Sitting on a crowded van as we made our way from General Santos City on an early December morning, we could imagine the crystal-clear turquoise waters and sparkling white sandy beach waiting for us at the end of our trip. The pictures we’ve seen of Gumasa Beach in Glan, Saranggani were enough to convince us to include this coastal destination on our trip to southern Mindanao at the end of 2014. After enjoying our brief visit to Lake Sebu and spending a night at General Santos, we were really looking forward to this trip.
As our van sped down an almost empty highway towards the town of Glan, we spied picturesque Saranggani Bay on the side of the road. It seemed like an auspicious start to our beach adventure. Our van ride was over in an hour and we were soon riding a tricycle to take us to our resort on the main, 2-kilometer stretch of Gumasa Beach. It was sunny when we started out on this trip at General Santos but by the time we arrived at Gumasa we noticed that gray clouds had completely blotted out the sun, wiping out any trace of the blue sky.
While others appreciate a cloudy day at the beach that affords shade from the heat of the sun (although an overcast sky ironically causes sun burn more than a cloudless sky), we prefer otherwise. One major reason: sunny skies bring out the striking colors of a white sand beach and its surrounding waters.
A little bit disappointing – a feeling further heightened by the subpar quality of service in our resort – but there were several pluses to balance out things. Since we came on a weekday we were practically the only souls on this portion of Gumasa and we had the beach all to ourselves. That meant being able to explore the whole stretch of the curving 2 kilometer white-sand beach. The soft, powdery sand on this expanse of Gumasa is the beach’s main attraction. Most of the resorts are located on this 2 kilometer stretch.
Gumasa has two more stretches of sandy beach, one to the north and another to the south of the main, 2-kilometer portion where we stayed. Large rock outcrops marked the boundaries of the main beach from these shorter tracts. The southern beach, where the Isla Jardin Resort is located, is even more secluded.
When we got tired from exploring we retreated to our beachfront cottage, reclined on the porch and just enjoyed the view of the beach and Saranggani Bay. A subdued sunset soon came, adding to the relaxed mood of the whole place.
While the overcast skies on this visit were a letdown, there was still plenty to enjoy at Gumasa Beach. But should we decide to visit this place again we’ll make sure we do it on a sunny day.