Gumasa, Sarangani

The crowd

If Ilocos Norte claims Pagudpud is the Boracay of the North, then Glan, Sarangani is confident of its own Boracay of the South in Gumasa. In fact, a local I met says "this is what Boracay was 20 years ago". I've never been to Pagudpud but I've visited Boracay once in 1998 and thought, well, it was already overrun with resorts at the time it lost its natural charm. For someone who prefers unadulterated beach, I found the 3-kilometer stretch of white sand in Gumasa as good as it gets.

When I first heard about Gumasa earlier this year, I made a mental note to see the place for myself once I'm in the Philippines. The latest edition of Lonely Planet Philippines mentions it only vaguely. Whatever info I gathered was limited from the few blogs I came across. Only four beach resorts came up as I read, all with mobile phone numbers to contact them. I juggled them in my head and decided on White Haven Beach Resort. My reservation for a cottage was done through texting and confirmed only after paying a deposit to the owner's bank account. How uniquely Filipino is that?

A fisherman carries his banca during low tide
while a local kid somersaults in the shallow water.

From Davao City, we drove in our car for about four hours on paved roads heading towards Gen. Santos City and into Glan, a tiny municipality almost at the southernmost tip of Mindanao. A much longer journey is by bus/van/tricycle combo. Expecting a lot of fish in this area noted for its tuna, we were disappointed not to find much selection in the local market - everything apparently has been trucked to Davao City and beyond. We bought a few supplies as we intend to cook our food for this weekend stay.

White Haven Beach Resort isn't fancy. Or the other few resorts in the vicinity for that matter. What we got for a beachfront cottage - their biggest at 4,900 pesos a night - had three rooms, two with aircon and one in the basement with fan. It can comfortably sleep eight people in all. There's no TV or phone - not that we need it - but we got an outdoor kitchen equipped with a refrigerator and a gas stove. Not having set my expectations very high, I really like the place. What's more, they have a kayak for rent!

A fishing boat slowly sails down towards the Celebes Sea
as the sun sets. Tomorrow, it goes back to port
in Gen. Santos City laden with fish meant for shores beyond.

I walked barefoot to the beach, stood under the noon-day sun, scanned the low-tide horizon and felt so serene in this natural setting. As I squinted behind my Transitions lenses, the crescent-shaped white-sand beach still glistened and the salty breeze whispered to me what I was just told, "this is what Boracay was 20 years ago". Gumasa is a rough diamond that should stay as it is.


  1. mukhang punong puno ang itinerary mo ah. ako nga nanood lang ng photos enjoy na enjoy eh, kaw pa kaya?

  2. I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life there!

    The sunset is gorgeous... the beach looks like paradise... I do not need anything more...

  3. ganda ng reflection ng dagat sa ulap..;)

  4. Totally agree with you. Just perfect, unspoilt, should stay the way it is.

  5. Thanks for posting this... I have always been in search of that perfect unadulterated beach. So far, in all my travels, I have never seen one.

    I will try to find time to visit this before this gets too commercialized...

  6. Is Gen. Santos and what used to be called Dadiangas the same? I've been to Dadiangas when it was still a dusty, sleepy town in Cotabato but I never heard of Glan or Gumasa but Sarangani sounds familiar though I've never been there for certain. Maganda pala d'yan!

  7. Hi Photo Cache,
    Buti naman at nag-enjoy ka sa mga photos. Hope makauwi ka again someday and experience Pilipinas for yourself.

    Hi Sidney,
    Indeed, anyone who seeks a simple life can spend it forever here.

    Hi Everlito,
    Salamat ulit!

    Hi Gemma,
    Let's hope so. Mahirap kalabanin ang pera ng mga malalaking real estate developers.

    Hi Whattaworld,
    As long as you don't set your expectations high, you'll like Gumasa.

    Hi Bert,
    Tama ka, Gen. Santos City (GenSan) used to be called Dadiangas. In fact, old folks still call the city by its old name.

  8. Love your blog.

    The Friendship Kayak Expedition departed from Gumasa on 31 August, bound for Pugudpud Luzon. 3300km in 100 days. If the boys complete this paddle it will be a first.


    They are currently in Surigao, sitting out the Typhoon.

  9. Wow. I love how white the sand is. I've never really explored and enjoyed the beaches of the Philippines. Perhaps it's time to change that.

  10. Wow, this place is a real gem!! I first went to Boracay in the late 80's and my last time was in '93. And true, this was what Boracay looked like back in the 80's. I heard that today, it is overrun with all the tourist trappings. I'm so glad you posted about Gumasa! I will definitely be bookmarking this / Stumbling this for future reference! I'm heading back to the Phils. in 2011. I will be sure to visit this area!

  11. Anonymous2:24:00 AM

    I've been to Pagudpod and it was OK but i find its white sand courser than expected. I'll compare it to Boracay's noted powdery sands 3 weeks from now. That beach in Gumasa is a real gem! A marriage of serenity and nature!

  12. Anonymous2:37:00 AM

    Wow, what a long stretch of untouched white beach. Reminded me so much of Pagudpud:


    Hope these places remain just the way they are now.

    Btw, you had an awesome trip. Wish I can go to Siargao and Davao soon.

  13. i like gumasa. this was one of my target destination but due to some changes in my career path, i have to cancel it and maybe moved to next year.

    this is my type of beach. definitely one of the best in the country.

  14. wow, that's a beautiful beach! i have to go there soon. haha.

  15. Wow grabe ang ganda ng beach I've never been to Southern part of the Philippines ang ganda pala dyan I love your sunset shots awesome

  16. Hi Hoz,
    I heard about this kayaking project while researching for this trip. Thanks for sharing their site.

    Hi Linguist-in-Waiting,
    Thanks for dropping by!

    Hi Jen,
    Glad to see you back here. I'm sure you can't wait to visit the Philippines.

    Hi Docgelo,
    Boracay's talcum powder of a sand is undeniably unmatched - I could only wish it's not overdeveloped like it is today.

    Hi Hushboy,
    Hope you can visit Mindanao. Will be checking your photos, thanks.

    Hi Dong,
    I'm not surprised Gumasa is on your wish list. Makakarating ka rin dito. Ikaw pa.

    Hi Barry,
    Run Barry, run. He he he!

    Hi Missy,
    Kaya punta ka na at ng makita mo for yourself ang maganda nilang sunset.

  17. kizmetriv10:51:00 AM

    oh my! juz recently we were there...juz last june 6, 2010. we slept in that same beachfront cottage with matching underground room...and d white sand 'twas sooo nice...hindi pa uverused..and uver-exposed...compare to boracay...i still choose d white haven beach resort at gumasa, sarangani...


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