Philippines, Davao & Samal Island


Double click thumbnails to maximize.


Download a video of Carina's Crossing of the Philippine Sea OR of our Sunday Excursions on Samal Island


Click here for the recipe for the Hungarian Christmas Beigli just like Grandma Csiki used to make.


We Returned from

Indonesia to Oceanview Marina on the north tip of Samal Island in the Davao Gulf of the Philippines in November 2014. We would stay 10 months.


enjoyed being stopped and began to recover - or so we thought - from his illness.

Philip Began

taking advantage of being attached to land to exercise.

On the Main

perimeter road of Samal Island we found everything from container trucks to water buffalo carts. This is a rare white carabao.

Bulca Chong?

We were told this restaurant has been around "forever" serving, well, you can see...rice, bulca chong and kinilaw. But they don't have kinilaw. Bulca chong is carabao - a water buffalo - that's cooked all night to spicy, sinful perfection.

Christopher Yu

of UnliBolts took us to Bulca Chong, insisting we could not visit Davao without experiencing this local fare.


appreciated his insistence as the food was simple, cheap and scrumptious.

Does This Man

look like he's having fun?

Why is He Smiling...

after sweating in this cramped sauna-like space?...ONLY because I asked him to.

Shopping For...

Christmas supplies took us many times back to Babak and its "super" market of super fresh produce...eggs, fish, meat, veggies...served up by smiling beauties. No wonder Philip likes to go food shopping alone.

The Not-So-Fat

cat refused to pose for me, so I had to wait until he fell into a deep sleep before draping the elf cap over him. At some point he had to sleep off his nocturnal wanderings.

The Oceanview

guys appreciated our little bit of Christmas cheer in the form of warm beigli

Even the Painting

team took a break for a quick snack.

Monica & Leah

of Slamat were the elve's first cruiser visit.

Here Leslie

is "minding the gap" between Mind the Gap and the dock as she shares beigli with Lorna and James.

Giorgio, Sheri & Jonathan

were deep in a serious boat project conversation when we interrupted them for a snack. Giorgio & Sheri are from the yacht Argonauta.


of Helena, lonely for Glenda, was lured from his air conditioned boat for a treat. But only briefly as the sun was getting HOT.

We Found

Mike and Gaye of Expeditus doing laundry in a bucket. They themselves distributed to all tiny gold bags of frankincence and myrrh!


who hails from Salt Spring Island in BC is on contract to build a mega catamaran at Oceanview.

Nikita & Svetlana

are crew aboard Challenger. They are from the Ukraine and sail with Jerry from North Carolina in the USA.

Seven Zero

While we were in Davao we celebrated Philip's 70th birthday on New Year's eve 2014.

The Invitation

for our informal affair was...informal.

We had

apple crisp, vanilla ice cream and rock & roll!

January 10, 2015

was very chilly and windy. Carina was snug at Oceanview behind a protective seawall and dressed up for Lorenzo & Kathy's wedding

Wedding Guests

braved the wind at the top of the hill waiting for the ceremony. Here Mike & Gaye of Expeditus pose with Jayrha Baron.


or Lorenzo as he is called, waits anxiously for Kathy to arrive...


finally emerged, looking very much like an angel, and walked the "aisle" to the platform.

After Vows

and family photos, they led us down the stairs to the waterfront clubhouse and a great party that lasted well into the next day.


Rose and Mae Hizle...beauties all...looking radiant.

Then Came Sunday...

and we took a tour with Eddy Huybs using Philip's new (used) Honda motorbike.


are everywhere. Thankfully. Their work is modestly priced and highly effective.

With Wheels

comes maintenance. We had a flat tire the first week but were within a hundred yards (or so) of a "vulcanizer" who, for 30 pesos (about 75 cents) fixed the hole in our tube with alchemy straight out of some long ago century.

The Competent

team knocked on our hull at precisely the moment the tide was right and Carina was floated gently into her custom-fabricated cradle

Bye bye

to our seawater cushion. Hello haul-out.

She was Parked Briefly

on the ramp so the boys could scrub away her garden of sea-creatures

And Then Our Oceanview

became concrete-view

Another Sunday

another outting.

