Is it any wonder that two million fruit bats are perfectly content on a lush “resort island?”  Samal Island, also known as the “Island Garden City of Samal,” is the largest resort destination in the Philippines. Crystal-clear waters with beaches of white sand and verdant blossoming vegetation everywhere make this an island paradise – for humans and bats.

Geoffroy’s rousette bat. Bat Conservation International.

Monfort Bat Cave on Samal Island holds a remarkable distinction: it’s home to the world’s largest colony of Geoffroy’s rousette bats (Rousettus amplexicaudatus), a species of megabats found throughout Southeast Asia, Oceania, and other locations. Geoffroy’s bats feed on fruits and also sip nectar, and are valued as one of the main pollinators of the island’s vegetation and plantations in Davao City on the mainland

The bat cave is part of the Monfort Bat Sanctuary with over 50 acres of protected land owned by Norma Monfort and her family. The property has been developed into an active conservancy and eco-park with views of the sea, the neighboring islands, and native greenery. Lectures, seminars, and workshops are available.

Visitors to Monfort Bat Cave peer into one of five cave entrances. There, in the darkness of the relatively small cave, roost up to two million mega-sized bats packed tightly together. At an estimated density of 645 bats per square meter, visitors often comment on their perception of a “ceiling carpet of bats.” As dusk falls, visitors are awestruck as a seemingly endless stream of large, powerful bats pour out of the cave to forage for fruits and flowers.

MORE INFO

  • Philippine travel agencies should be consulted for the most up-to-date information on this destination.
  • Entrance to the Monfort Bat Cave requires a small fee (typically about $2.50 in American dollars) and a modest environmental tax.  
  • Island cottages which face the Davao Gulf are available as well as more conventional accommodations.
  • Getting to the island requires a short ferry ride. The most prominent way to get around the island is by habal-habal (motorcycles).