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Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal | Where Love and Hate Collide

The Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) in Davao del Norte has a charm that naturally draws me back for more. This time, I decided to explore another tourist destination in Mindanao which I've heard much popular only among the locals of Davao Region.

Accompanied by a guest travel buddy from Davao, Mari John, we ran to Sta. Ana Wharf along Magsaysay Road in Davao City to catch the 3:00pm ferry boat bound for Kaputian and Isla Reta in Samal Island. The fare was P80.00 per head and the trip lasted for an hour.

Before reaching, Talicud Island, we had a short stop over at Kaputian beach to unload passengers bound for PeƱaplata. After 15 minutes, we reached the Talicud Island, docking at the port of Isla Reta, which was just  fronting the the bigger island, Samal.

First impression?

Isla Reta awed me with its natural turquoise water and the not so more than 200-meter white fine coral sand beach. But my excitement rushed down to see hundreds of visitors littered everywhere which shouldn't be a surprise since it was the peak of summer vacation during our visit.

The white powdery sand of Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal, Davao del Norte

The resort is privately owned with few concrete and “sawali” type of accommodations that ranges from Php 600-800 per night. There are   tables and pavilion set near the beach. Since all rooms were fully booked, we opted to rent a tent for a ridiculous price of Php400.00 without beddings included and we were required to pay a whooping Php 150 each  for the overnight stay. Whoah , I felt we have just been robbed  on the spot! 

Wandering around, I got a little disappointed seeing some parts of the island   being shoved with concrete materials just to provide pavement for passing visitors, making the place look more artificial, depreciating its natural outlook. Well, I can’t complain since the resort was established as a commercialized tourist destination, aiming to accommodate as many as they can,. The management must br not  aware of the impact it can give to the place . If they could look into the case of what is happening now in Enchanted River of Hinatuan and other beautiful spots in the Philippines that were mismanaged, they could make some changes in their resort.

My ego counterpart and equalizer Mari,enjoying the crystal water of Talicud Island.

Reach for the other side! 

Staying in this crowded beach made me feel uncomfortable  as the whole place looked like it was raped by hundreds of visitors wandering everywhere that almost resembled to the scenery of Puerto Galera on a holiday, only the latter is better and smaller. Instead of staying in Isla Reta Resort, we left our things inside our tent and wandered at the other end of the island where we discovered a much relaxing place with better ambiance and jaw dropping water quality.

A gesture of happiness and triumph in Talicud Island, Samal
It was the perfect venue for us to enjoy and compliment the expensive accommodation in Isla Reta. Since there were no other people aside from us, we had a blast doing the ultimate cam whoring moments in this less known paradise in Davao del Norte.

The surrounding area was accentuated with sharp boulders and countless  scattered broken coral skeletons . Generally the place has fine white sand where you can just sit and lie down while feasting your eyes on beautiful setting sun and embracing the cool water splashing almost everywhere.

When the tide got a little high, we returned to the resort for our dinner. Good thing there’s a grilling station near to our place where we grilled a half kilo of pork chop we initially bought from Davao City. Sad thing, we have to pay an additional P55.00 for our half kilo of rice that was steam-cooked at the store operated by the resort and extra Php 10.00  for the plates and another Php5.00 for the glass they "lent" to us. 

The store sells basic commodities with price literally soaring to the sky.  They also have a videoke center where you can rent for Php350.00 an hour. Yaykks!

Bonding on Head Collision

Not much to do in the beach aside from night swimming, we put out the most important content of our bag- Vodka. Hahaha. We tried to invite newly found friends in the campsite but it turned out they weren’t much of a drinker , so it led to a one on one drinking session with my travel buddy Mari John until we finished the whole bottle .

During my Bell's Palsy days, going to Talicud Island, Samal
By the way for the information of the public, Mari and I met in a not so likable place and situation in Mindanao. I will just leave it in mystery for now. We had our share of differences in our philosophy and views about life. We barely have the same taste on food and always head clashing when the topic about politics was laid on the table and which president should do give orders in Malacanang.

Our discussion always go with hitting the red #bastard lines and bashing each other with words of dislike. We don't like each other's sense of outdoor fashion and even the way we spend time traveling on the road. We were both strong headed and always pinning on opposite directions when looking for the best road to tackle. He barely smile on life's funny moments, where I on the other hand have gone bursting out my saliva with fart included, laughing on little humor thrown at me.

But our collision always ended with same affirming nod when we discuss the beauty and richness of Mindanao. Our high tone slips down when we speak of equality and how odd human's short shelf life to be spent solving math and sciences. And we laugh every time we remember how that big fire ashed our cheap accommodation in downtown Davao scaring the shit out of us on a very high noon.

Mari, enjoying the freedom of being with nature in Samal
And then we silently snap on sorrow every time we speak of life's unforgiving challenges yet reflecting on the lessons learned along the ways.

