We motored the entire way on nearly glassy seas from Sangihe to Sarangani--120 miles, one easy overnight in those conditions. If we could have left Sangihe on Monday, we would have had some wind, but by the time we got cleared out at 7pm on Monday when the Customs guy finally got back, there was not much wind.
We first stopped at the outside anchorage at Sarangani Islands N05°24.12' E125°25.61'(first stop in the Philippines) and spent a whole day surfing the internet on blazing Globe--I think it was the fastest internet I've had outside the U.S. ever. I had bought 1000 pesos worth of Globe cards before I left, so just added the loads and signed up for another 1 month unlimited data. This anchorage was nice and calm (the winds and seas in general were low), unlike the rolly conditions when we stopped there on the way down when the winds and seas were pretty high.
I did have a bit of trouble getting online at first. Apparently, I had my Globe sim in my phone for a few minutes while in Indonesia, and Globe automatically set my sim to "international roaming" which turns data off. After a bunch of poking around on the phone on my own, I called the Customer Support number for Globe and in 5 minutes I was online.
The second night we spent up inside the protected anchorage. To get in, you have to wind your way in past a fishing village.
We left Sarangani at 0500, with 65 miles to go to the protected anchorage at Tubalan ~40 miles S of Davao. Again we motored out on glassy seas.
By 0830 we were along the coast on west side of the Gulf of Davao, and the wind was starting to pick up.
By the time we rounded Calilidan Point around noon, we had winds from SSE at 15 knots (again a big bend and pickup in the wind in the afternoons along that coast). All morning about a half mile off the coast, we had current WITH us. We managed to sail for 2 hrs at 8 knots sustained!
When we rounded the Calilidan Point, the wind bent a little bit with us, and the seas did too. We lost the current then, but didn't seem to get any adverse current. We drifted at 4 knots for about an hour or so wing on wing, before we gave up and turned on the engine as the wind continued to die.
We had good Globe coverage leaving Sarangani, right around the southern tip of the mainland, and then no more until after we rounded the knob in the coast. We 3 boats found so-so anchorage (because too deep or too shallow) in the SE corner of the bay. We arrived late and tired and didn't look around much. Decent Globe (and Smart maybe too) in Tubalan Bay. Our anchorage was approximately at N06°31.85' E125°31.29', but there are likely better spots in that bay if you look around more.
Next morning we left Tubalan at 0600 and made it all the way into the marina at Samal by 3pm. The winds didn't pick up much from the morning calm, so we had to motorsail the whole way.
After a discussion among the 3 boats, and a phone call to Kjartan at the marina for advice, we ended up going up the Davao side of Samal. Even though we made the passage on a good INCOMING tide, we had mild current against us the whole day (0-.5 kts) except for a short time in the slot off Davao, then 1.5 kts against us. Kjartan told us via phone that the current is always running south on the Davao side. It's ~5 miles longer to go around the east side of Samal, so at least with an incoming tide, it's a tossup as to which way you go.
We motored up the narrow slot between Talikud and Samal and enjoyed the sightseeing.
We saw lots of fishing boats and FADs along the Samal coast between Talikud and Samal, and north of Talikud. This would not be a good stretch to traverse at night.
We are already missing all our friends who are in Indonesia. The marina is pretty quiet now, with only a few occupied boats.