Gumasa Beach. Found on the western edge of Glan in Sarangani Province, it evokes images of powdery white sand, turquoise waters and scantily-clad beach bunnies frolicking on a pristine shore. Imagine our disappointment as we rode a habal-habal motorbike one morning from the nearby Sellona Beach and were greeted by somber grey skies. And it gets worse. By the time we arrived at Gumasa Beach, we were denied entry by two resorts holding the key to this famous Mindanao haven by sky high entrance fees. Coming all the way from Manila, imagine our disappointment indeed.
|CLOUDS OF SAND BELOW THE WATERS OF GUMASA BEACH|
|LOCAL OUTRIGGER BOAT PASSING NEAR THE SHORE|
Alright, there might be no beach bunnies in skimpy bikinis on this beach, but I have really no preconceived notion about Gumasa Beach. My partner-in-crime was the one who really dragged me to this side of Mindanao, saying, we were already in the area, why not check it out?
|DRIFTWOOD AT GUMASA BEACH|
And checking that out means driving two hours by van from Lake Sebu to General Santos City, and another two more to the town of Glan in Saranggani. It wasn’t the most comfortable ride, but I was hoping it would be worth it.
|SOME PARTS OF GUMASA BEACH ARE A BIT PEBBLY|
Gumasa Beach stretches out for about a kilometer. And apparently, the only way to access it for tourists is through the resorts fronting it. Currently, there’s a total of four resorts along Gumasa; White Haven, which was currently closed during our visit, Rosal Beach Resort, Coco Beach Resort and Sarangani Coves.
The most accessible of these are Rosal and Coco Beach. Sarangani Coves being 4 kilometers away from the highway branching off to Gumasa Beach, was no longer an option for us since public transportation is a bit lacking in these parts of Sarangani.
So we chanced our way through those two, which was side by side with each other.
|THE TWO OF THE MOST FAMOUS RESORTS AT GUMASA|
We first went to Coco Beach. We were told that the entrance fee to the beach was set at PHP50.00 per head. Even though Gumasa Beach is public property, that’s not too bad, right? Wrong. As we were about to shell out a hundred pesos to enter, we were told we cannot just pay for the entrance fee, we also need to rent out cottage for PHP450.00. What the eff?! Why would we need a cottage when we’re only gonna be staying there for a few hours on our beach mat?
Grudgingly, we coughed up the money, again, using the reasoning that we’re already here anyways. As we were about to hand it over, we were told that we again can’t enter since there were no available cottages. If we wanted, we can rent a day room or wait for a couple of hours until a cottage is free.
How many degrees our blood boiled, I cannot even begin to measure.
|SUNDAY CROWD AT GUMASA BEACH|
We headed over to the next door resort, Rosal, and practically got the same answer, but at a higher price.
When did ever a beach been subject to entrance fees? As far as I know, nobody can own a beach, it is part of the public domain! I can tolerate a few pesos for the general upkeep of the place, but this is simply highway robbery. We were left with no choice but to abandon our plan of visiting Gumasa Beach and with heavy hearts, turned back to the highway and started walking back to our resort in Sellona Beach.
|THE FREE ENTRANCE TO GUMASA BEACH|
|KIDS PLAYING ALONG THE WATERS OF GUMASA|
Hailing a tricycle on our way back, we asked the driver if he knows how we can enter Gumasa Beach without paying those exorbitant entrance fees imposed by those two resorts. His face lighted up and we’d knew then that there might still be a chance we could see this so-called Boracay of Mindanao. After a few roars of his engine, he dropped us right by the northern end of Gumasa Beach, about 300 meters from White Haven Beach Resort’s gates [GPS MAP COORDINATES: 5.792322, 125.186099].
From there, we saw a path leading down to the shore, took off our slippers, let our feet sink into its fine white sand, walked for a few meters for a good spot, unrolled beach our mat, opened two bottles of beer and finally, waalaah! Gumasa Beach. Free of charge. The way it really should be.
Address: Brgy. Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani
Entrance Fee: PHP50.00 upwards from the resorts
Free if from the highway (see coordinates
on my post above)
GPS Coordinates Map: 5.787524, 125.189007