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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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May 8, 2015

sarangani : a peek at kiamba's coastal beauty in tuka marine park

Our small flat boat skimmed the water with ease. Weather was great and I was beaming with anticipation. I have never been to this part of southern Mindanao before and I'm about to see more of Kiamba's coastal beauty, more specifically its famed Tuka beaches.

Just a week ago I was in a hidden gem in Cagbalete island in the eastern coast of Luzon, now I am about to see another gem in southern Mindanao, some 900 km away from my previous island destination [ hey its summer and its all about beach hopping :) ].

Kiamba is a small quaint town in Sarangani, facing the Celebes sea. Here's a piece of trivia: in the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, Manny Pacquiao (you know who he is, right?) was introduced to have come from Kiamba, Sarangani.

The beaches along this part of the Sarangani coastline are nondescript with ordinary black/gray sand. But just a few minutes away from the town center of Kiamba are four small coves with cream colored sand.  No access roads were built, and each cove is cozily separated from each other by rock outcrops, and you can only cross over when the tide is very low.

Tuka Marine Park


The local government recognized the tourism potential of the coves, and also recognized the importance of striking a balance.


So of the four coves, only the third one - Tuka 3, has accommodation facilities.  Also known as Tuka Marine Park (for reasons I will discover later), the access to the cove is regulated by the local tourism office.


Honestly, the beach could hold up a candle to the previous one I just went to.  But that impression changed when I put on my snorkel. Just a few meters from the shore and you can see live corals and an abundance of brightly colored fishes. The town's mayor, an avid environmentalist, said Tuka 2 has better coral gardens with a diverse marine life, and they would like to keep it that way. [I reminded myself to bring suitable underwater photography gear next time I visit]

"Coral planting"

Its not all about talk when in comes to preserving their coastal beauty (both over and underwater).

Diving for the environment
volunteer diver

Every weekend a group of about 10 volunteers, armed with 3-inch nails and those plastic loop locks, would make several dives to a spot just 30 meters out.  They would translate corals from a bed to different spots and anchor them to rocks with the nails and loop locks.

Out for work
out to his "office"

They would make 4-5 dives, upcoming up for a change of tank, quick bite, and a new batch of nails and loop lock, and then  head out again. A couple of years from now and snorkels will be enjoying their coral gardens.

Refill station
refill station

Flash bang sunset

I spent a good part of the day appreciating Tuka's underwater beauty (yeah, no photos to show for but definitely next time) but I made it a point never to miss a sunset (or sunrise) whenever I am travelling.

Approaching sunset

Its hard not to pick up the camera when the sky turns golden, and the clouds are not thick enough to block the setting sun. The promise of the clouds possibly bursting with colors is enough to keep me transfixed on the western skies. It was a promise that was  kept.


As if to affirm its coastal beauty, we were presented with an explosive sunset, craftily designed by Mother Nature to stun an avid landscape photographer. At moments like this, nothing else matters, not even the dinner that is waiting to be cooked :)


I could imagine the camera's sensor going crazy and trying to make sense of the explosion of colors that afternoon.

Sublime sunrise

I was not expecting much for sunrise the next morning, knowing that its on the opposite direction shielded by hills and forests. But I still woke up early, landscape photographer habit.

Sublime Sunrise

The rest of the morning was spent discovering more of Tuka's underwater beauty. Soon it was time to pack up and head home.

Our stay was short but sweet, and as I am writing this post I am already contemplating on a possible return date :)

Travel tips

There is no road to Tuka so you'll have to take a 15 minute boat ride. Access to the marine park is regulated by the local tourism (including boat transfer and accommodations). Contact the tourism office at +63-910-280-56-00

Tuka Express

Getting to Kiamba

There are numerous vans from General Santos to Kiamba. Travel time is 1.5 hours and fare is Php 150. Head to Ablog van terminal near the Bulaong bus terminal, their Kiamba bound vans depart every 30 minutes or so.

Tuka Marine Park fees

  • Entrance: Php 50 (day trip), Php 75 (overnight), Php 15 (children 5-10 years old)
  • Boat rental: Php 100/head, Php 500 for special trips


There are several options for accommodation, including roughing it out in a beach tent.

Open Cottages

Open cottages: Php 300 (daytime), Php 500 (overnight)

They also have fan rooms (Php 1,500 pesos) that can accommodate 6-8 persons. If you are looking for a bit more comfort, some of the rooms in Pacman's beach house are for rent (Php 2,500 aircon room, good for 4-6 persons)

Pacman's beach house

Other essentials

Some of the stuff we cannot live without :)
  • Electricity: 24 hours
  • Cellular coverage: SUN/SMART - almost non existent, GLOBE - very spotty, 3G signal at one end of the beach near Pacman's beach house
  • Water - best to bring drinking water. You buy can filtered mineral water in the tourism center.
  • Food - best to bring your own. There are available grilling stations (free use) but be sure to bring your own charcoal. Bring portable stoves or rice cookers. However you can also arrange with the tourism office if you want packed meals (average of Php 150 per meal).
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trekero said...

beautiful place. the photos make it even more beautiful

Lantaw said...


Unknown said...

Very informative and updated. By any chance, would they have a globe no.? Thanks in advance for the assist.

Lantaw said...

I don't think they have a Globe number

Kween said...

Fix na po ba ang 75 pesos na overnight stay namin? Magdadala po kami ng sariling tent namin, are still going to pay any fees pa po ba?

Lantaw said...

You'll have to pay for the boat transfer. I believe thats it if you are not going to rent any cottages

Unknown said...

hi po.. ask po sana ako kung magkano po ung room nyo good for two person only .. balak po kasi namin ng asawa ko na jan po magbabakasyon nyong september

Unknown said...

hi po magkano po yung room nyo good for two person?

Unknown said...

how much po yung room po ninyo good for two person only? balak po kasi namin ng partner ko jan po magbakasyon.

Lantaw said...

Some of the rates are posted above, for more details please get in touch with Kiamba Tourism office +63-910-280-56-00

Unknown said...

pwede po ba mag bonfire?

Lantaw said...

No I don't think they would allow it

Unknown said...

hello po can i ask if u have any review abt Pacman's beach resort?

roxiiclaire said...

Hello ask ko lang po if magkano po ang fee sa pagtatayo ng tent?

Lantaw said...

Rates might have changed already. Best to contact Kiamba Tourism office +63-910-280-56-00

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