(Mis)Adventure Time in the South – The Final Leg – Sarangani

After another lovely lunch in General Santos City – lots of fresh tuna kilawin and Ate Gay’s yummy soft cream cheese muffins – and a couple of hours of snoozing, the van we hired to take us to Sarangani Province arrived at around 4pm. And we were off on another road trip!

The drive to Sarangani was just an hour and a half to about two hours, and although I would have liked to doze off during the trip, I found it more interesting to watch the scenery outside the vehicle. There really wasn’t all that much to see, admittedly, just acres of plantations of coconuts and bananas and some rice paddies. But I found everything quite charming in their simplicity – I especially liked the nipa houses with the characteristic walls woven with a diamond pattern. I never really got to ask if there was a term for that pattern – I noticed it on most of the houses. It’s kind of an argyle pattern, but more natural (because of the materials used, I suppose). It was difficult to snap pictures as the van was moving fast (no traffic there at all!). But here and there I managed some – though most were pretty dismal.

I thought this was a rice paddy. But another shot of the same field showed some chickens (meaning the ground was dry).

I thought this was a rice paddy. But another shot of the same field showed some chickens (meaning the ground was dry).

In contrast to the simplicity of the huts in most of the areas we passed, when we reached the municipality of Glan, we saw its municipal building in all its gaudy finery — the entire building was finished with gold. Yes, Glan is a glam municipality, like a building transported straight from imitation Las Vegas strip. I’ll have to remember to ask Dell if he got a photo of the building.

Another place of note we passed: a small market, with their ukay ukay stores right out on the road. The second hand clothes were laid out in disarray on tables and even on the road. I swear I even saw some clothing that looked like they were – um, unwashed. “Wow, you can still see the blood stains!” Dell had exclaimed, to bursts of laughter.

Anyway, as our trip continued, and as we neared the sea, we could see glimpses of the water between the trees in plantations we passed. We even saw mangrove areas – and I began to really be excited. I love the sight of the sea. It reminds me of summer trips when I was a kid, with my cousins and pretty much everyone on my mother’s side of the family – aunts and uncles and second cousins and our grandparents. We would all cheer when we caught sight of the sea from our jeepney. I still have that exact feeling when going to the beach as an adult ^_^

Again I was unable to get decent shots. After several minutes of trying (in vain) to get good photos, our van driver stopped the vehicle so we could go out and take pictures to our hearts content! He must’ve grown tired of our cries of frustration. And he picked a great spot, too – the roadside had a great overlooking view of the beach cove. And since it was close to sunset we figured it would be our last chance to get great shots with the light.

Roadside photo op! With our Manong van driver (the guy in the back, in the black t-shirt. That other guy, with his back turned, is Dell, still taking photos of the scenery).

Roadside photo op! With our Manong van driver (the guy in the back, in the black t-shirt. That other guy, with his back turned, is Dell, still taking photos of the scenery).

The roadside stop - the direction we came from.

The roadside stop – the direction we came from.

A great view overlooking the cove.

A great view overlooking the cove.

roadside sunset

Light faded fast, but the photos took on a golden hue because of it ^_^

The sun sets over the ocean in Sarangani.

The sun sets over the ocean in Sarangani.

The last of the golden light as it plays over the ocean waves.

The last of the golden light as it plays over the ocean waves.

After our not-so-brief photo session on the roadside, it was back to the van and we went on our way. Since it was close to sunset we knew we would be enjoying a night time swim, and we would have to wait til the next morning to get the full view of the beach’s beauty. But that was ok – at least we wouldn’t get sunburned.

To our delight we still caught the sunset when we arrived at White Haven Resort in Glan, Sarangani. And best of all – very few people. I honestly don’t understand how people can enjoy a beach full of other people and their screaming kids and piles of refuse. There were a bunch of college students from one of the local universities occupying the rooms near ours. They were rowdy and noisy, but not too much.

The beach at twilight.

Sunset at White Haven Resort, Glan, Sarangani

Sunset at White Haven Resort, Glan, Sarangani

An orangey yellow and blue sky at dusk.

An orangey yellow and blue sky at dusk.

So glad we were able to make it to the beach at sunset! n_n

So glad we were able to make it to the beach at sunset! n_n

We went swimming not long after. Not technically “swimming” since it was low tide and even though we were pretty far from the shore the water still barely reached above our shoulders. Also, the farther we went into the sea, the more we discovered that the sand was so fine that it started to feel like quicksand — it felt like we were sinking deeper into the sand, almost like it had a suction effect on our feet. So we were pretty careful about going too far away from the shore. It was a pleasant night for a swim, though. The water was not too cold, the waves were gentle and the moon was just past full, so it was relatively bright. We enjoyed ourselves and, being geeks, started talking about different dimensions and timelines. What if the weird quicksand thingy was a tear in the fabric of space-time continuum? What would our alternative timeline selves (a la Fringe) be like? Yes, we pass our time speculating on this stuff. Not only do we speculate but we lay out the possible narrative, with absurd and comical twists and turns.

