Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Samal, a momentary escape to serenity and sanity

Samal - Hagimit Leafy Cascade
One of the dramatic rockscapes in Hagimit Falls on Samal Island
Samal - Kaputian Palm & Kids Silhouettes
Kaputian Silhouettes
It’s the aftermath of an event in Davao City for a client and I was only too eager to get a short break even for just a day before plunging back to work. I was reading Paul Theroux’s “Ghost Train to the Eastern Star” and call it serendipity but I share Paul’s predilection for the outskirts and hinterlands in lieu of the cities. With all due respect to Davao City, I just don’t want to escape into yet another city (I already live in one). With no research or advanced prep, I threw caution to the wind and hopped on the bus to Samal Island.

The Island City bus signboard said “Kaputian” and I just decided to go there, whither, whether, whatever may be there. It turns out to be the farthest point of the Island City Express buses that go from Davao City and ride the ferry crossing to Samal.  I ended up at Kaputian Beach Resort. For P800, I got an a/c room with very spartan facilities. Plastic-covered floors, plastic-wrapped table, unfinished walls in the comfort room but who cares?  I was prepared to go from the three star accommodations we had a few days back to no star digs by my lonesome.  The Sharp aircon though looks new like it was a redeeming quality. A few steps from my cottage is a white sand beach. Though littered here and there with evidence of beachgoers’ indifference, the sand is remarkably whiter, even powdery near the waterline.

Samal - Hagimit Dramatic Cascade
One of Hagimit's many dramatic cascades
Heading for a falls.  Arriving a bit early in the afternoon, I found a few hours to spare before sunset so off to Hagimit Falls I went. The falls is popular with the locals, so I saw on that Sunday afternoon where locals of all ages (and shapes and sizes) literally chill out what remains of the weekend.

I may have missed splashing in the many cascades of Hagimit but I was feeling better and relieved from my sneezing bout earlier in the day (must be all that beneficial ions).  From the outset, I was convinced that slowing down is the way to go in lieu of cramming the day with activities.  Ahhh, the emails and workplans I have to do will have to wait until the morrow.
Samal - Kaputian Morning Fence
Kaputian Fence at dusk
No dramatic sunset, no problem. At this time of the year, the rains and rain clouds almost always guarantee no dramatic sunsets. It rains on most afternoons in Davao and while the precipitation on my Samal escape day was held to a light drizzle on the way to the falls, the sunset was obscured by foreboding clouds that promise more rain. No problem though as my purpose was to just slow down, relax, do a bit of reading, a bit of writing, and quite a lot of introspection. Save for the occasional whirring of the outboard motors of fishing boats next door and the vigorous lapping of the waves, the quiet was a fine backdrop for hearing myself think, and not much later, lulling myself to deep sleep.

Info:  Samal Island, also known as IGaCoS or Island Garden City of Samal is located in the Davao Gulf • Island City Express buses ply the Davao City - Kaputian routes; Fare: P60; Pick-up point: Sta. Ana in Davao City for the Sasa Port; Travel time: approximately 1 1/2 hours • There are small boats that ply the Davao City Sasa Wharf - Kaputian route several times a day; Fare: P50; Travel time: approximately 1 hour
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