When you’re in another country for work (and to visit family), it’s easy to forget to actually have a vacation! Luckily, I had time to see what the small island of Samal off the coast of Mindanao, Philippines had to offer. Pearl Farm is an amazing resort where actual saltwater pearls are cultured. The trip began with a 45 minute boat ride to the resort at 8am with the final boat ride heading back at 4pm. During that time, the ‘daytrippers’ or so they called us, were able to do a number of different things. There were activities like jetskiing, scuba diving, beach soccer, or you can just relax and sit by the beach and do nothing. I’m an advocate of doing nothing – it’s still an activity!
I couldn’t sit around for too long though. Adventure (and curiosity) awaited on the other side of the resort gate. My good friend, Tara, was with me during this part of my trip and we signed a waiver to exit and explore real Samal. We befriended 2 motorcyclists who drove us on unpaved paths around the island. With my minimal knowledge of Cebuano (Philippine dialect), I manage to get us a ride on a Philippine boat called a bangka and here is where we saw a different island perspective.
The experience was extraordinary. It’s amazing how simple life seemed to be. Most of the island residents lived on stilt houses with little to no electricity. There is a huge discrepancy between resort living and actual island living. Most of these people may not leave the island, like ‘the daytrippers’ do at 4pm every day. They may not have a lot of amenities – life might seem different, but after speaking to the residents, life is still good. And their life has a beautiful view.