The next morning, we were up bright and early, and were rewarded with this:

The beach at dawn

The beach at dawn – one end of the cove.

the light behind

The sun rose behind the trees/cliffs, so we had to wait for the light to hit the sand.

The sun wakes up.

The sun wakes up.

The coconut trees near the beach

The coconut trees near the beach

The other end of the cove at sunrise

The other end of the cove at sunrise

The other end of the cove, with the blue sky and sea

The other end of the cove, with the sun already up

Early morning at the beach

Early morning at the beach

A fisherman serenely takes his boat back to shore. Loved the contrast of the boat's yellow with the sea's blue

A fisherman serenely takes his boat back to shore. Loved the contrast of the boat’s yellow with the sea’s blue.

The waves churn the fine white sand.

The waves churn the fine white sand.

A sand dollar, I think. Or remnants of one.

A sand dollar, I think. Or remnants of one.

Corals on the shore

Corals on the shore.

A pretty reddish brown shell.

A pretty reddish brown shell.

Pretty pink shells on the seashore.

Pretty pink shells on the seashore.

Little coral

Little coral.

patrick star

A starfish. Too bad it was already dead ;_;

A coral on the beach. With special participation of Dell's abd Gem's legs.

A coral on the beach. With special participation of Dell’s and Gem’s legs.

Bright red coral.

Bright red coral.

The beach had lots of hermit crabs. Here's one peeking and saying hello.

The beach had lots of hermit crabs. Here’s one peeking and saying hello.

Peloy totally forgot when we wrote his name on the sand (along with a cat smile-y face.)

We wrote this the night before to mark where I had left my eyeglasses before we went swimming.

We wrote this the night before to mark where I had left my eyeglasses before we went swimming.

Fine white sand. It felt like sifted flour, actually.

Fine white sand. It felt like sifted flour, actually.

The sand was so fine that when the tide would churn it, it looked like powdered milk dissolving in the water.

The sand was so fine that when the tide would churn it, it looked like powdered milk dissolving in the water.

The water was so clear we could actually sea little fish fry, especially near the rocks.

The water was so clear we could actually sea little fish fry, especially near the rocks. Can’t see them in the photos, though.

they walk off into the sunrise

Gem and Dell walking the shoreline.

sun and sea

Near the rocks and cliffs at one end of the cove.

Surf's up? Not enough waves for that, actually.

Surf’s up? Not enough waves for that, actually.

Trees on the cliffs over looking the beach

Trees on the cliffs over looking the beach

Roots and vines dangle over the cliff's face.

Roots and vines dangle over the cliff’s face.

green leafy cliff

Green leafy cliff, served with Dell n_n

Rocks near the cliff

Rocks near the cliff

Trees cling onto the cliff.

Trees cling onto the cliff.

After taking all those photos, we were starving! It was time for breakfast. We were able to get fish freshly caught by the fishermen who just returned from a night of fishing out at sea.

I forgot what the fish was called. But after it was roasted over charcoal it had firm white meat. Yum.

I forgot what the fish was called. But after it was roasted over charcoal it had firm white meat. Yum.

A closer look at our fish brekkie.

A closer look at our fish brekkie.

We also had more of that yummy tuna kilawin. I think I must’ve eaten my weight in tuna, I swear.

Also part of breakfast - tuna kilawin with barbecued pork.

Also part of breakfast – tuna kilawin with barbecued pork, cucumbers, red onion and green mangoes.

And then the morning was gone, and after another quick dip in the water, we showered and the van arrived to take us back to General Santos City. The visit to the beach was all too short again, but I definitely hope to be back there just to spend a couple of days lazily wading in the water or reading a book by the shore or weave more absurd tales with my friends.

We had a quick stop at a pasalubong center (but I didn’t really buy anything), and we also bought some tasty and hot bibingka (rice cake made from galapong or glutinous rice, cooked in a clay pot), topped with salted egg. This one wasn’t flat, like the ones we find in Manila, but was covered with banana leaves and looked similar to a tamales. The banana leaves were charred, which I love. I’ve always associated the smell of slightly burnt banana leaves with home – I think it smells really nice without being too overpowering.

And then it was back to General Santos City. We made quick purchases of fruits as more pasalubong, and Shan’s dad helped us pack them into boxes for the flight home. Dell and I were boarding a plane back to Manila that same afternoon.

Our flight back to Manila was delayed for about an hour. Here's the view from the waiting area of the Tambler Airport in GenSan.

Our flight back to Manila was delayed for about an hour. Here’s the view from the waiting area of the Tambler Airport in GenSan.

This was the best vacation I’ve had in a long, long time ^_^ I can’t thank Gem’s mom and Ate Gay and their whole family enough for being so accommodating and for feeding us lots of great food! The experience made me wonder if I could give up this city life to live near the sea. I’ve always lived in the city and moving to the province has always been out of the question, but now it doesn’t seem so bad, after all. As long as there is a good internet connection, I think I’d be happy (must be my age!).

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