Glan is a small town located south of Sarangani province of the Philippines. A small town that rarely makes it to any travel section of a travel magazine or travel guide. But, like how a sea nymph is drawn to the calling of its silent waves, Glan reveals its most alluring beach, Gumasa beach, to anyone who’s a certified beach bum.
The main gateway to Sarangani is by land travel from the domestic airport of General Santos City, or via 5-6 hours land travel from the International Airport of Davao City. To reach the town of Glan, take a van transport from KC Mall or from Bulaong Bus Terminal both located in General Santos City.
Upon arrival at the bus terminal in Glan you will be greeted with cheers from the many tricycle drivers waiting on you to pick one of them. Let a driver know that you want to head to Gumasa beach and that you need him to bring you back to the bus terminal after your beach time. Most tricycle drivers will bring you to the popular Coco Beach Resort where entrance fee of PHP100.00 is charged per visitor.
This is a good beach resort if you plan to have a picnic and rent a cottage for the day, or have plans to stay for the night. I had none of those; I didn’t even have a plan. I asked the hostel clerk where I can find beaches in General Santos City, or in nearby Sarangani. She replied back, with pride in her voice, “Gumasa beach in Glan is the nicest one, but an hour away from the city”. Gumasa it is, and so here I am in Glan, bouncing in the seat of a tricycle, holding on to its rusty metal frame for dear life, in search of paradise.
I asked my tall, lanky driver if there’s a place where I can enter the beach for free, and he gave me this grin like he had some magic tricks up his sleeve.
We made a u-turn and headed north, past the White Haven Beach Resort gate. I took the narrow pathway by the side that leads to beach.
I wasn’t prepared for the wide expanse of perfect bliss that I came to; Gumasa beach is simply stunning. With its unbelievably blue skies, turquoise waters with a steady pulse, soft powdery sands beneath my feet, all framed by landscape of mountains, this entire imagery in front of me seems to exist only in novels or Hallmark postcards.
I let my backpack fall off my shoulders and onto to the white sand, tossed off my sneakers and excitedly ran towards the clear water, like a child counting presents under the Christmas tree. I idled around for a while, waded in the warm calm water, breathing in the salty air, chatted with a couple of local fisherman, asking them if the ones they caught were for breakfast, to which I was replied to with a subtle laugh, and that it was for their drinking session that morning.
I made a foot scrub paste from the soft sand and applied generously over my legs and feet. I sunbathed and took an energizing power nap that prepared me for a day of travelling in cramped vans for my next stop, South Cotabato. After few hours of frolicking and smiling to the shy locals and playfully waving to locals’ children, playing in the clear waters with an old busted beach ball, I sent an SMS to my tricycle driver that I'm ready to head back.
General Santos city is all tangled up in its vibrant and emerging city life, but once in awhile, when you need to breathe salty warm air, or sometimes when life all becomes too dull and predictable for you, it is good to know that this paradise is just an hour away.
Carla is the owner and creator of brand and travel blog www.justtravellingsolo.com. The blog aims to provide travel guides and travel hacks for those looking for a change of pace in their life by opting to travel. She wants to inspire women coming out of a tragic loss in the family, nasty separations, or simply would want to get out of their desk. She has met some of these women who were inspired by the travel blog and the stories were just overwhelming. She dreams of publishing a collective book on travel memoirs by these amazing women. firstname.lastname@example.org