Not a few of the Philippines’ loveliest beaches are found along roads less travelled. Glan, a sleepy municipality in Sarangani Province, happens to have some of them. This little town in Congressman Manny Pacquiao’s turf has gradually carved a name for itself as a tourist hotspot in southern Philippines.
Blessed with verdant mountains and rolling hills, dense rainforests, varied wildlife, and crystal clear waters offering an excellent glimpse of the marine life make Glan a veritable slice of paradise in that part of Mindanao. However, it is those immaculately white-sand beaches that make it worth the trip.
As an incorrigible beachcomber, I’ve long been wanting to go on an escapade in Glan. However, it was only recently that I’ve finally made it to this booming beach turf. After finishing my transactions in nearby GenSan City, I decided to spend the night in the quiet town before heading back for home. I’m so glad I did.
Found on the eastern side of Sarangani Bay, the town is being touted by its drumbeaters as the "Boracay of the South”. Like Bora, Glan also boasts of long stretches of white sand beaches but sans the chaos, commotion and crass commercialism that one of the world’s best beach strips is notorious for.
In recent years, people from all walks of life have been flocking to Glan, especially during weekends and holidays, to bask in the beauty of this alluring coastal town. Its obvious crowd-drawer is of course the popular stretch of immaculate shores found in the quiet village of Gumasa.
Located roughly twenty minutes from the poblacion, Glan’s renowned white strip is caressed by the cool waters of the Celebes Sea. Many of those who’ve been there say that Gumasa is what Boracay’s White Beach was decades ago when the famed island in Panay wasn’t the top tourist destination that it is today.
Gumasa boasts of palm- fringed, immaculate shores dotted with a good number of resorts offering well-appointed accommodations ranging from beach cottages, villas and hotel rooms. For me, the best place to stay when you’re there is Isla Jardin del Mar, which translates to “island garden by the sea” in Spanish.
Isla Jardin has probably everything I’d love to see in a beach resort—swaying palm trees, emerald waters, white shores, clean and comfy accommodations. More importantly, it offers two precious things that I think many resorts in Bora could barely provide their guests—peace and placidity.
Separated from the main beach of Gumasa, Isla Jardin is neatly tucked in a small cove found at the southern part of Glan. The entire resort has a total sprawl of about 34 hectares, half of which have been earmarked for development. The sand there, though white, isn’t as fine as that of the main beach.
Summer is undoubtedly the perfect time for beach bums to go and explore Glan. Every May, its white-sand stretches in Gumasa teem with thousands of visitors who come in throngs to join the annual celebration of Sarangani Bay Festival, arguably one of the biggest summer beach parties in the country.
Now, here’s an enchanting place where you can let time stand still while you live it up to the max: swim in the cool blue waters, sniff the salubrious sea breeze, savor the freshest seafood, stroll the shores sans sandals, shoot breathtaking seascapes, snore to the soothing sounds of waves, and so much more.
Glan, no doubt, has captured my heart, enriched my mind and resuscitated my soul the moment my beach-hungry feet first touched her powdery shores. For me, this idyllic beach town is the proverbial Shangri-la where I can get the best of what the summer season offers—without busting my budget!
Having discovered this seaside enclave, I'll think twice about traveling far and wide just to get a summery dose of sun, sea and sand. After all, Glan has it all. No flights, no flurry, no fuss at that! Yeah, I’m so glad I’ve made it to Glan. I can only wish though that it doesn’t end up like Bora in the years to come. :D