d have a few stops on the trip to get on and off and explore various sights and places. It’s only when you travel all around the island that you get a true impression of its size. I’ve estimated that Samal is about twice the area of Hong Kong island; this trip (unscientifically) verified my impression. It’s a big place; several times the size of Boracay and with a mountainous interior (some of which has patches of virgin forest), a coastline that varies from small white sandy beaches to limestone cliffs (with wave-cut platforms and ‘mushroom rocks’).
We were overtaken by a similar bangka after we rounded the NE point of the island, near the Likud islands.
A disney-esque development just north of Punta del Sol. The kids on our boat liked the look of it. I think it would make a useful target practice for the Philippine Navy.
Vanishing Island near the Bat Cave (north of Babak).
Another view of the Vanishing Island resort
An expensive private pier – missing its amusement park and music hall/theatre
and next to the pier, a white sandy beach
The Ocean View subdivision and marina complex
I thought this was the island’s Mushroom Rock
This is the actual Mushroom Rock – so that makes two of them!
A glimpse into the island’s Lost World interior
Wave cut rocks being used by a local fisherman
The vast and deserted ‘Casino’ complex at the southwestern corner of the island, opposite Talicod Island. Rumours abound on the island including Russians, South Africans and Chinese money rushing in and out. Everyone has their own favourite story. This was the first time I saw it. It seems a great shame that it’s unused.
Another glimpse of the Balinese inspired resort just south of Kaputian, pagodas and all. Building seemed to have ground to a halt, sadly.
Samal’s famous Pearl Farm Resort
Another WordPress Blogger has a description of the Pearl Farm resort here.
Saving the best for last, the next post will feature some stunning photos from our lunch stop and snorkell at San Remigio.