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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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January 6, 2009

glan | gumasa weekend getaway (sarangani)


Overcast mood in Gumasa

The sky was overcast for several days already but my wife and I decided to push through with our Gumasa getaway (last Dec 30-31, last travel for 2008, sans the kids). Its been 13 years since we last visited that nice stretch of fine white (or light cream ) colored sand and word has it that the place is now "developed" (something that I feared and not too enthusiastic about).

Gumasa's fine sand

Gumasa is a small fishing village in the municipality of Glan, a coastal town on the southern end of the Sarangani bay near the tip of mainland Mindanao. Its popular for its fine white sand beach that stretches for almost a kilometer. While popular for its beach, the remote area gained notoriety in the 1990s because of the kidnappings. Tourists avoid the place, they instead prefer the gray sand beaches on the northwestern side of Sarangani bay because of their proximity the city of General Santos.

One of the resorts in Gumasa

Things have changed a bit in Gumasa. The (very) rough and dusty road that I remembered is now replaced with a paved rolling highway.

An overcast day in Gumasa

The simple huts near the beach are now replaced with resorts, some with grand accommodations and swimming pools. The resorts are concentrated on the southern end of the beach, where the beach area is flatter and the water shallower. The villagers who used to live where the resorts now stand were given relocations on the nearby hills and on the north-western part of the beach.

We decided to skip the resorts and instead stayed with one of the families we befriended (an interesting fact: many of the "locals" are actually Indonesians who came to make Gumasa their second home. Indonesia is just 16 hours away by outrigger boat ). I wanted to be closer to the end of the beach where the rocks are for "picture taking" reasons (luckily my wife understands my photographic needs :), she was my assistant the whole day, handing me filters when I need them).

We had our tent with us and we were ready to rough it out but they offered us the use of one of their open cottages, and their kitchen, and their utensils.

View of an overcast sunset, overlooking Celebes sea

The dinner we shared with our hosts that night was a simple dish of fried balo (needlefish), freshly caught just off the beach. This is the Gumasa I remembered.

Fried "balo"

As I watched a moody sunset over Celebes Sea, I can't help wonder how tourism will transform the place another 5 years from now, now that the place is very accessible and (relatively) peaceful. A lot of folks say that Gumasa is going to be Mindanao's Boracay. I hope not, for Gumasa's sake.

A hint of sunset in Celebes Sea

  • From Gumasa, there is a rough and bumpy road (accessible only to habal-habals or motorcycles) going to Batolaki Point at the very tip of the Mindanao mainland. I heard the waters of Batolaki Point are very pristine and teeming with underwater life.
  • Sarangani and Balut Islands are just a 1-hour boat ride (outrigger boats) from Gumasa. You can make a sidetrip to Batolaki Point on the way to Balut Island.
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Lantaw
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28 comments:

ms firefly said...

awww, breathtaking views. beautiful pictures. i'll be back there for sure. i'm so longing for your pritong balo! :)

Allan Barredo said...

@ms firefly - thanks! wait till you see the photos of the groupers (lapu-lapu) we bought the next day :). Come back to Gumasa before it gets too crowded :)

2sweetnsaxy said...

All excellent shots but that first one is absolutely gorgeous!! It's too bad so much of our beautiful landscapes get lost to "development."

imac said...

Beautiful part of the world.
I bet that fried fish tasted nice, A bottle of wine to wash it down?.

Louise said...

What a wonderful place. But I have to say that "only 16 hours by outrigger boat" sounds like as far away as the moon to me.

theArthurClan said...

Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. The first one literally took my breath away!

I love that you skipped the resorts and stayed with a local family...what an authentic, real way to learn about a community.

~Angie
www.thearthurclanphotos.blogspot.com

ewok1993 said...

thanks for the beautiful beach tour. the philippines is really a nature's paradise.

MysLykeMeeh said...

Wow--lovely pictures.

I liked that Fried 'balo'

Next Boracay? Maybe, because of its WHite Sand? Well, who knows! But not Boracay this time. Maybe, more descent than Boracay.

sheng said...