This Time with

Eddy and the Baron family to Hagimit Falls & Kaputian on Samal Island. L-R: Ijrem (?), Jessica, Jayrha, and Glien

Hagmit Falls

is in a ravine where mineral water runs over numerous small smooth limestone cliffs, creating a lovely and serene setting

Being a Sunday

the place was packed with families who came to enjoy the setting, the water and great food


near the water were (mostly) packed with people simply enjoying the site and each other

Even the Very Young

participated. This little beauty was content and unafraid in the melee of splashing water and giggling kids.


despite the mass of people there, the place was quiet and peaceful


the kids brought memories of being that age and loving to swim in cool rivers in the summer heat

At Kaputian

we found a fiesta celebrating the visit of the Pope to the Philippines.

This Handsome

young lad carries an effigy.

At Last

we found a place for lunch at the Farmer's V BBQ restaurant in Pena Plata.

Home Sweet Boatyard

boatyard. Notice we climb aboard on a bamboo ladder.


parks the family car in the "garage"


is not far from Oceanview but it took us a long time to reach its spectacular location on a series of seriously pot-holed dirt roads

Most of Balet's

homes would be considered a shack back home but we did find a rental bungalow with spectacular bamboo constuction detail

At Balet

Eddy's butt was getting sore and his throat parched, so we stopped at a small shop for a cool drink and to try to get directions. The only map of Samal Island has roads that are merely "proposed". That is NOT helpful.


must be pretty boring if our stop was so interesting to this little beauty


- if I am remembering his name right - owned the shop but was from far in the north of the country where he also ran (runs?) a company that does outdoor "expeditions".


is the end of the paved highway on Samal Island and is a ferry terminus fed by boats from Davao City

Tucked Away

in Kaputian we found this enigmatic gallery, which wasn't actually open, so we had to content ourselves to gazing inside through the open door at exotic relics.

A Tiny Corner of

Samal Island has exclusive accommodations such as these overwater bungalows that may belong to an elusive (to us) Pearl Farm Resort

Babak's Public Market

was active and open everyday, all day. Sundays were especially busy, late in the day and into the evenings.


bustles on Sundays and the market overflows its boundaries onto the street

Locally Caught

skippies are easy to procure, though we prefered fish kept on ice.

Market Sundays

are a bit of a zoo but great fun, too.

The Families

worked together to sell their produce and other small items.

The Children

begging for money broke our hearts and emptied our change purse.

Another Sunday...

yet another excursion, hoping to get lost.

Samal Island

is called the Garden Island City...and it is an island-sized garden. These mangos just down the road from a mango research farm.

Pena Plata

is in the elbow of the west coast of Samal Island. An aggie town with a huge public market.

In the Public Market

cats have a role and it's not just to be ornamental.

We Met...

a lot of interesting people this day as we were probably the only tourists about. These kids were working/hanging around a used clothing shop where we scored a couple of quality duds.


are still widely used to collect and transport fruits and veggies. They are strong, cheap, biodegradable and pleasant to the eye.


for cooking fires. Yes, many, if not most of Samal Island's residents cook with wood. This pile is about the size of a cord.

Small Eateries

dot the landscape throughout Samal Island. We ate at a similar place; our meals plus a liter of Sprite cost about $1.90 USD.

Business Licenses

in the Philippines, at least on Samal Island, are displayed as license plates as if they were for a vehicle. Interesting and attractive.

This Sign...

intrigued us, so we asked. Dole (you know, the multinational fruit company) owns the public market at Pena Plata. A meeting is being held to organize vendors. Note the last line item. We didn't understand and asked again...a laraylaray (get it, laray x2?) is a tiny booth in the local language.

Samal Island's

highways are a wee bit rough

And Sometimes

- when you take a wrong turn - they degenerate to mere paths.

And Its Fueling

stations a wee bit rustic.

Despite the...

challenging road, motorbikes burdened with people and cargo zoom along.


was sitting in front of his small cottage drinking tuba and lamenting the fact he had no wife.

These Little Cuties

had directed us down the road to the immaculate village by the sea. Notice the road is lined with flowers made from painted coconut shells.


hanging on the barbed wire fence along the center highway

Back in Babak..

we visited the local market there for our supper. These guys are sitting in the "no vendors" zone but don't seem the least bit worried.

Philip's Favorite...

fish vendor happened to be around and offering a nice catch of yellowfin; they confer here on the proper cut.

Monitor Lizard???

Yes, we were assured they are on Samal Island. Great to know before we go rustling around in the bush.

