Soak Up the Sun at Tuka Marine Park
It was just a random weekend when my friends and I went to western Sarangani for some relaxation. Out of random places, we went to Tuka Marine Park in the town of Kiamba, an hour and a half drive and 15 minute boat ride from General Santos City. Relatively an unknown to most outsiders of Soccsksargen, this is Sarangani’s alternative to the popular white sand beach of Gumasa in the town of Glan. Tuka is also a protected park, hence you’ll get to see its natural beauty, without much of the crowd.
Tuka Marine Park sits beside the town proper of Kiamba. It has four white sand beaches hidden in its coves. Covered by a rising hill, the beaches are secluded from the rest of Mindanao, and getting there is like going to Anangawin in Zambales—either by a 15-minute boat ride (which is the easiest) or an hour and a half trek via the forests.
While there are four beaches in Tuka Marine Park, Beach Three is the main destination for sun-worshipers, snorkelers, travelers and tourists alike. There are cottages available for day-time picnic at the beach that the family and barkada would rent.
However, if you want to stay in here for the night, the old beach house of world boxing champion and currently the congressman of the province, Manny Pacquiao, is available for guests. For P800 to P1200, you can have a room that can accommodate four to 10 persons. Generator charge and water however will be provided by the visitors.
And while the old beach house of the “People’s Champ” is now for rent, another bigger beach house is being constructed at the eastern end of the beach, complete with satellite TV!
Tuka is also ideal for scuba diving or snorkeling since it is fringed with coral reefs.
Tuka Beach has a star, the big brown resident hornbill or kalaw. The feathery friend is used to people, and has the intention of staying at the cottages, waiting for food and scavenging for—souvenirs to bring to his condominium nest high above Tuka’s hill. Yes, he may be entertaining, but just secure your belongings, especially things that are shiny or blings.
And if Tuka Beach Three seems to be crowded to you, just ask a boat operator to take you to more secluded beaches at the park for a fee. Beach four seems to have only a few to no people frolicking around–Ideal for some “The Beach” or “Survivor” mode.
So, if you like to go away from the weekend crowd at nearby Sarangani Bay beaches or Gumasa in Glan, then bask under sun, sand, sea and coconuts at Tuka Marine Park.
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There are several shuttle vans near Bulaong Terminal or KCC Mall in General Santos City that leaves as early as 5AM to as late as 7PM for Kiamba. (Kiamba to Gensan shuttle vans leave earlier). Fare is more or less PhP100.00 (US$50+/-).
From there, go to Kiamba Tourism Office at Dolores Park (Seaside Park near the town’s plaza) and pay for your boat fee or rental. As far as we remember, we paid more or less PhP250 which includes boat and cottage. Pay additional P100 if you like to borrow snorkeling gears. For rental of a room in Pacman’s Beach House, you may also have to pay here.
After paying, you’ll have a 15-minute boat ride from Kiamba town proper’s shore. Waves are usually calmer during mornings. Also, you will have to arrange or ask the boat crew on what time to pick you up.
The tourism office of Kiamba is located here:
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