I have great love for unexplored territories and little-known places. It is a penchant that brought me to a number of destinations sheltered from commercial and irresponsible tourism. And off the waters of Davao Gulf, one tranquil island – unspoiled, undisturbed – worth to be called another Island Gem of Davao Region: Kopiat Island.
The island is covered with fruit-bearing coconut trees while different variety of mangroves are scattered on the sides. It boasts of clear and serene waters of Davao Gulf and blessed with a lengthy shoreline bathed in fine white sands. Deemed unspoiled, the island is perfect site for picnic and relaxation.
Kopiat Island, despite the roaring call for commercial tourism, has retained its old rustic tropical allure. As far as I know, the island is inhabited. There are no electricity, no establishments built, and not even daytime vendors on the island. There are quite a few tables and benches built there for day picnic and campers.
According to the locals, Kopiat Island is the breeding ground of the hawksbill and leatherback turtles, two of the five species of marine turtles than can be found in the Philippines. Such made it to the list of DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Habitat.
Aside from hawksbill and leatherback turtles, Kopiat Island teems of unspoiled coral reefs that are home to exotic marine life. Such is a perfect site for diving and snorkeling. Various colorful corals thriving underwater and the rich marine life there is will surely captivate divers and snorkelers.
The 87-hectare island can be toured around by pump boats for 15 minutes. From the boat, the crystal clear waters will give you a glimpse of what’s down there – rich marine life. On the other hand, in-land tour around the island can be done in 45 minutes. Doing so will give you the chance to marvel at seven-hectare lagoon hidden in the island.
Kopiat Island is one of those select places I admire so much because even at this era of social media and online photo-sharing, it is still kept away from destructive irresponsible tourism. It is barely visited by tourists but most favorite among locals. To this date, it has considerably retained its laid-back feel and its natural tropical beauty. Honestly, I still want to see Kopiat Island that way.
From the City of Tagum, take a jeepney bound for Mabini, Compostela Valley. Estimated fare is around Php 30.00. Tell the jeepney driver to drop you off at Barangay Pindasan. There, you need to take a tricycle or single motorcycle to bring you to the port going to Kopiat Island. Boat trip from the port to Kopiat Island is only 15 minutes. Everything there is SURPRISINGLY CHEAP!