Important note: This service has already been discontinued. I left it for those interested in similar tours which you can avail through Davao and Samal Tourism Offices for more information. Thanks.
An Ultimate Island Hopping Experience (Islands Banca Cruise Davao)
Text and photos by Jojie Alcantara (published in SunStar Davao)
It used to be taxing to hire regular and old pumpboats that ply Davao to Samal waters in order to avail of a boat trip for a family or group which you can bring around for an island tour.
In the early 90s, before the demise of a good friend Atty. Tim Te, I was part of his group and family who initiated customized tours in their resort Isla Cristina at the back of Talikud Island at a time when it was still unheard of and quite costly. Because he had this huge double decked boat built called M/B Pacifica, we had the luxury of cruising around Talikud and exploring other private shorelines to our content. We cruised almost daily because it was a heavenly place to camp out where dolphins used to cavort around clear and enticing waters.
I was able to enjoy that kind of cruising around again in 1998 when I was involved with a marine environmental NGO whose boat we used to bring the National Geographic and BBC Crew around Davao Gulf and Palawan to document dive sites and community projects.
Fast forward to today. Cebu’s premier island-hopping service, Islands Banca Cruises, which launched in in 2008 and became one of the top tourist activities, finally arrives in Davao to give us the same top notch service that earned them a good reputation.
Kirby Te, Islands Banca Cruises Davao franchisee, explains how they have personally tried and enjoyed the leading island hopping service provider in Cebu.
“They have a strong brand identity backed by their innovative ideas to offer a different island-hopping experience. We share the belief that the pleasure of an ideal island hopping getaway begins once the guests enters our comfortable bancas and are greeted by friendly and attentive crew,” Te explains.
True to his word, I’ve never been so pampered as soon as I got in the squeaky clean boat with an eye-catching color combination of white and orange. With an exceptional service by uniformed staff and stewards (they form a line and make a ceremonial introduction to greet you before the boat revs off the pier and do the same when the tour is over), the super friendly crew anticipates your every move and needs like pampered guests in a hotel.
The banca feels so homey yet classy, equipped with amenities like its extended sundeck and my favorite bean bags to sit around, speakers, Ipod dock, dry and cold towels, and snacks and beverages for sale. The best addition is an “upon request” wi-fi which allows you to post on Facebook and Twitter your location and what you are currently enjoying (which we did)!
As a Dabawenya, I was only able to experience for the first time docking at the Vanishing Island, and being able to go down and enjoy the clear shallow waters of the sand bar we normally just passed by en route to Samal Island.
Currently priced in promo package tours (check out their Facebook), Island Banca Cruises currently offers cruises to Davao’s top island destinations like Pearl Farm, Talicud Island, Isla Reta, Malipano Islets and famous dive sites like the Coral Garden, Angel’s Cove and the Marissa Dive Sites.
I highly recommend this tour service if you want to enjoy Davao’s tourism catch phrase “From Islands to Highlands”. It is a trip worth the ride. Special thanks to Kirby and Gay Te, Maggie Lim and the very efficient boat crew.
For inquiries and reservations, contact Islands Banca Cruises –Davao at (+6382) 284-2066 or (+63)906-3757933 or email at [email protected]. Islands Banca Cruises dock is located in Pearl Farm Marina Jetty, Lizada Drive, Lanang, Davao City.
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