The dimming light during our late afternoon arrival in Samal Island set the mood for one unique attraction. We were set to visit the Monfort Bat Colony, known for being home to the largest colony of the Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bats.

I and Ferdie dropped off at Babak (near the pier) and hailed a motorcycle to take us to the bat colony. The caves were located within a private compound, the owners of which charge an admission fee to see the nocturnal celebrities.

Not a single soul was around to greet us a welcome at the entrance. My head raced when I saw the sign “visiting hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm only.” Emphasis on the until 5:00 pm ONLY. It was already 5:15pm … bummer!

Eerie sight of millions of fruit bats at the Monfort Bat Colony in Babak, Samal Island, Davao del Norte

Millions of Bats at the Monfort Bat Colony

A girl came shortly after and reiterated that they were already closed for the day. Fortunately, after some dialogue (begging) she agreed to take us in :) They do allow night viewing at the Monfort Bat Colony but prior reservations need to be arranged so that they could prepare for the visit.

The entrance fee costs P30, which includes a guided tour of the caves and some background on this bizarre natural  phenomenon.

Monfort Bat Colony Entrance

You’d know that there’s an unnaturally huge presence of bats in the area because of the ominous symphony of high-pitched shrills. At first sight, I was already shocked at the sheer number of bats at the cave opening. Getting a closer view, I was overwhelmed seeing uncountable black masses covering the cave walls. It looked like the walls itself were moving.

Cave Opening #1

The girl showed us two more cave openings, similarly populated with bats. The Monfort Bat Colony in Babak is estimated to have some 1.8 million bat residents. The simple reason behind this phenomenon was that the area continues to be highly suitable for bat’s habitation.

Cave Opening #2

Monfort Bat Colony, Babak, Samal City 10-10 (729)

Cave Opening #3

Closer view of the fruit bats

Babak, Samal to Sasa Wharf, Davao City RORO Ferry

It was already dark when we arrived at the RORO pier in Babak. We hopped on the bus with the “Santa Ana Wharf” route. The ride involved a ferry to Davao City via Sasa Wharf. I was at the side-deck for most of the ride … enjoying the view of the silky waters and city lights.

On the RORO going to Davao City

OT. of vampires.

During our short acquaintance, Ferdie shared that interactions with me was sorta like an “Interview with the Vampire.” Of course, I knew he meant that I was too silent … or maybe that I had an unnaturally flat affect. I wasn’t offended since I’ve always had much difficulty opening up to other people, especially if I just met them. ANYWAYS, his comment struck me because I thought it cool that he would associate his impression of me with one of my favorite pieces of literature.

Ever since I saw Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” as a kid, I’ve been fascinated with vampires. This was followed by obsessions with just about any book or movie with reference to vampires including Interview with the Vampire and Anne Rice’s other novels … yes, even Twilight. I think my obsession is connected to my inclination for long-term backpacking … the feeling of freely walking the Earth as an observer without a care of societal concerns and the passing of time.

Dinner at Lachi’s

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I and Ferdie ended up spending more time together when we arrived in Davao. He was also traveling solo. It was great to have some company for a change. We had dinner at Lachi’s since I wanted to try their much-raved-about grilled pork ribs. Lachi’s was located at the corner of Ruby and Sapphire Sts., Marfori Heights, Davao City.

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Grilled Pork Ribs – P130, New York Cheese Cake – P45, Iced Tea (Sola) – P40, Rice – P20

It wasn’t the mind-blowing taste I expected but the grilled pork ribs was delicious and sold at such a bargain. New York Cheese Cake was also delicious. Lachi’s had a lot of appetizing pastries on display.

People’s Park Davao

After dinner, we decided to take a peek at People’s Park at the heart of downtown Davao. It was one of the best public parks/plazas I’ve seen in the Philippines. It was very clean, spacious, and even had a lot of interesting attractions … a great photo-op when in the city.

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That concludes my first visit to Davao. The next day, I rushed to the airport to catch and early morning flight to Zamboanga. Blog post to follow…