If you are looking for a tropical getaway in Mindanao, Philippines, but only have a shoestring budget to work with, then Passig Islet offers the perfect destination. There are several world-class tropical destinations in Mindanao, particularly in the Davao region, but most of them are crowded with lots of tourists coming in at various times of the year. This once secret islet is slowly but surely gaining popularity as top destination choice in the region but it still offers a lot of promise for those who want a memorable getaway.
Passig Islet is located at Sitio Bato in Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur. It is therefore accessible from the city of Digos and the national highway, so you can stop here if you happen to pass along. The official name for this tourist destination is Passig Islet Aqua-Eco Park Resort, which was developed out of the provincial government's effort to boost the tourism industry in the region.
There is a long wooden footbridge (now famous on its own as a landmark for this area) that visitors need to walk through to reach the end wherein there are bancas waiting to take them to Passig Islet. This bridge was initially constructed to connect the islet to the mainland and provide added mobility for all personnel tasked at maintaining the islet. However, the bridge was destroyed and was reconstructed although it no longer stretched out onto the islet.
All visitors to Passig Islet need to pay PhP 20 for the boat ride, which takes roughly 5 minutes. However, you can hire the entire boat for PhP 100. Make sure you ask the boat driver's mobile number so you can communicate with them in case you need to take a trip back to the mainland. The banca ride in itself is already quite stunning as you have a 360-degree view of the sea, the islet from away, and the surrounding mountains.
Accommodation at the resort is fairly affordable, especially in comparison to other more popular resorts in the region. Adults must pay only PhP 15 for the entrance fee while the kids' entrance fee (good for 7 to 12 years old) is at PhP 10. There are several choices of cottages at the resort that varies in terms of the number of people and the type of accommodation (day tour or overnight). The mini cottages are priced at PhP 100, small cottages at PhP 150, medium cottages at PhP 250, and large cottages for overnight and with rooms are priced at PhP 500. They also have a functional hall that costs PhP 5,500, which is ideal if you want to hold major gatherings on the site.
The beach is good but do not expect it to be as excellent as other famous beach resorts in the Philippines, such as Boracay. Although it has white sand, it is a bit coarse and there might be a lot of broken corals, so be careful.
The affordability of the site and its beautiful view make it a perfect alternative if you want a true escape and be away from the chaos of the city.