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The island of Mindanao is a treasure trove of exotic sights, tasty cuisine, unique cultures and interesting lifestyles. If you’ve already heard of places like Davao, Cagayan De Oro and Zamboanga, well, perhaps it’s time you go see something less-frequented, but, equally interesting and exciting too. For your next beach holiday, try to head to the province of Sarangani and discover another paradise! Here’s a look at its lovely beach haunts.

Gumasa Beach, Glan

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Looking for a great destination for your next Philippine Beach Holidays? Then head to the town of Glan and experience Gumasa Beach! This area has been hailed as the “Boracay of Mindanao” because of its fine powdery white sand. Gumasa actually looks like what Boracay was 25 years ago.

But, while that gem over in Visayas can get really crowded and stressful at times specially during the summer, Gumasa Beach doesn’t teem with hundreds of thousands of tourists, nor is the beach front crowded with bars, hotels, restaurants and other structures. Here, you can literally let your hair down, sit back and relax, or just float aimlessly in the calm waters facing Sarangani Bay.

Tourists will also find a wide array of resorts and accommodations here, from Rosal Beach Resort to A-Montana, Coco Beach, White Haven and more. Yet in the middle or end of May, the atmosphere in the area changes. Really lively and loud, it’s because Gumasa Cove is also the site of the annual Sarangani Bay Festival, where live bands and DJ’s play infectious dance music. Makeshift bars and restaurants fill the place, among others.

For those who’d like to go diving, there’s actually a lovely dive spot located off the coast called the  Kapatan-Lago Dive Spot. It’s just beside an aquaculture farm that breeds Sergeant fish

Maasim

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Maasim is a thriving town of 53,000 plus inhabitants, located two hours from General Santos City. This town is famed for having a different kind of beach experience, one that’s more appropriate for scuba divers.

The most popular dive spot here is Lemlunay Resort, the jump-off point of divers heading to The Abyss, Maasim Reef and Subang Point. The place teems with an assortment of corals and aquatic life. Here, you’ll find juvenile white tip sharks, butterfly fish, marine turtles and more.

Once diving is over, and you’re still looking for more adventures, then go paragliding at the SAFI Ranch, which is on top a hill that gives visitors dramatic, sweeping views of the Celebes Sea.  Riders are attached to a glider which looks like a parachute, and they’re guided by expert riders to their target point way down below the valley.

Besides Maasim and Gumasa, you can also find a number of lovely beach destinations in Kiamba.  Here you’ll find pristine coral formations, white sand beaches, marine sanctuaries, and tasty local treats!

Sarangani Province is definitely more than just the hometown of world-famous boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. Here, you can treat yourself to a lot of exciting activities, from white-water tubing to hiking, mountain biking, and more. The province definitely should be in your list of must-see Philippine Tourist Attractions!

Western Mindanao region may have had its share of bad publicity, due to the pestering conflict there between separatist rebels and the government over the years. But, if you take a really close and more balanced look at this area, you’ll be so surprised to find a lot of areas that show great promise, especially in terms of travel and tourism. Located just a few hours away from Sabah, Malaysia, Tawi Tawi is an island-province blessed with white sand beaches, dive sites, stunning mountain lookouts, prehistoric caves, and more. For the bold and daring, there are a lot of rewards for visiting this gem in the Sulu Sea.

Sangay Siapo Island

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If you want to feel like a castaway for a day in a majestic island, then take a boat ride at the Bongao port and head to Sangay Siapo Island. Once you arrive here, you’ll be mesmerized by the turquoise, blue-green waters that surround this small island. A trip to this far-flung outpost should make a perfect addition to your Philippine Beach Holidays!

According to a local caretaker, the island used to be a popular resort, until the original owners fell into tough financial times. The resort’s main structures have now been abandoned, and remain in disrepair. That’s why if you plan to come here, make sure you bring your own food, as well as your own diving and snorkeling gear, because the waters off the island teem with lovely coral reefs and rich marine life!

You could also ask your guide to buy “Junay”, which is rice steamed in coconut milk with toasted coconut, from the public market. This aromatic rice is wrapped in banana leaves, and goes well with salty dried fish, along with shredded mango in soy sauce and chili. Now isn’t that delicious?!

Sandbar Beach Lepa and Restaurant

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If Sangay Siapo is too far for you at the moment, you can actually swim, snorkel and dine at one of the newest tourist resorts near the capital town of Bongao, and it’s called Sandbar Beach Lepa and Restaurant.

This is located on a very scenic part of the town, where the mountain meets the sea, and visitors can enjoy a hearty meal and go swimming afterwards! The resort has stylish, good-looking villas for overnight stays, and its main restaurant is designed like the “lepa” boat, which is the houseboat of the Badjao tribe.

Other Nice Things To Do In Tawi Tawi

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Apart from swimming, diving and snorkeling, visitors to Tawi Tawi will also  enjoy exploring Bolobok Cave, and paying a visit to the Tawi Tawi Provincial Capitol too. Likewise, they can buy dried fish and other seafood at the market and Old Chinese Pier,  also souvenir items at the Badjao Village. A quick trip to the mangrove forest should also offer a refreshing respite.

And of course a trip to amazing Philippine Tourist Attractions like Tawi Tawi will not be complete, if you don’t experience hiking up Bongao Peak, or Bud Bongao! Locals often go up the cliff to pray for good health and more blessings, as well as enjoy the sweeping views of Bongao Island. Don’t forget to bring bananas for the monkeys living along the hiking trail!