Mention the finest beaches in the country and Sarangani will most likely go unnoticed, but in need not be because it is riddled with picturesque beaches.
Saranggani Province is part of the SOCSKSARGEN Region (South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City). It is composed of towns with idyllic coastal charm and is well known as the district of the world renowned boxing champion turned Congressman - Manny Pacquiao. Getting here will take about an hour drive from General Santos City where the nearest airport is located. From the municipality of Glan, it will take another 30 minutes to reach the scenic coastline of Gumasa.
The beaches of Gumasa are every travel photographer’s dream - powdery white sand lapped by sun-kissed turquoise waters and blue skies hovering above. The pace here is sluggish, suitable for lounging by the shore while reading your favorite novel.
Adding up to its charm are the friendly locals living modestly. Here you will meet kids walking under the unforgiving sun hoping to sell the fresh catch of their fathers. By lunch, the fishermen join their families under the shade of the trees to eat.
The beach resorts in Gumasa are scattered along its shores, but despite the abundance of these structures, it has managed to retain its raw appeal. The White Beach offers a beautiful panorama akin to tropical beach cliches; carefully planted coconut trees adorn the tranquil coastline. At the far end of the beach, you’ll find forest-fringed hills plummeting into the glimmering sea and at low tide you can explore the mini caves hidden in the cliff.
Most resorts here have open cottages to cater to visitors by day and fan and air-conditioned rooms for those wanting to stay overnight. Rates of cottages usually start at Php 300 and entrance fees at the resort is around Php 50 per head for adults. You can buy fresh seafood and grill it or dine at the restaurant of the resort. Some resorts also offers water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, jet ski and skim boarding.
Gael Hilotin is the author of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.