We speak of why can't we have the same path of beliefs and principles and live in what we have wished a more understanding society. We speak of how life could be better if the government treated its citizen in accordance to the lessons of the past with high moral and dignity and proper equity is given accordingly. We speak of how to cure the deadly disease of insecurity and so on and so forth.

Yes most of the time we always have the battle of "principle and  wisdom" but we do reconcile afterwards when we realized that we couldn't have any other better friends to hang on and only have each other that could really speak  openly about our social sentiments. And then we both agree to hit the videoke bar and gregariously open some bottles of cold beer to calm us down. That was just a background folks. Let's go back to what happens next.

After the last drop of our drink slipped on our lips that night at the beach of Talicud Island, we were totally drunk, sleeping halfway between our tent and the beach, unaware of the tides pulling us back and forth like plastic toys at the soft sandy shore. Crazy drunk bastards!

Sober We Were-Opps!

The morning was a new beginning for us to get an inspiration to shoot for some quality pictures. I locked my eyes on the nearby deserted port and decided to make countless of dives into the bluish green water. It was a fun activity that even others have joined us in running, jumping  and diving here and there until other visitors noticed and everybody were in queue to jump from the end of the ramp.

Jump at your own risk at the  port of Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal

It was an energy exhausting activity and when my eyes started to run dry and got really reddish and painful, we decided to hit the shower and packed our things clean. At 8 in the morning the ferry boat bound for Davao City arrived in Isla Reta, boarding and ending our short getaway in the island.

My Verdict!

Will I be returning to Isla Reta in Talicud Island? In Talicud Island, YES, but in Isla Reta SORRY to tell but that would be the first and the last time I shall step on the fine coral sand of the resort. The place has its natural beauty but  the current major alteration  depreciates its natural value and the prices for its facilities are way beyond unreasonable. I rather go to a deserted beach in Talicud Island which is my next goal in returning to Samal Island.

Tips and Points to Ponder in Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal:
  • Prices of commodities in Isla Reta are skyrocketing, so better bring your own food, water and other personal necessities. There are grill stands if you wish to have some barbecue party. Just bring your own charcoal. For some beverage like softdrinks are charged with  corkage fee.
  • There is no electricity during day time at the resort and lights are generator produced at night. Bring extra battery for your gadgets like phone, MP3 players,  especially camera if you wish not to miss a happy moment with your family and friends during your stay in the island.
  • Since the island is literally at the back of mainland Samal Island, wind is  trapped at night making it a little bit humid in the place with only  patches of wind passing , thus it is better to stay on the sand or bring your own tent and hammock to hang at the Talisay trees.
  • Videoke rental is Php 350.00 per hour, so I suggest bringing your own guitar or any music player to jam with your family and friends.
  • There is a beach volleyball court but the ball is also for rental, you may want to bring your own sports equipment as well.
  • We suggest for you to explore the rocky part on the left side of the island to experience better spot  to swim and just relaxed with less crowded place.

How to Get to Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal?

You can reach isla Reta in Talicud Island via Sta. Ana Wharf. The port is in Brgy. Sta. Ana just along Magsaysay  Road  across Davao’s China Town. Ferries are available in the morning till afternoon; 3:00pm is the last trip bound for Isla Reta. Fare is Php80.00 per head, travel time is 1 hour.


  1. Isla Reta....someone told me it's a nice island but sad to say I wasn't able to reach this when I went to Davao (3x). hmmmmmm...I'll make sure to visit this lovely place next time ;)

  2. maybe next time . but bear in mind the tips i posted above or else you will be victimized with the sky rocketting prices of the goods there ....

  3. Tama ka bai. good advice for your readers about Isla Reta. :-). Nice post denz.

  4. The place is beautiful , it is the price that will discourage visitors to come back ,.,,, sigh ..

  5. I guess that's the drawback of development, it loses its natural charm.

  6. love all the tips you've written above. also i agree with you that it is not fun seeing concrete things in an island since you wont enjoy and you wont feel the nature you wanted in the first place .

  7. Wow, this is pretty. My wish list is already swelling, but i will add Isla Reta. Will be home to Negros O.. in 8/13...there is a bloggers' group there too...ur welcome there.

  8. really .. i wish you could introduce me to the group . would love to meet them .. maybe late this year i will visit negros too :D

  9. literal ba yung "talikud" theme ko ? hahaha :D

  10. thank you lemuel ...:D

  11. ganda ng blog nyo po

  12. thanks Kurt Damada.... please feel free to browse and check our travel stories in Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines.

  13. Sir.. planning to visit isla reta next week.. for sure po ba na dadaan ng kaputian wharf at nagpapasakay po ba sila ng passengers dun na pupunta ng isla reta.. tia.. :)

  14. hi @nardzky .. yes i am 100 % the wharf will pass by Kaputian to pick up more passengers going to isla reta..

  15. Been there twice but still I want to go back to Isla Reta Beach Resort I just love the water <3

  16. Hi Sir ask ko lang mayroon po bang boat from Isla Reta to Samal Ferry Wharf, Island Garden City of Samal?