Tuka Marine Park

Tuka Marine Park is a cove teeming with diverse marine life. It’s a marine sanctuary that is strictly regulated by the local government of Kiamba in Sarangani province, in southern Mindanao. It’s one the treasures of the 12th Paradise. 12th stands for Region 12 or SOCCSKSARGEN or simply SOX.

From our hometown, Tboli, we traveled 3 hours by land to get to Kiamba. We went by private car. If you’re traveling via public transport, here’s a quick guide .

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Lunch on a public beach by the road some 14 Km. away from Kiamba town proper.
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Chit-chatting with the Tourism officer while we were completing our registration.

How much is an overnight stay at the cove
Registration Fee: P75 /person (overnight), P50 /person (day trip)
Boat ride fee: P100 (adult) , P50 (children 12 y.o. and below)
Fan room (6-8 people): P1500 (There are other rooms available)
☆Payment for the above 3 must be settled at the tourism office. Rental of kayak, life vest and snorkel gear is optional. You can rent these at the cove.
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Snorkel gear rental: P100/day (We rented when we got to the cove, it’s cheaper)
Life vest rental: P50/day
Kayak: P300 for 2 hours
Food: It depends on how much you are willing to spend. In this part of the world, you can buy everything at a very reasonable price.
There’s a market just a few blocks away from the tourism office where we bought fresh fish, vegetables, ice, soft drinks, and other needs. Buy everything you need at the town. There are no food shops or sari-sari stores at the cove.

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Catch of the day, fresh from the sea.

Who to Contact
Kiamba Tourism: (+63) 9189405770
Tuka Marine Park Tourism Office: (+63) 9102805600
The local tourism office has built an extension office that is solely for Tuka Marine Park’s guests. It’s by the sea, right in front of the area where guests take the boat to the cove. It’s very convenient that they have also equipped the office with clean shower rooms, where guests can pay a minimal amount of P20 to get a shower. Why guests would opt to take a shower here? Because there’s no boat dock, it’s water right away. So when you get on or off the boat during high tide, you will surely get wet. So better go and come back in your swimming outfit. That’s part of the adventure!

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It’s quite a long ride from home and we were staying overnight, so kids made  sure that they were armed with their favorite pillows.
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It’s only about 15 minute boat ride. The tide was low when we arrived.
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Glorious lingering sunset

We got to the cove at 3PM. We were able to swim and snorkel for 2 hours before it started to get dark.

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There were only a few people who stayed overnight so we enjoyed a bit of privacy.
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We loved this part of the evening–lounging around the benches under the coco trees, listening to the sound of the waves, and gazing at the sunset while waiting for dinner to be served.
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Early morning swim. We woke up early the next day so we could spend longer time in the water.

In the above photo, at the far back is the floating cottage with a slide. That’s the snorkeling spot! You can get there by swimming or taking the kayak or bamboo raft.

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Chillin’ under the coco palms after a whole morning of snorkeling.

Kiara (that girl in yellow shirt), my niece, joined open water swimming competitions when she was in grade school. All these bagets (young guys) with me in this photo could swim like a fish! I couldn’t, so my life depended on the life vest.  As you can see, they were twice as tired as I was.

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I could lie in the sand all afternoon staring at this soothing view.
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My brother playing in the sand with the nieces.

The cleanliness and clarity of the seawater, richness of the reef, and the serenity of the place make Tuka Marine Park truly a sanctuary. Since it’s strictly regulated, there are rules to keep the cove clean and orderly. One of the rules that I like was bringing our trash back with us to the town. Two thumbs up Kiamba Tourism!

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Happy snorkeler!

Oh, the happiness of seeing a school of huge humped parrot fish! There were about 20 or so. It was a first for me to be up close fish that size, and I could hear them chomping on seaweed! It’s an absolute joy to swim in this park–the underwater scene was full of life and color, my heart was filled to the brim!

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Smiling albeit feeling nauseous. And oh, that puppy is Fifi! She went beachin’ with us, too!

Our boat stalled on our way back. We were just right there, quietly floating and swaying to the wave’s rhythm for almost an hour. The kids seemed to love it since it was a new experience for them, but the adults seemed to feel otherwise hehehe!

Kiamba
A lovely sight
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Fishing village

So, this summer, if you’re thinking of a place to visit, why not come here?
Or why not visit SOX?  Here, watch this video so you’ll find out why SOX should be your next destination!

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