Pearl Farm Resort: Tribal-themed Davao island resort

SAMAL Island in the southern Philippines is a somewhat exotic locale, with a proliferation of rare marine life in select dive spots around its coast. The shoreline around Samal features coconut palms, mangroves, and rock formations, except for the parts with white sand beaches.

Plenty of resorts have sprung up around Samal Island to take advantage of all this natural goodness, but Pearl Farm Resort tops them all in luxury, amenities, and price. The resort used to be an actual, working pearl farm, until the whole 14 hectare property was converted to its present purpose.

What makes it special?
The Pearl Farm Resort is located on a quiet stretch of Samal Island, some distance from Davao City across the strait. The relative seclusion helps create the impression of a remote island getaway, despite being only forty minutes away from the city by ferry.

Most of the resort’s coastline is taken up by cabins on stilts above the water. These Samal houses (named after a seagoing local tribe whose residences inspired these cottages’ design) feature balconies overlooking the sea and luxurious interiors decked out in tribal décor.

Malipano Island, an island set a few hundred meters off Samal, has an additional seven Malipano villas, the most luxurious accommodations in the resort located next to their own white-sand beach.

Apart from the Samal cottages and the Malipano villas, the Pearl Farm Resort also offers Hilltop Rooms located in two complexes set on a hill; and Mandaya Houses surrounding the resort’s Mandaya swimming pool.

On the Samal part of the property, Pearl Farm Resort’s main beachfront is taken up by the Parola Bar, the resort’s most distinctive architectural feature – a two-storey bar and wharf area that serves as the first stop for arriving visitors. From the Parola Bar, visitors can either move on to the white-sand beach or to the infinity-edge swimming pool.

What’s there to do?
The Pearl Farm’s amenities are designed for adventurous couples and families. The Aqua Sports Center onsite rents out speedboats, jetskis, kayaks and outrigger boats for guests keen on exploring the sea and what’s under it: activities covered include banana boat rides, snorkeling, windsurfing, and diving.

More sedentary guests might appreciate the diversions in the Game Room at the Balay 1; a chess table, mahjong table, billiard table, and assorted board games are available for use. For spa enthusiasts, the Ylang Ylang Spa serves up a series of beauty and health treatments, available either as individual treatments or in spa packages.

What’s the damage?
Rates depend on the season – a hilltop room may set you back $119 to $145. If you want to save on your stay, early-bird promotions may be available on their website.

Check rates & availability at Pearl Farm Resort on