A Peaceful Getaway at the Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan, Samal


"Bakit mag-isa ka lang?" (Why are you alone?)

I wasn't actually prepared to answer that question. All I know was that I went there for a number of reasons - one was to disconnect from the technology-dominated world, another was to silence myself while exploring a new place and last but not the least, was to spend more quality time with God before welcoming another year. And I guess I couldn't do all of the things mentioned above had I not traveled solo. 

After having an unforgettable personal retreat at the Monastery of Transfiguration in Bukidnon last May 2015, I promised myself another solo travel before the year ends. I initially wanted it to be in that same place, this time having a spiritual director to guide me, but then circumstances were not going according to my favor until it led me to discover the Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan (IGRP), Island Garden City of Samal.   

Located in the southeast end of Brgy. Pangubatan, Samal, this resort has actually been in operation for years yet I haven't heard and seen much about it except through a friend's blog and another friend's recent escapade. Guess the odds were in my favor this time as I managed to reach the resort's management with the big help of Gem, a blogger from SOX, who also happened to be in the resort as I was scouting for a conducive venue for my personal year-end retreat. Though a retreat at the beach was far from being the first choice, my impulsive need for a quiet respite plus my love for the beach surfaced above anything else and having this place as the last remaining option, I have no other choice but to go.

I'm thankful that the sun decided to show up after a whole day of rain prior to my scheduled day of prayer, or else, the difficulty going to the resort could have been doubled. I was willing to risk my stakes to get on a spontaneous adventure just to have the peace and quiet I had long desire. In fact, even while I was on my way to Sta. Ana Wharf, I was still weighing down options whether to take the bus to Peñaplata or hop on a boat that will directly take me to Kaputian. Since there was no bus upon my arrival at the wharf entrance at around 9 am, I decided to push my luck and boarded the first boat trip to Kaputian, which was scheduled to depart at 12nn, but left at around 11 am since the boat was already fully-loaded. The 2 hours I killed sitting and waiting on the boat had me contemplating whether I had made the best decision, but then I remembered that surrendering everything to God in leading me the way is still the best when it comes to spontaneous matters like this.

I disembarked at Kaputian Port after almost an hour of sea travel from Sta. Ana Wharf. Some friendly locals asking me about my destination assisted to find me a motorcycle ride that would bring me to the resort. Although an option to avail the resort's SUV ride was available, the rate of P500 per way was too expensive for a solo budget traveler like me, far from the Php 100 I paid for one way of a deadly butt-numbing adventure of a motorcycle ride. Traversing 10.6 kilometers of  hilly rough road of Kaputian sort of reminded me of the realities of life in an instant- the journey itself made me utter a number of heartfelt prayers while at the same time, shifting my perspective on the beautiful scenic view even if the road we're coursing through is morbid and dismal. Just like life, huh.

But then, just like in real life, you have to keep your eyes on the prize. And upon seeing the beach and feeling the tranquility of the place that warmly welcomed me, I believe that the prize was worth more than the impediments I experienced along the journey. Having been informed that the only accommodation left was the tree house, I was surprised that I was the only guest in the resort when I arrived, thus I got to enjoy that much-needed solitude. Though it was not  really made to be a retreat venue, this peaceful getaway was already enough for me to achieve what I have been longing for.

This is exactly where I needed to be - a place which is not (that) far away from Davao yet away from too many people with a relaxing view of the beach and a struggling network connection that will make you ditch the technology away. Aside from that, my humble abode for an overnight stay was a tree house with its own hammock beneath it, and perched on a tree just a few steps away from the beach. So just imagine how satisfying and fulfilling it was to have all the laid-back elements of an island life with nothing but me and my personal time with God. 

The resort has two tree houses which is big enough to accommodate two people- the upper tree house was nestled on a sampaloc tree while the lower tree house (the one I had) was perched on top of a calachuchi tree. Each tree house is provided with a fan, an electric mosquito killer and complimentary bottled water. A canopy bridge connects these two tree houses which can also serve as a very good area to view the entire resort. Both tree houses have a common restroom nearby.


Exploring more of the resort brought me back to a familiar scenery I saw in a dream about two weeks ago prior to coming to this resort. I saw a mountain with a nipa hut in the center and the view of the beach on a bright and sunny day. Inside the nipa hut was an old lady offering me something, but my attention was more focused on what looks like miniature nipa houses, like the houses in the photo above. I initially thought that my dream was something more figurative but based on what I had similarly seen in my dream and in the resort, a realization sparked into my mind that I was really meant to spend my retreat here in Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan.

