5/2/11

Talicud Island


"Alas-dies pa na molarga" ("It's leaving at 10"), so says one guy we asked at the wharf in Davao City. He was referring to a large outrigger boat painted with the name "Pacific". We arrived just before 8AM thinking there's one leaving much earlier so that left us with two hours to kill. No problem, we're not in a mad rush to get there. After paying the ₱60 fare, we took our seats. From where we were, I could see the island's faint outline, an hour away by banca. Unlike the hulking Samal island which is closer - our destination seem longer than an hour away.

A fishing boat dwarfs a distant view of Davao City as we sailed towards Talicud
Arriving in Sta. Cruz, Talicud island (Samal island is at the background)

Back in the old days, when one talks about a beach in Davao City, this usually meant the Times Beach, so close to the city and long heralded as the city's "pang-masa" beach. Then came the late 80's which brought many across Samal Island and into Paradise Beach. The idea of hopping into an island with its white sand beaches became a big local hit, never mind if it's a mere 15-minute banca ride to Samal. From then on, developers found more manna from heaven in Samal - there's the Pearl Farm, Anamarina, Blue Jaz, Bali Bali, Blue Waters and a host of others.

Then there's Talicud island.


An island at the southeastern tip of Samal, almost "at the back" - hence the name. For the longest time, I've always wanted to go there.  There's the lure of more beaches, diving, snorkeling and for me at least while on this overnight visit, the chance to see how locals live in this island right in the heart of Davao Gulf. Along with its big sister Samal, Talicud is part of what's officially and lengthily called the Island Garden City of Samal (or IGACOS), both covering a total land area of 30,130 hectares. (Why such a name really eludes me!)


An hour after we left Davao City's Sta. Ana wharf, our boat reached Sta. Cruz - the main barangay in the island. There were mostly men with motorcycles waiting for passengers, habal-habal as it's called  everywhere in Mindanao. Talicud, while smaller than Samal, is still big and locals living in other parts of the island find it speedier to move around on a habal-habal than using a banca.

"Asa man diay mo moadto?" ("Where are you going?"), most of them asked. "Diri ra mi sa Isla Reta" (We're only going to Isla Reta"), I shot back. We walked past the men and their habal-habal, past several sari-sari stores and right into a fishing village we went through, helped by a local's pointing finger towards the unremarkable gate leading to Isla Reta - a beach resort that was to be our home for the night. There are three ways to stay - an uninspired concrete cottage (₱800), a very basic nipa cottage (₱700) or just  pitch your tent and pay the overnight fee (₱150).

For our lunch, we went back to the port where fish caught just earlier in the morning were being sold. We  bought what's locally called matambaka (or bigeye scad) and  had the resort's kitchen staff cook it for us for ₱75. The lunch was great! No matter how simple the dish is - in our case having the fish simply fried and the rest of it into a delightful tinola - the freshness of the fish was a big factor in making the meal more memorable.

Later in the afternoon, when the sun wasn't too fierce, we checked the beach and  found portions of it littered with so much broken corals that it became uncomfortable to walk barefoot. While the water is warm and clear, the beach gradient is moderately steep for swimming. This part of Talicud isn't  certainly as perfect as other Philippine beaches. But that's still fine with me. Once the frigid winters of North America will hit me later on, I'll be even thinking of this island that's not so little after all. I'll be thinking of these:

...the clothes hanging to dry sharing space with the bancas

 ...the beachfront interaction between a dog and a pig

...the painter putting finishing touches on a banca

 ...the little boy answering the call of nature right by the sea

 ...the guys who were playing basketball barefoot!


...the banana fritters called "pinaypay"

...the habal-habal laden with more bananas (for more pinaypay perhaps?)

...the habal-habals that are the king of the road everywhere in rural Mindanao

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...the sari-sari store selling cooking oil, soy sauce and other cooking condiments

...the matambaka caught just a few hours prior to being sold

...the same fish we bought that turned out great just simply fried

...and the pigs and chickens that sailed with us on our way back to Davao City early the next day.

An island after all, isn't just about beaches.

13 comments:

  1. you made the beach appear more inviting with your photos. wondeful captures, as usual!
    i like the photo of the kid answering to the call of nature, haha and the one taken from sari-sari store! nakakamiss ang pinas!

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  2. I like that most of your posts contain photos that we wouldn't expect to be there, i.e. pigs, butt showing, etc. I can't wait to visit Davao this year!

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  3. Nice photos! The place looks inviting :)

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  4. this is a great tour because you showed me how locals live. and there's pig on the bbeach!!!

    that boy doing his thing image is priceless.

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  5. the beach is good, looks very calm.
    do you still recommend this place even if i cant speak their native dialect? mahirapan ba ko makipag-usap?

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  6. @chyng samal island residents are mostly honest people. so you can trust them even if you dont speak the dialect. :)

    @nomadic pinoy wow! isla reta! 60 bux per person na? nag mahal na diay noh?

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  7. i've been to davao only once, and it was for a day only. transit from gensan to cdo.

    i can't wait to visit davao sooner than later and explore it end to end!

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  8. Hi Nomadic! Finally some time to stop by... And what a fabulous post!! The pig picture is amazing... ;)

    Blogtrotter Two is waiting for you in Amsterdam... Enjoy and have a superb weekend!!

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  9. the island that we missed last year. i didn;t know that there's a village in it. i like that spot of the beach under those thriving tree branches. perfect!

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  10. I didn't know there's so much more about Talikud Island. We just had a quick stopover here to have our lunch during our island-hopping. It would have been interesting to explore the villages and interact with the locals.

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  11. Hi! I took the liberty of nominating you here: http://bloggerschoiceawards.com/ for Best Travel Blog :) Hope you win ;)

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  12. chyng,
    Di ka mahihirapan dahil nakakaintindi ng Tagalog ang mga taga-Talicud. I recommend this island as part of your future trip to Davao!

    davaoena,
    Maraming salamat. Never heard of this before!

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  13. Anonymous12:55:00 AM

    IT'S QUITE A PRIDE FOR A NATIVE OF THIS "TALK ABOUT" ISLAND LIKE ME, READING THIS BLOG TOGETHER WITH THE WONDERFUL COMMENTS OUT THERE...
    ACTUALLY, WHAT U HAVE SEEN AND WITNESSED WERE JUST A PINCH OF WHAT MY ISLAND COULD OFFER. F MAY I SUGGEST THAT THE NEXT TIME U WOULD VISIT MY PLACE, TAKE A PUMPBOAT/BANCA TO TOUR U AROUND THE ISLAND AND U WUD SEE THE OTHER FACE/BEACHES/DIVING SPOTS/MORE FRESH CAUGHT FISHES OF DIFFERENT KINDS/FRUITS AND A LOT MORE OF THIS ISLAND OF OURS.TALICUD!
    THANK U FOR THIS BLOG...
    GOD BLESS U!


    EAM!(",)

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