On a recent mini-vacation in the Philippines we decided to visit the small island of Samal off the coast of Davao City. After a short taxi ride, and a P10 (around 20 US cents) ferry ride, we were on the island. There were no plans made ahead of time as to where to stay, and after asking a few of the locals on the island a nice and affordable place, we found the hidden gem of Villa Amparo Garden Beach Resort.
This resort is a bit away from the main port, and after we were overcharged by a tryke driver for the 30 minute ride to the resort we were so happy to have taken the locals advice. A tryke is a small motorcycle with a side care attached if you were wondering. Upon arrival we were greeted promptly by a very courteous lady who booked us into a beautiful room with an ocean view. The room was air-conditioned, had a queen and twin size bed, hot and cold shower, and satellite television. Since we arrived a little late, we decided to put our bags in the room and order from the menu of the resort.
The food was freshly cooked and quite good, the prices were not too bad either, for 2 full meals the cost was around $8. Although our room had a covered table right outside the front door, we decided to eat in the public pavilion and enjoy the breeze and view. After eating we decided to explore the grounds and the beach. This resort has a lot to offer, such as a watch tower, a karaoke pavilion, a long boardwalk out to a wonderful manmade smaller island with beach chairs, tables, and a small pavilion.
On the first night we reserved the karaoke machine and ordered a few drinks to relax by the ocean side. The breeze coming off the ocean kept the night cool and after singing for a while we decided to get some sleep so we could wake early for breakfast and beach time. There were very few people at the resort as we were there on a Sunday night.
Upon waking the next day we decided to do a little swimming at the resorts private beach, but one of us forgot our swim trunks, so we had breakfast instead. We had planned on enjoying our breakfast at the covered table provided outside our room, but other people had arrived and decided they should take over half the resort, a typical Filipino mentality. I would like to note that resorts here allow people to rent huts and covered tables to enjoy their beaches, however the table outside our room was for our room, and we were unable to use it because someone had tied a baby swing there and left their baby sleeping. We decided to just eat in the room, and enjoy the view of the ocean from our window.
The resort offers boat, Jet Ski, and inflatable boat rentals, so we decided to rent a jet ski as my friend had never rode one. I decided stay on the pier and film him so he could keep the memory of his first Jet Ski ride. It was a beautiful day and the breeze was great.
The private swimming area of the resort is cordoned off and the waters were pristine and clear. The water wasn’t too deep until you got further out, so this resort is great if you are not a strong swimmer but still want to enjoy the water. After snapping some photos, drying up and packing we decided to check out and head back to the mainland. The resort offered a motorcycle ride back to town for a small fee and we zipped back along the open road to the port to head to the mainland.
I would like to note, that the staff at this resort were some of the friendliest people I have met and they were wonderful. One thing I did not like is that the mini-store on property and the restaurant closed at 8pm which is way too early for such a remote place. There is no place near to order food or drinks so you need to order early, but on a positive note, our room had a mini-fridge so we were able to order some extra beers the first night and keep them cold. Also, the staff needs to monitor the day guests to make sure they are not encroaching on the areas rented by others already.
If you would like to know more about this wonderful hidden gem you can visit the Villa Amparo Garden Beach Resort webpage at http://www.villaamparoresort.com/ for all the information you would need to book into this great place. You won’t regret the relaxing time you spend here. On our next trip to the island, I will likely stay here again, but hopefully I will have 2 free nights to really enjoy the relaxing breeze, and the peace that you can only find on an island with the ocean lapping the beach and while watching the colorful fish swim under the water.
This truly is a small paradise!