Monday, November 15, 2010

Isla Jardin del Mar: A Gem in Pacmanland

Gumasa Beach has been dubbed "Boracay of Mindanao". I beg to disagree. It has its own charm, its own beauty, its own identity. Let's say, those who have been to El Nido or Amanpulo would probably say this place will pale in comparison to those world-class resorts. Nevertheless, Gumasa is still the pride of Glan, of Sarangani and of Mindanao. Come visit this place one day and experience a soothing and relaxing ambiance away from the rustle and bustle of daily life.

We left at the crack of dawn, Saturday, July 31, 2010.

It was the perfect day for that trip after several attempts of going to Gumasa. From Tagum City in Davao del Norte we headed south, passing through Davao City, a portion of Davao del Sur and on to Sarangani Province.

Finally, we reached General Santos City after 2 hours from Davao City (and an hour from Tagum to Davao). Where to? Upon reaching this fork in the road, turn left to Alabel. Turning right will lead you to Gensan.

Alabel is just around 9 kms. from Gensan. It is the capital city of Sarangani Province. And Sarangani is...Pacquiao county where Manny Pacquiao, the “Pambansang Kamao”, is a Congressman. (Click the highlighted word for more info on Alabel.)

The majestic Capitol Building of Sarangani Province as seen from the National Highway

The tall Indian trees shield the Capitol Building like sentinels.
But Gumasa is not in Alabel. It is in another town.
We're almost there. See the sign that says welcome to Glan, the beach capital of Mindanao. For more info on Glan, click the highlighted name.

One can see the sea from the road...
View of Sarangani Bay
Here we are! Turn right to Isla Jardin del Mar Resort. It is an affiliate of Sydney Hotel and Isla Parilla Resort in General Santos City owned by Mr. and Mrs. Marfin Tan.
Going there on a kilometer-long stretch can be treacherous so one has to be careful in driving. Part of the way is paved though.
The resort's rates, posted at the guardhouse, are quite affordable.
The resort is just part of a 34-hectare property. According to its auditor/trainer who was there at the time of our visit, what we've seen was just one-fourth of the property. Plans for expansion and upgrading of facilities are well under way.
Isla Jardin del Mar...literally means, “Island Garden of the Sea” in Spanish. 

There are plans to expand this dining hall into a much-bigger place.
Open cottages for day tourists/beach goers.
Lifeguard post and banca.
The road going to the airconditioned cottages, mountain trails and campsite areas.
The lagoon on the right side of the road going to the cottages
One of the airconditioned cottages
There's a sign that says to rinse (one's feet/slippers) before entering the shower room to
avoid clogging. There's a jar of water and a coconut shell "tabo" for doing this.
The doors leading to the room on the left and the bathroom on the right.
The doors leading to the bedroom (left) and the small bathroom (right). View is from the terrace/living area.

The cottages can accommodate 6 adults. It's airconditioned so it's comfortable.

In the absence of amenities, riding the all-terrain vehicle and playing volleyball were the favorite activities. Swimming in the crystal clear waters is, of course, a winner.
One of the most relaxing things to do on the resort: Looking out into the breathtaking blue sea.

At the end of the day, what matters most in life is we are able to enjoy it with our loved ones even in the simplest way we can. It has been said that the big events are not what mean so much but the moments we spend with each other are what we will remember. The memories we gather from those moments are gems we will always treasure.

Sunset at Gumasa


  1. Nice photos!! Nakaka-miss tuloy ang GenSan & Sarangani...

  2. tess u sure ur not a shareholder? coz early on the piece u sound like one, but towards the end u turned around 180 deg and unleashed ur intimate impressions on gumasa. well done!

  3. Thank you so much for your kind comments, Blogie and Henry! Go visit!

  4. such a lovely place...such a lovely place..better than Hotel California...hehehe...mas maganda pa nga dito kasi malinis at di polluted unlike sa Bora...wish ko lang makapunta din dito in the future...hello Ms.Vicky Morales...hahaha....tenx for sharing this Tess...

    - Toleets B. :-)

  5. hello ate tess!! welcome back!! miss your fb posts. glad you have a blog site now. thank u for promoting my province hehehe. i am proud to be an adopted sarangan, aside from being a true-blooded tagumian. keep posting!!

  6. You are welcome and thank you, too, Toleets and Anne Marie! My pleasure to share the beauty of Mindanao!


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