Where to stay in Samal Island: Pearl Farm Beach Resort


The earliest I can recall of hearing about Pearl Farm dates back in the 1990s. It was during this time when most Filipinos who can afford to travel often chalks up resorts and hotels as main destinations. Dakak in Dapitan, Punta Baluarte in Batangas, Pearl Farm in Davao, Puerto Azul in Cavite, just to name a few. 

Kate Alvarez
Pearl Farm's Parola Wharf has become its icon through the years

First opened to the public in 1992 by the Floirendo family (the family into which former Miss Universe Margie Moran married), Pearl Farm became a regular inclusion in the Mindanao itinerary of affluent travelers. Highlighted by its three-tiered Parola wharf and iconic stilt rooms and suites inspired by Muslim architecture, this Samal Island icon has outlived many of its resort counterparts from decades past.

Say Tioco
The 2-storey Samal Suites

During my first visit to Samal Island in 2009, me and my then girlfriend entertained the thought of staying here. In the end though, we followed our budget constraints and settled for a cheaper, smaller, but no less endearing Chemas by the Sea. However, my hope of someday staying at Pearl Farm Beach resort never wavered.

Marky Ramone Go
Scenic spots everywhere

That moment arrived when I traveled again to Davao City and Samal Island as part of a post-World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) familiarization trip with fellow members of the media, Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines (TPB) and WTTC summit participants.

View from the Samal House

The room assigned to me is the Samal House. Built on stilts facing the waters of Davao Gulf, it was inspired by the houses of Samal tribes and decorated with vibrant color tones. The Samal House is modestly sized and furnished, but it has a relaxing balcony where I enjoyed a bit of downtime reading a book while feeling the cool breezes of the sea — not to mention also being spoilt by a fantastic view of the water.

Marky Ramone Go
Read and chill 

A bigger version of the Samal House called the Samal Suites situates on the other end of the resort. These 2-storey suits were designed by famed Filipino architect Francisco Mañosa as a homage to the rich culture of Mindanao's many indigenous groups; the Yakans, T'bolis, Bagobos, Tausugs, Maguindanaons and more.

Kezia Romblon
Maranao Restaurant

Two-story bungalows called Mandaya Houses can be found a short distance from the Samal Houses. Hidden under the canopy of  palm trees, each unit features a private garden and balcony with views of the immaculate white sand beach and breathtaking sunset of Southern Mindanao.

Sunset Cruise

Following an impressive buffet lunch at Maranao Restaurant, a spacious open pavilion built from bamboo and other local materials, I hanged out at the balcony of my room to read a book. In the afternoon, we were taken on a sunset cruise over the waters of Davao Gulf and towards Malipano Island, still part of Pearl Farm, where a more upscale villas scatters in complete seclusion.

Marky Ramone Go
Before Sunset but where's my Julie Delpy?

Wine and fresh fruit cuts were served as we waited for the sun to set in spectacular fashion.

Cheekie Albay
Cheers to a life of travels, peace and love

Dinner by the Pool

We dined separately from the other Pearl Farm guests, on a table specially set up by the edge of the pool. While plates of delicious food were placed in front of us, the lovely atmosphere just served to heighten our appetites. 

Ayi Del Rosario
Fancy dinner setup

In addition to the delicious meal and lively conversation, the quick drinking session that lasted till midnight cemented the evening as an exceptional one.

Alyana Bromeo
Kain tayo

Beach Bumming

It’s a bit of downer to be leaving the next day but not after I spent the whole morning — after a filling breakfast — bumming around and taking a dip on the crystal-clear beach waters and the picturesque pool near the Parola.

Marky Ramone Go
Cue in the Pixies' song "where is my mind?"

From the fine locally inspired architecture to the great food, wonderful island vibe and the over-all charm of Pearl Farm Resort, I took a moment expressing gratitude to my good karma for bringing me to this place that has long etched in my mind as must-experience resort. I say this despite a backpacker at heart because yes, we all deserve some fancy-schmancy accommodations once in a while, and thanks to my work as a travel writer, this becomes a perk I cherish a lot.

Marky Ramone Go
with fellow travel writers / vloggers, Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines and DOT Region XI