Cateel in Davao Oriental is a place of beauty. It is home to the highest and beautiful waterfall in the Philippines, the Aliwagwag, and 16 other falls that Cateeleños have shared with travelers and tourists. It has survived Typhoon Pablo which left the town in shambles due to its people’s grit, tenacity, and fighting spirit.
Today, Cateeleños are back on their feet and Cateel has once more opened its doors with new places to discover like their open secret, Creamsand Long Beach.
The black sand beach is 9 kilometers long and encompasses two barangays--- Sta. Filomena and Baybay. There is a part of the beach from which the Cateel River and the Pacific Ocean meet. Sandwiched in between the river and the sea is a small strip of land that houses local and migratory birds.
If you listen to Cateeleños tell stories of their beach, you will hear how they learned how to swim in long beach’s water, how they enjoy building a bonfire during cold nights, running to the water to break the waves and just lay back and float.
Higadan Cream Sand Beach is a beach lover’s dream with its beach line that is free from the crowd. If you face the sea with its waves pounding into the shore, you have the coconut trees behind you swaying in the breeze.
You can take lay down a mat or a towel on the sand and sleep or take refuge in tepees built by Dot Veroy, the owner. Or pitch a tent and be with the elements at night when the moon would be your source of light.
Build a bonfire, seat around the fire, sing some songs, tell stories, play games, stargaze, beach comb, be alone with your thoughts. Whatever you choose to do, the beach will be a refuge because there are no blaring music, no horsing around from other beach goers, and there will always be a quiet spot for everyone.
If you want to play in the water, rent a body board from Dot and ride the waves. For those who cannot surf, you can swim and dip. There are months when the sea is gentle and calm and there are months when it can be rough so leave a message with Dot when you want to go there.
Since this beach is a secret, be very responsible when you visit it. Do not litter. Bring your trash with you. Do not be rowdy. You can have fun without disturbing the peace of others.
How to get there:
Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu.
To get to Cateel, take the bus from Davao City via the Compostela Valley Road or Mati City Road. Buses are on daily schedule located at Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT). These buses are operated by Mallen Express, Lyra Express, Floremel Express and Bachelor Express.
Travel time from Davao City to Cateel taking the Compostela Valley road is 4 hours and via Mati City is 6 hours.