If you are planning to explore Samal Island, you should not miss the Giant Clam Sanctuary. It's located at the white sand islet across from Barangay Adecor, the fishing village beside Pearl Farm Resort. I had no idea about this tourist spot until our habal-habal driver informed us during our three-day Samal getaway last March.
"You will never regret visiting the Giant Clam Sanctuary; you will find clams of different sizes and colors there," assured our boatman. I'm glad we listened to him and trusted his words, as the underwater creatures didn't disappoint us. As we snorkeled in awe, we saw 15 to 40-inch neatly-arranged endangered clams; the young ones close to the beach and the huge ones at the deeper part of the sea.
Fortunately, we went there at low tide, so we could walk on the beach and take a closer look at some of the giant clams in the sanctuary. Their shells are beige and dull; their structure, which is similar to hard corals, helps them blend with their environment. The colorful part of the clam is its mantle.
Giant clams are feared for attacking humans in the sea. National Geographic, however, says this is an undeserved reputation. Giant clams consume sugars and proteins produced by the algae living in their tissues. There have been no records of a swimmer or diver being swallowed by a giant clam. This, however, doesn't give us the right to touch them.
The Giant Clam Sanctuary is currently under the protection of Davao del Norte State College. They collect a P75.00 per head entrance fee to sustain their project. This excludes the boat fare, mask and snorkel. During our visit, the sun was too hot, and the in-charge didn't come down to orient us about the giant clams.
How to Get to the Giant Clam Sanctuary
This tourist spot has become part of Samal Island tour packages. I'm pretty sure Pearl Farm and Paradise Island Resorts offer this package to their visitors. However, if you're going to Samal for this spot only, and you want to save some bucks, here's my suggestion:
- From Penaplata, Samal Island, take the habal-habal to Adecor Village. Fare is about Php 50.00 per head.
- Take the boat to the Giant Clam Sanctuary. Price per boat is Php 1,500.00 with a maximum capacity of 10 people.
What to Bring
- Mask and snorkel (and life vest if you're not a good swimmer). If you don't have these, ask the boatman where you can rent them. As of March 2013, rental fee is Php 100.00.
- Malong. No public toilets are available in Adecor, so if you want to change clothes after snorkeling, you will need a malong or a big towel to cover your body.
I recommend you contact Robert for your boat reservation. He can also bring you to the coral island for more snorkeling. Since he's a fisherman, he knows the island well and can readily answer your questions. His mobile number is 09496579661.
For a detailed, adventurous itinerary on how to explore Samal Island in three days, check this post.