While we found Isla Reta at Talicud Island a delightful destination, we were anxious to visit the opposite side of the island where two secluded beaches are located. Dayang Beach Resort and Babu Santa Beach at Talicud’s western side, facing Davao City and the Mindanao mainland, are accessible via a 20-minute habal-habal or passenger motorcycle bike ride. We simply walked outside Isla Reta Beach Resort and arranged with a habal-habal driver to take us there.
To save on expenses we both hopped on one habal-habal instead of getting separate bikes. We had no idea about the kind of road we were getting into and after the first few hundred meters of paved road we soon found ourselves being driven over an unpaved road that at times consisted of jagged limestone rocks. We even had to get off the bike at one point on the return trip because the incline was a bit too steep and the road too uneven for the bike to make it with a passenger, much more two. Once we stepped inside Dayang Beach Resort, however, we instantly knew the rough ride was worth it.
The beach in front of the resort has fine white sand near the water’s edge but is composed of crushed corals for the greater part. The turquoise waters are clear and quite inviting but with moderately strong waves this day we decided not to take a chance.
There’s a virtual forest of coconut palms all over the resort, making for an excellent shade. Dayang Beach faces west; we could only imagine how great the sunset views would have been had we stayed for the night here. Attractive native-style cottages amidst well-kept gardens grace the resort grounds which are kept meticulously clean. It would have made for a peaceful and relaxing overnight stay, except that there is no running water at the resort.
Adjacent to Dayang Beach Resort is Babu Santa Beach, the ruins of an old pier jutting out to sea marking the boundary between the two. This beach has a wider expanse of fine, white sand compared to its neighbor and also features a dense foliage of coconut palms. Unlike Dayang Beach Resort, it does not have any cottages for overnight stays but has open huts for day rent. It also does not charge an entrance fee unlike its neighbor. The sand here is kept clean and free from debris brought in by the habagat (southwest monsoon) waves.
A boat carrying more than ten visitors arrived at Babu Santa a few minutes after our arrival. This beach is a popular stopover for boats on island-hopping tours in the Samal-Talicud Island area, with visitors taking their lunch at Babu Santa’s open huts. Our fears about the water were confirmed by this boat; the passengers had a difficult time disembarking due to the strong current.
Not being able to swim or snorkel here was no big deal for us. Both Dayang Beach Resort and Babu Santa Beach are places where you can just marvel at the view and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. In retrospect it might have been better had we spent the night here instead of at Isla Reta and enjoyed the beautiful sunset.
Just south of Babu Santa Beach, however, is a place that shouldn’t be missed by snorkelers and divers: the Coral Garden of Linosutan, a protected marine sanctuary with very clear waters and plenty of corals at shallow depths. We tried to get our habal-habal driver to take us there but he said they are not allowed to get to the beach at the Coral Garden from land. We would have to go on a boat and do our snorkeling from there. Well, there’s always a next time…