I have been to Gumasa only once, and to Boracay once as well... Judging from what I saw and comparing the two, Id still choose Gumasa, I saw starfishes in Gumasa, none in Bora. And there's more to find out in Gumasa while life is so complex in Bora. I will be back here soon.

AngelMD-No-More said...

the best ang first pic.hehehe nice place! hay pariente, u awakened my interest in photography again!hahaha ill save for that d40 ure saying.hehehe

Allan Barredo said...

@2sweetnsaxy - Thanks! We should find ways to deal with progress that preserves our natural surroundings.

@imac - yes it did! twas very fresh. I wish I had white wine with us that evening, maybe next time. All we had was some local cola drinks :D

@Louise - Haha, its 16 hours of being tossed by the waves. The locals however liked to think that Indonesia is just nearby. They are used to spending weeks, months even, on the sea :) Thanks for the visit!

@theArthurClan - Thanks! I'm glad we stayed with them too. They considered me and my wife as their extended family, they are already inviting us back to spend summer vacation there :)

@ewok1993 - thanks! I hope we can manage to preserve our beautiful places here for future generations

@MysLykeMeeh - Thanks! That fried balo tasted very nice too, the meat was succulent. I hope so too that it won't be transformed to what Boracay is now.

@sheng - Come back before it gets too crowded. There are small coves just after the Gumasa beach stretch that are great for snorkelling. I have nothing against progress for the place, but not like what happened to Boracay.

@AngelMD-No-More - Hi Cel! Hope you get your D40 soon :).

Arija said...

A wonderful post. I do hope super tourism does not get a hold too quicklt, it tends to spoil all that is pristine and beautiful.

the donG said...

allan, salamat salamat! isasama ko to sa itinerary ko pagpunta ko ng sarangani. fine din pala ng buhangin dyan.

ngayon ko lang to narinig.

submit mo yung una at huling shot sa outdoor photographer.

Allan Barredo said...

@Arija - thanks! I hope so too.

@dom - salamat din bro! will submit them. Very fine ang sand dun, may mga magagandang coves pa dun

Gaelyn said...

Gumasa, WOW! An incredibly beautiful place. Why does so much of nature need to be buried under a concrete jungle.
Excellent tour and captures. I want to be there.

jessforget said...

wonderful gumasa! it is nice to know that we keep places like gumasa. yeah i hope tourism will find its way to preserve the simplicity of gumasa. not a place to become like boracay where going there is expensive.

thanks for sharing!!

Lawstude said...

that was one awesome trip allan. the perfect way to end the year with the perfect views and the perfect company. cheers for more travels in 2009.

Leonard Pe said...

if you can come back here in SarGen soon, drop me a message. Let's shoot landscapes in the Sarangani bay area.

Allan Barredo said...

@Gaelyn - Thanks! My sentiments exactly.

@jessforget - I think we are learning from what is happening with our popular beach areas, hopefully Gumasa will be preserved. Thanks for the visit!

@oman - thanks bro! punta din kayo dun.

@leonard - Sige bro! sa Holy Week balik ulit ako ng GenSan

The Islander said...

your photos are really incomparable. simply one of the best outdoors.

zherwin said...

happy new year!!!

sakto! we're currently looking for another place to explore that's not really on the usual tourist map, alam mo naman, ayaw na natin ng matao hehehe.

pano pumunta rito? excited!!!

Allan Barredo said...

Thanks JP! Glad you liked my photos!

Allan Barredo said...

@zherwin - happy new year too bro! Will email you directions on how to go there.

fortuitous faery said...

how often can people say they just saw a "celebes sea sunset"? i was in south cotabato last month for a mere 2 days...bitin kaayo! hehe.

the last photo with all the blue hues is just...fantastic. evokes emotions. i love the sea!

Allan Barredo said...

@fortuitous faery - naku 2 days is bitin nga! thanks for dropping by

Anonymous said...

Allan,

Congratz sa mga pictures nga na published mo!

It encourages me to go home and explore the beauty of our neighboring hometown.

Jonathan A. - Isulan

Boracay Hotels said...

Is it boracay? The first i saw this photo I thought this is boracay.


Tanya Gemarin

Lantaw said...

@Boracay Hotel, its not Boracay, thank goodness :D

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