Water Buffalos!

Are the national animal of the Philippines. These gentle giants seem to serenely amble through their burdens. These children had been riding on a sled towed behind before the line to the yoke broke.

The Boy Handlers

seemed in tune with the slow gentle cadence of the curabao.

We Found

a practical art in Cogon where a family was weaving panels for home construction from bamboo.

The Father

who was also a minister in the local Southern Baptist church, wore socks on his hands for protection against the sharp but strong bamboo fibers.

Also in Cogon

we found a foundry where men were making beautiful functional knives from truck springs, the old-fashioned way with fire and muscle. They agreed to pose for us with the custom made knives they made for us.

Mature Mango

groves are everywhere on Samal Island. They are cool and very peaceful.

Samal Island Even Has

a dairy farm with a small herd. It is a model institution, selling locally produced pasteurized milk grown without any growth enhancers.

Sandy & Dexter

work at the farm. Sandy (or Lover as she is nicknamed) runs the laboratory, while Dexter - a graduate of college with an animal science degree - helps works on various projects including

Methane Production!

All the manure produced on the farm is used for bioproduction of clean methane, used in the farm's kitchen. The methane production is something they are trying to teach local farmers to reduce the use of wood for cooking, a practice that is not sustainable.

The Methane

they make produces a beautiful clean flame over which the farm workers prepare their meals.

Each Sunday Concludes

with lunch at a local restaurant. Here we share Tortang Tulong (eggplant omelet) and Kinilaw, almost exactly the same as Poisson Cru served in French Polynesia.

One Sunday

after lunch we took a tour in the 'burbs of Babak and found the modest hospital. In a bucolic setting amongst farm animals.

Every Sunday

we wander, we go to a public market. These brooms are in the market at Babak. Beautiful.

Puting Bato

is 1755 feet above the sea. Samal Island's highest point. About half of that elevation we hiked - as opposed to traveling by motorbike - at high noon in mid summer. It was a lovely take a nap.

Puting Bato's Peak

has a park, the gate of which was closed for Mother's Day. But the lock was not actually locked, so we let ourselves in and enjoyed the lovely scene. Alone.

The View

over the Davao Gulf and Mindanao is peaceful.

Boy Oh Boy

do they learn to ride motorbikes at a young age. This tike was spotted at the Penaplata public market.


Justwhenyouthink you've seen discover something crazy and odd and perhaps a wee bit wonderful. Human ingenuity will never cease to amaze me - fish slices decorated with flowers! These are eaten at New Years and depict pine (longevity), bamboo (strength) & cherry blossom (wisdom).

Samal Island's

small farms can be very picturesque. I loved the different hues of green in this scene.

La Concha

Samal is a vacation island and is dotted with small resorts. This large home, called La Concha, is rented exclusively and has two overwater gazebos, sleeping space for about a dozen, an outdoor kitchen and lots of solitude. At the end of the road in Camudmud.

The Not So Fat Cat

loves marina life. He wanders all night, arriving back at Carina sometimes 6-8 times per night to EAT. Where he's putting it, we don't know.


belongs to the boatyard manager. She's so smart you have to watch what you say around her!

Admirals All

Gaye, Love, Hwang, Leslie & Lorna were just a few of those gathered to help Lee aboard Chakira celebrate his 72nd birthday.

One Sunday

we ventured out with David and Suzi of Sidewinder and found Hagnaya in Adecor on the west coast of Samal. We spent an hour or so here, sharing watermelon, playing basketball and looking out at Davao City. This interesting delivery bike drove through and we just had to get a photo.

Home Cooked Hospitality

On Samal Island, we favored Satrea's where Estellita and her extended family cook up hearty and savory meals on a wood fire and serve with a side order of warm conversation.

Special Island, Special Day

Sundays on Samal are days to worship, visit and play. Farmers come to town to sell produce from their small gardens, the eateries are full and everyone seems in good cheer.

Ahh, Oceanview

looks grand to Philip after a brief medical vacation in Manila.

Every Dawn

was like a gift.

Princessita Spotted in Babak

When I grow up I will be a princess. To prepare, I am practicing my look of ennui. Next I'll learn to take selfies.


is a master tailor and a heck of a nice man who lives on Samal Island. He made Philip two handsome batik shirts.


was a big ocean racer that didn't quite fit...and went high and dry at low tide.