To Paradise Island Park & Beach Resort on Samal Island, that is.
For a long time, the word “beach” immediately conjures up the image of Paradise Island Resort in my mind. See, in my grade school days, this was the Sales clan beach-go-to. We went there for family reunions, my Auntie Esther’s birthday celebration, and even wala-lang moments. I even convinced our sixth grade class adviser to have our overnight field trip there. So when we went to Davao City last September to attend Alexis’ dedication (daughter my kababata Bubbles), it was the beach resort I suggested to Randy we go to. I regaled Randy with stories of picking up starfish and lots and lots of seashells along the its white-sand seashore. I realized I was excited to return to Paradise after 14 years.
The trip to Paradise
We went to Paradise a day before Alexis’ dedication. With Randy, Raviv and me were my Dad and Thea. When we were young, we used to ride a motorboat from Davao City proper en route to Samal Island, direct to Paradise Island. But this time, I didn’t like the idea of the twenty-minute motorboat ride, because with us was our son whom his teacher described as “parang ipu-ipo“. Besides, we were contemplating on whether to spend the night there thus, and as parents with toddlers know, we need to bring so many things (to name a few: feeding bottles, distilled water, disposable diapers, bibs, towels, feeding set…and list goes on) for just one night. Our bags would be too heavy for us to bring! Good thing that Dad suggest we just let a barge carry the SUV we were in. That way, we were just safe inside our vehicle while the barge traversed Samal Island. And, we just left our bags inside my parents’ SUV.
After going off the barge, Dad still drove for about five minutes to finally get to Paradise Island Beach Resort.
Paradise at last!
Since we rode on the barge, we entered Paradise Island from the back of the beach resort. There, we were greeted by a zoo/aviary and a playground, much to Raviv and Thea’s delight!
Since it the sun was scorching hot when we arrived (around 1:30 p.m.), we decided to roam around the zoo and let the kids play first before going to the beach. By the way, the zoo and playground were a surprise for me, because the resort didn’t have that when I was young.
After the kids played, we decided to proceed to the beach-side restaurant and eat before going swimming. We ordered a seafood platter and lechon kawali. Food tasted OK–nothing spectacular, but not bad either. Price was also OK–reasonable if you come from Luzon, but expensive for a Davao City local (hello, buffets for P160 galore abound in the city!!!). I suggest bringing some food. You may buy lechon manok on your way to Paradise (there’s either an Andok’s or Senor Pedro stall near the Paradise Island back entrance), and just buy your rice, beverages, and perhaps even other viands inside so you may sit on the seaside restau.
Things to do
Aside from the obvious activity (swimming–what else?!?), Paradise Island also offers aqua sports. It also has a spa whose massage is really affordable. Also, let me mention that there’s a corner where kids and kids-at-heart could play with sand…I’m mentioning this because Raviv and Thea thoroughly enjoyed this simple pleasure. While we adults were still eating, the tots played with the sand, building whatever their minds can conceive using their tiny hands.
When we finished eating, the kids finished playing, and the sun hid behind the clouds, we finally headed out to the beach. Fourteen years have indeed changed Paradise a lot. There may have been plenty of improvements in terms of structures–the playground, the seaside restau, and the roof over the seashore, but I was saddened because gone were the seashells one could easily pick from the seashore, and gone were the starfish that would just float on the beach. Yes, there were caged animals in the zoo now, but the natural fauna that set Paradise Island Beach apart from other reasonably priced commercial beaches I know is gone.
Nevertheless, a beach is a beach for kids. My Raviv enjoyed wading in the shallow water, and happily licked the salty seawater that trickled to his face. Thea acted as his older sister, giving Raviv small pieces of broken corals she picked up from the sand below the water.
Looking at the photos above, I surmise that Raviv and Thea do not think they are just at some beach…I think they believe they indeed were at paradise. 🙂
Tell me what you think!
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