The timeless memories at Tuka Marine Park made me realize that no matter where we go, there will always be one place that remain to be the most beautiful and that is— home. Tuka Marine Park nestled in the coastal area of Kiamba, Sarangani Province where I have grown and spent almost half of my life. Sarangani Province is in Southern Philippines wherein General Santos City Airport is the nearest way to reach it.
This is just a piece of a story of how it is to be home in a beautiful beach that I’d been to.
For now, I’ll let you borrow this experience and make it as your story.
It is not an ordinary beach; it is one of the most beautiful places you’d ever been to. Its pristine white sand and its clear water with shades of blue and green are only few of its qualities that it make stand out from others.
It both lingers now in your imagination and memory the wondrous adventures that had passed. Walking, unwinding and relaxing on the warm seaside while you enjoy the gentle breeze. With the rhythm of the waves rolling in and out with their soothing sound, you cannot resist the inviting waters.
You walked slowly testing how deep it is. The uneven depth of the water made you feel uneasy but your friends handed you some gears for snorkeling. Everything is first time to you and you thought you cannot do it. But with few tries and you’re comfortable with the gears.
Everybody is having fun under the water while you are staying still on the shallow waters. But no one should be left behind even it means they will take turn to hold you so you won’t drown. That’s the perk of being in a group and you’re the only one who doesn’t know how to swim.
It seems a great ecosystem is waiting beneath the water. With the goggles and snorkeling gears on, you went down to the waters and see the great creation under; beautiful panorama of rich and diverse coral reefs, school of fish of different colors and sizes swimming freely, seaweeds dancing and swaying with the current of the water.
The stony corals that seem too sturdy yet they have life. And you have seen more creatures that you cannot even name. Some even look scary and you don’t know their characteristic if they can harm humans but it is their world that we have to respect. But overall, you have explored a wondrous marine habitat.
Staying in the water is a bit exhausting especially if you are not used yet of breathing thru the gears. You decided to sit on the shore with the warm sand under the blue sky with clouds that appeared tender and washed. Your friends came and you started to gather around over a drink, started to share stories, reminisce the mishaps of previous adventures and the place was filled with laughter.
Before the sun set for that wonderful day, the last trip of a boat carrying some passenger has left the place. And the only ones left are your friends and you. You feel like you own now that place.
Few of your friends plunge again in the sea, snorkeled, and enjoyed sitting on the floating cottage.
The ones who love photography have found their spot to capture a sky and water tinted with orange as the sun will set soon at the horizon in the west.
Some went to continue for a walk on the shore leaving footprints only.
Some had their skin painted and tattooed with magnifique designs of black henna while waiting for others to achieve their agendas for that day.
One rested over a hammock he tied in between two coconut trees.
Some continued over few chats and giggles.
The dreamer goes on dreaming, thinking of ways to achieve those dreams.
Others went to purchase and haggled prices of uniquely crafted souvenirs made from shells, stones and coconut shells.
And when everybody is done and contented for the day, a dinner is prepared for everybody. The task was shared from buying veggies from the market; cleaned, peeled and chopped; seasoned by another who volunteered to cook claiming it’s his expertise while others have gone to make a fire out of firewoods; and a sumptuous Ilocano vegetable dish was served with rice. (Filipinos are known not satisfied if a meal is served without rice.)
As night comes, the evening star hid from the sky followed by fine rain spreading. And still, nobody wants to go to sleep. What’s good to be in a group is that different personalities are being gathered and there will always be that one person who will stand out and make everybody laugh and lively thru simple things and jokes, that even an introvert couldn’t resist.
It was time to part for a good night sleep. Some retired inside a tent, few to the cottages around, others in a fan room, and the rest laid down in anywhere they felt comfortable.
You rested well as you felt safe in a haven of nature. You are surrounded on one side with water and on the other side is a jungle.
And that is your story. Do you think it’s only a dream?
It is not. It can happen and you can still experience it at Tuka Marine Park.
It is a real life experience. These fun-filled and memory packed experiences will surely give us smiles whenever we are in a distance longing for home.
And always remember, either you are departing or you are arriving, put it in your heart that there is always one who remembers you, and it is home.
Visiting this place or staying for a night is like claiming that you have rented an expensive island though Tuka Marine Park isn’t an island.
Tuka Marine Park nestled in a coastal area of Kiamba. It is a protected marine sanctuary with four coves. Most area of the underwater still remain mysterious, however, few licensed and marine divers continue to explore to contribute on ways on how to boost the protection of the sanctuary.
Of the four coves, they opened one cove for visitors who want to see a piece of this paradise. It can be reached thru a boat ride for around 20 minutes. Swimming, snorkeling and kayaking are only few of the activities that can be done there.
Tourism may be the main reason why the Municipality of Kiamba has opened this place to visitors but comes with it is for awareness of the marine life with the hopes that every person who leave their footprints at Tuka Marine Park can contribute for its protection and conservation. If you are a person who can contribute to these, then Tuka Marine Park is waiting for you. And believe me; it will surprise you with its grandiose beauty and a one big time experience to be with nature.
By the way, if you are a fan of People’s Champ, Manny Pacquiao this resort is also very important to him. Who knows, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to meet him here the next time you come to visit.
Photo Credits: Marlon Martinez
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