“There’s the bus to Kaputian!” someone shouted. I rushed to the bus and snagged a front seat:) I had no idea where I was heading to and where I would need to get off. All I knew was I was in search of a beautiful beach away from the tourist trail. About an hour later, the bus finally reached the end of its route. I got off together with the others. I followed a couple of people and when I turned the corner, I found myself on a beautiful beach with crystal clear waters. I had reached my destination.
I had originally intended to go to Talikud Island. Interestingly, the girl at the front desk of the hotel I was staying in, on learning that I was heading to Talikud, told me to be careful as the place is supposedly like Siquijor—teeming with black magic. That actually excited me more. But I had planned on a day trip which meant choosing a place that would have a lot of options for a return trip to Davao. That meant heading to Kaputian. Besides, a Dabawenyo I met said that Kaputian was nicer.
I arrived at the Sta. Ana wharf few minutes past 7 in search of a motorized launch that would bring me to Kaputian. The wharf was quite devoid of people except for a small crowd waiting at the entrance gate. I went to the M/V Isla Reta which was waiting for passengers and I was told it was bound for Talikud and that the Kaputian boat was not due until 12 noon. Further afield were some launches that seemed to be waiting to fill but the guys there said they were private hires. No wonder the group in the boat all seemed so happy and there was even a whole lechon on the table. I was advised to just take the bus instead. So I was back at the entrance gate and I understood why there was a crowd there. About 10 minutes later an Island Express bus arrived and someone shouted that it was the bus to Kaputian. I climbed aboard.
The bus was comfortable enough even though it didn’t have any air-conditioning. It proceeded to Sasa which was some kilometers away where it boarded a barge for the 10-minute crossing to Samal Island. I had no idea where Kaputian was, not even what to look out for. All I knew was I was headed for the beach. The bus wound its way around the island on a good sealed road with the bus stopping every now and then to let-off or load a passenger. From my window seat, I would catch glimpses of the sea and signboards announcing resorts. Except for about a few young couples who based on how they looked—shades, knapsacks, shorts, and slippers— seemed headed to the beach too, everyone seemed to be residents of the island. I decided that if those beach-looking couples got off, I would to. For what seemed forever, the bus finally stopped on what seemed like the middle of nowhere. There was a grassy field and some huts on the side of the road. I would learn later on the trip back, that it was the town plaza. Guys in motorbikes (locally called “habal-habal”) swarmed the bus shouting out destinations. I looked behind me and everyone was getting off. So I did. I followed the beach-bound looking couples cross the grassy space to a side road. Less than a hundred meters was the Kaputian Beach Resort. I had made it! I had found my beach 🙂
The resort was very basic and is typical of the low-budget resorts you find in the provinces. There were a a few cottages, open huts, and even tents. A few stores sold food, drinks, and souvenirs. I paid Php 15 entrance, Php 50 for a plastic table, and Php 5 for a plastic chair. There wasn’t much of a crowd and the small groups that were there weren’t rowdy which made it a peaceful enough place. Surprisingly there wasn’t any videoke or maybe because it was only about 10 in the morning. With my plastic chair and table on the shade between some trees near the beach, I was ready for some quiet time. Looking at the water lapping up the shore while Talikud beckoned on the other side was simply relaxing. The sand wasn’t very white and there were stones and pebbles which weren’t easy for the feet but the water was very clean and clear and cool. Maybe because everyone and everything just seemed so ordinary with none of the pretentious beach god/goddess attitude; I felt so utterly relaxed and comfortable. This was a beach where people didn’t seem to mind your body fat percentage.
I remember someone telling me that we have a natural affinity to water because it brings back our primordial feeling of safety when we were in our mom’s womb. Floating on my back with just my face on the water’s surface, I felt really good.
Lunch was my packed breakfast of a tail of fried bangus and rice wrapped in banana leaves from the hotel, a bag of Nova, and halo-halo. Past noontime, people started arriving and the lack of accommodations meant tents rented from the resort were being pitched. Among the arrivals were three young Caucasian women who rented a tent, a table, and some chairs. It was good to see foreigners getting to this part of Samal. With more people coming-in, I figured my quiet moment was about to end. My trekking shorts which I had worn in the water had dried by now so I packed my stuff and checked-out.
Back on the main road, thinking that the bus was taking a circular route around the island, I waited at the same side of the road where we got-off earlier. On the opposite side was a waiting bus. When it left, I crossed the road to wait at one of the huts. It was then I decided to ask in which direction the bus to Davao was headed to. Turns out, I just missed the bus. They actually saw me waiting and were indeed wondering what I was doing there. Apparently, were were really at the end of the bus route. The bus simply backs-up and backtracks the route. At about 2:15, another bus arrived and finally I got on board on the trip back to Davao.
I was back in the city past 3:30 and from the wharf went to Chinatown for a quick stroll. Being a Saturday, there was a vibrant street scene with vendors peddling everything, street stalls of fried squid, orange-colored eggs, pancakes, fruits, and crowded shops seling just about anything and everything was being sold. Before heading back to the hotel, I bought some durian, pomelo, mangosteen and some durian sweets at the stalls near Magsaysay Park.
I really liked Kaputian for its rusticness and non-tourist vibe. I’m sure on a weekday you could have the place all to yourself. For people whose idea of solitude is communing with sun, sea, and sky, the place is perfect. If you tire-out of the scene, you can always hire a “habal-habal” to visit the different resorts and go to Hagimit Falls.
The locals I chatted with marveled about me being alone in the trip. Even the nice lady who was at the check-in stall at the resort was surprised that I was alone and knew no one in the area. Same thing with the bus dispatcher. I guess Filipinos, especially those in the rural area where sense of community is stronger, being alone, especially on vacation is totally unheard of and unthinkable. After all, being on vacation means sharing the fun and experience with others, notably with friends and family. I must have seemed really strange to them.
Kaputian was breath of fresh air away from the city fumes of Davao. It’s a place that’s near enough to the city but far enough to be paradise.