Even if the resort was well-lit at night, I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the stars, something which I cannot really get to enjoy so much when I am in Davao. I was blessed to have a sky full of stars coupled up with the relaxing melody of the waves while lounging on the shore. It was indeed calming and soothing that at 9 pm, I already called it a night. 

For events, the resort can be made exclusive for Php 35,000 which can accommodate a maximum of 60 guests. Aside from the basic amenities, the resort also offers massage services, inland and island hopping tours and some water sports. It also has a chapel for prayer and meditation, but for me, the best place to reflect, worship and meditate is none other than at the beachfront while waiting for the sun to rise. 

The resort charges a corkage fee for food brought into the resort. Their in-house restaurant provides a wide selection of delicious dishes and meals. The price of each dish usually ranges from Php 120.00 to Php 200.00 which is actually reasonable enough for a generous serving that can accommodate 2-3 people depending on your appetite. You may also opt to have your meals served at the beachfront, which I did, because there's no other best way to enjoy a bacon breakfast than enjoying it by the beach. 

Just when I thought that I already had a good view of the resort, it even got better and more beautiful in the morning as the water was more pristine and closer to the shore. The sand may be white and a bit rocky because of the presence of crushed corals but the enticing blue sea is something you cannot resist from in the morning. 


Although the resort area is limited, one can just walk along the shoreline to explore the nearby attractions. I explored from end to end but I wasn't able to walk further to get to the lagoon just because I was alone. According to the staff, you can also get the chance to encounter turtles at the lagoon. I might have missed these things on my first visit but at least there are things that I am looking forward to do on my next visit to Pangubatan. 

If you're planning to spend a peaceful getaway here, better book for a 3D/2N stay but if your schedule won't allow such, an overnight stay will suffice but be sure to depart from Davao early in the morning to get the most out of this place.

Family Room 2 (Airconditioned) - Php 2000.00
Family Room 3 (Airconditioned) - Php 2500.00
Family Room 4 (Airconditioned) - Php 3000.00
Cottages - Php 1300.00
Tree Houses - Php 1200.00
Dormitories - Php 350.00 / head
Gazebo Room - Php 850.00
Gazebo - Php 2100.00

If you're traveling in a big group, it's more practical to hire the resort van instead of taking the motorcycle ride. But if you're going solo, then prepare yourself for an exhilarating adventure.

TRANSPORTATION SERVICES (maximum of 8 people)
  • IGRP to Kaputian - Php 500.00
  • IGRP to Peñaplata - Php 800.00
  • IGRP to Babak - Php 1000.00
  • IGRP to Airport - Php 1800.00
  • IGRP to any central point in Davao City - Php 2000.00

It was truly a blessing for me to experience a peaceful getaway here in Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan. I was able to achieve what I wanted to do while at the same time, I got to experience a relaxing beach escapade. As you see, it was far from my original plan, but God was indeed amazing that He has given me the best way of finding and experiencing Him through this unforgettable adventure. 

Purok 1, Barangay Pangubatan, Kaputian District
Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte
Contact No: (082) 284-0168 / (082) 298-5582
                    0906-563-0057 / 0922-725-6163
Email: igrpangubatan@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/islandgardenresortinpangubatan

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  1. I hope I can also spend a day at this paradise! :) Soon.

    1. tara gang! hahaha! gusto na nako mubalik usab!

  2. Hey! I heard about this place when I went to Samalan Camp and Sea last February. Looks like this is my place to be tomorrow since its a holiday. Thank you for this informative post. :)

  3. Been there just this 23rd of Dec.The staff were very accommodating.Very peaceful place and the food is delicious(the bulalo is to die for..)We rode the habal-habal going to the resort since it was already late in the afternoon.We met kuya Paul(the habal rider) and he also became our guide in our stay there for 2days.He is very punctual and very careful in his driving.He toured us to some of the falls in Samal,for a cheap price.it was P300,/trip.that is already for 2pax.What I like is that we did not have a hard time communicating in tagalog since Paul was originally from Pasay.He only charge us P70/head for our trip back to Kaputian.All in all,we had a very relaxing stay,thanks to the people of Samal.Paul's # 09068903556.


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