Simple Beach Life at Isla Reta

Isla Reta, Talicud, Samal Island 3

Because I won free round trip tickets from Airphil Express during the Davao Adventure Trip previously sponsored by them last May, I decided to revisit Davao last September 2011. I didn’t really have much time to explore Davao when I first came there last May because we have a fixed itinerary. I know Davao is really a big place, so the focus of my trip to Davao last September was to have a chance to go to Talicud and beach bum. I am coming back to Davao on May 2012 anyway for the Davao Food Appreciation Tour :).

At Isla Reta - 12

We actually wanted to go to Samal Island first however when I researched, accommodations were a bit steep for our budget. We can opt for just a day trip to certain resorts in Samal however Karla and I really wanted to stay overnight because we do not want to be rushed. That was the time when I was really stressed out at work and don’t really need to be hassled by tight itineraries. So, I Googled and found a cheap resort which was just opposite Samal Island.

Our Cottage at Isla Reta

Concrete room where we stayed overnight

I found Isla Reta, a backpacker type beach wherein guests can camp and bring their own food and no corkage will be charged (except if you will be bringing in drinks such as beer, softdrinks, etc and if you will be borrowing their kitchen utensils). Isla Reta is located in Talicud which is still part of Samal. I’ve only seen a couple of write-ups about Isla Reta and all I knew is that they offer a paradise kind of living at a cheap price. I was not wrong. The moment I saw the beach, it was paradise. The kind of stress-free vacation that I need.

Boats in Talicud, Samal Island

Travelling to Samal Island 

Our flight arrived Davao City early (around 7:00 am) then took a cab from the airport to Damosa (paid PHP 96) where we had breakfast in Mcdonald’s. We rode a jeepney going to Magsaysay (PHP 8.00 fare per person) so that we can reach Sta. Cruz Pier. There is supposed to be a ferry which is owned by Isla Reta however it was only available during Saturdays and Sundays. We arrived at the pier around 8:00 am. There was another boat which was going to Talicud but it was going straight to Talicud Pier. We paid PHP 60 per person for the boat ride going to Talicud. The boat can carry around 80 passengers. The travel from Sta. Cruz Pier to Talicud is about 2 – 3 hours. We arrived Talicud at around 11:30 am. There was a good samaritan, who is an employee of Isla Reta, who offered to walk with us going to the resort. It was only a 10 minute walk from the pier to Isla Reta so we didn’t need to ride the Habal-Habal (motorcycles) anymore. If we stayed at another resort, we didn’t have any choice but to ride the Habal-Habal.

If you want to catch the Isla Reta boat which docks directly at the resort, go there during Saturdays and Sundays. The boat leaves Davao City at 9:00 am then Isla Reta to Davao City is at 3:00 pm. Cost of boat ride is PHP 80, a little more expensive than the non-Isla Reta boat.

At Isla Reta - 13

Picnic Huts

Isla Reta is very simple. If you expect beach resorts with basic hotel accommodations, this is not for you. The concrete room which we stayed only have a queen sized bed, a dresser, ceiling fan and a private shower and toilet. There’s no air conditioner. I believe it is not needed as it’s cooler during the night. There’s also no wifi here. We only relied on Smart 3G internet signal at the beach front. Whenever we are at our room, we could not get a 3G signal. Globe is ok for basic texting and calling in the beach front.

Electricity is only available from 3:00 pm – 6:00 am. Because of this, there isn’t really anything to do but to bum around at the beach. What I like about this resort is that no one will offer you anything while you are at the beach. Whenever we needed anything, we just have to go to the small sari-sari store which also serves as the reception / tv area.
Here’s the price list as of September 2011:

  1. Entrance Fee for the day tour:
    • Adults:  PHP 75 / per head / per day
    • 3 years old and below: free of charge
    • 4 to 10 years old: PHP 35  / per head / per day
  2. Overnight fee without cottage
    • PHP 150 / per head / per night for adults
    • PHP 75 / per head / per night for 4 to 10 years old
  3. Picnic Huts
    • PHP 150 per day
  4. Tables under the Talisay Tree
    • Free of charge
  5. Tables and chairs
    • free of charge
  6. Accommodation
    • Concrete Room – PHP 800 / per room / per night (for 2 persons only, entrance / overnight fee not yet included)
    • Native Room – PHP 700 / per room / per night (for 3 persons, entrance / overnight fee not yet included)
    • Dormitory Type – PHP 6,500 per night (for 22 persons, entrance / overnight fee not yet included)
  7. Beddings Rental
    • complete bed – PHP 80 per set
    • mattress – PHP 40
    • blanket – PHP 20
    • pillow PHP 20
    • mat – PHP 20
  8. Drinks: Corkage is 25% of resort price (beer, softdrinks and alcoholic drinks range from PHP 3.75 to PHP 35.00)
  9. Cooking Charges
    • If you do not have packed food (like we did), you can ask them what’s available to cook, i.e. tinolang manok, adobong manok, etc. There were no pork available and they only have native chicken available so we opted to have the native chicken cooked in 2 ways (for lunch and dinner): tinolang manok and adobong manok. You can also do the marketing outside if you prefer but for the convenience, just let them do it at a cheap price.
    • Overall cost for the food we asked them to cook for us (breakfast, lunch and dinner):
      • PHP 300 for the native chicken (tinolang manok and adobong manok)
      • PHP 50 for 1 can of corned beef (for breakfast)
      • PHP 30 for 2 eggs (for breakfast)
      • PHP 120 for 8 cups of rice (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
      • PHP 70 for 2 cup noodles (lunch before we left Isla Reta)

Sunrise in Isla Reta, Talicud 5

Isla Reta’s sunrise

Karla and I wanted to catch the sunrise to take photos. The sea was very calm and there were a couple of fishermen who just docked their boats and fishnets at the beach front.

Boats at Isla Reta

Isla Reta in the morning

Isla Reta, Talicud, Samal Island 2

There are some rock formations at the end of Isla Reta’s lot. Whenever the water is high tide (just like the photo above with boats docked on the beach), these rock formations can’t be visible. It was about noon time when we took this photo. You just have to be careful as there are rocks with small crabs crawling on it.

All I can say is that this island is a paradise and a great place to find solitude from the bustling city. The good thing is it only costed us a few Pesos to enjoy this paradise :D.

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