“Take me to Cape San Agustin”. I remembered saying this on the first night that I got to Governor Generoso. Among the things I knew about this quaint town long before this travel, Cape San Agustin was the one that was stuck well on my head. Even before I started traveling, I already knew that it landed on Davao Oriental’s list of must-visit tourist destinations. So even back then, I’ve already dreamt of setting foot there thus this quest of seeing it up close and personal has been made.
Cape San Agustin is the southernmost part of the Governor Generoso where the furthest point juts into the vast Celebes Sea on one side and Davao Gulf on the other. It is in this part of the town that some of the finest secret beaches of Davao Oriental are best kept. More than the beaches, Cape San Agustin is also historical landmark tracing back centuries when Spaniards came to the Philippines. Thus, going there on my final day at Governor Generoso was beyond excitement. It was a dream journey.
The gloomy weather on that Sunday morning didn’t stop me and two guides, Clinton and Ralston to travel to the far-flung Cape San Agustin. Being the southernmost part of Govgen, going there from the town proper requires a long patience. The travel is about one and half hours and the most common mode of transportation is habal habal. Thus, I prepared myself for a butt-numbing trip to Cape San Agustin on that day.
Cape San Agustin is situated at Barangay Lavigan, the southernmost barangay of Govgen. To get there, we have to pass by 11 other south district barangays from Poblacion passing through some destinations we’ve already visited on the first day. On our way, I was still at awe seeing again the scenic coastal road of Chicote, the breathtaking view of the Sigaboy Island and the Davao Gulf from the Montserrat View Deck, the coasts of Tambam and the gigantic Centennial Tree of Magdug. Moving on, we also passed by Barangays Luzon, Tiblawan, Nangan and Surop. The coastal views of these places including the vast mangroves therein were also captivating.
Our first pit stop prior to Cape San Agustin was Barangay Tagabebe. This is the part of Govgen where the world class diving site called The Wall is situated. The Wall is easily reached from Tulob Beach, a pristine white sand beach lying on the tranquil waters of Davao Gulf. Tulob Beach has two long stretch of white sand beach. Each has different quality but both offer a quaint untouched beach experience. There are no cottages, no rest houses – virgin white beach as I call it. It is privately owned by a local of Tagabebe but opened for local beach goers.
From Tulob Beach, we headed forward to Barangay Pundaguitan and went to Babak Beach. Like Tulob Beach, Babak Beach offers another long stretch of white sand beach kissed by the azure waters of Davao Gulf. But unlike Tulob Beach, it has cottages where beach goers can stay. What I like about Babak Beach is its accessibility from the highway and its cool Tropical feel as the whole place is filled with coconut trees.
Pundaguitan is the last barangay next to Lavigan. From here our journey to Cape San Agustin started. From Lavigan proper, going to Cape San Agustin is about 15 minutes. The road going there this time becomes more rugged and rocky. Winds were becoming stronger and the raging sounds of the waves from the open seas were getting louder – indications that we were almost there. After almost two hours of butt-numbing motorcycle ride, finally, we reached Cape San Agustin.
Filled with much excitement, I immediately ran to place where the three Lighthouses locally called Parola are located. I used to see them in brochures and finally they were now in front of me. The three paralos were built at the furthest part of Cape San Agustin. It is overlooking the vast Celebes Sea and the serene Davao Gulf. Among the three Parolas, the oldest one that was built in 1938 looks totally unusual. Unlike the two, it has an exterior spiral staircase leading to the top. Thus, can come up and see the breathtaking view of two bodies of water. Just like my tour guides, I braved my fear of heights just to experience the thrill of what was in store for me up there. Indeed, the view is so spectacular!
When done with the Parolas, my guides brought me to a sea cliff just within the vicinity of the Lighthouses overlooking the point they locally called The Islet. A sea rock with vegetation on top, the Islet is the furthest point of the Cape San Agustin. This is also said to be the southeasterly most point of the Philippines. Viewing it from the sea cliff was an amazing experience as the raging waves of Celebes Sea splashed wildly on its helpless base. What a wonderful seascape, I muttered!
Another interesting spot at this part of Cape San Agustin is the spot where one can clearly see the meeting of the two bodies of water – the vast Celebes Sea and the serene Davao Gulf. While Davao Gulf lies so still, Celebes Sea was raging! Again, the view was intensely captivating.
From the Parolas, we moved down to the other side of Cape San Agustin this time to see a beach that really took my breath away. They called this beach as simply as the Parola Beach. Its shoreline stretches from one edge to another. On the right is the area where Parolas are built and opposite is an amazing group of rock formation. It faces the open waters of the great Celebes Sea thus those ravaging waves.
Among the fascinating things about Parola Beach, what really mesmerized me were the pristine sands of the entire stretch of the beach. It is a Pink Sand Beach. The color of the sand appears to be pinkish than being white. This a coloration effect caused by the abundance of red organ pipe coral sediments mixed with the white sand. I was drowned to so much admiration knowing in this part of my home province of Davao Oriental lies one special paradise dotting with a pink sand beach. Realizing that I am stepping at a pink sand beach, I suddenly remembered my trip to Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga City, known to be the only Pink Sand Beach in the Philippines. I traveled so far just to set foot on that pink sand beach. Had I known I can find one in this part of Govgen, about 3 hours away from Davao City, I wouldn’t have gone far.
The farthest side of Parola Beach is dotted with sea rocks and different rock formations shaped by the hands of time and the waves of Celebes Sea. Among those sea rocks and rock formations, one extraordinary Rock Formation witnessed the foundation of Christianity in the Province. They called this place The Altar. It is believed to be the place where Spanish Missionary priest St. Francis Xavier supposed to have said his first mass when he arrived in the Philippines in 1550.
Getting there personally and beholding such scene was a dreamlike experience. I never thought I could step on this exact place where Christianity in this part of my home province was shaped. Just the thought of it until now makes me shiver. Being there, I felt I was like swayed back in time. Surreal experience, I told myself.
Right in front of The Altar is sea rocks and seascapes that could make one still and be captivated by its matchless exquisiteness. As I stood at one rock, I gazed around savoring every minute that I was there. The tranquility of the whole place was deeply infectious that in my very heart I can feel so much peace. The waves were ravaging but its sounds were like gentle music to my ears. “I can live here forever”, I sincerely whispered!
Contended with everything that I romanced there, we left the Altar and headed back to Parola Beach. Later, my two equally energetic guides, Clinton and Ralston, prepared our lunch the backpacker’s way. We shared that scrumptious lunch full of excitement. For two days that we’ve been together, I felt like they’re my long lost friends.
It was still drizzling when we decided to head back to the town proper. As we left Cape san Agustin, I felt so overjoyed. Another dream destination in my bucket list was realized. Most of all, it was not just an ordinary destination. It is a spot that shaped what Govgen is today and my home province of Davao Oriental as a whole. And so having gone there, I concluded, Cape San Agustin is not just a usual tourist spot but a significant destination that every Filipino must discover and explore.
As I end this article about my awesome journey to Governor Generoso, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincerest gratitude to all the people who made this trip possible. First to the Provincial Tourism Officer of Davao Oriental Mr. Miguel Trocio for introducing me to the LGU of Govgen, to the father of Govgen Mayor Vicente D. Orencia, to the Municipal Administrator/Municipal Tourism Officer Ms. Quin Mae Flores, to the Asst. Tourism Officer Mr. Joey Gamao and to my two dynamic tour guides Clinton Polancos and Ralston Jayee Gabayan who both are Tourism Staffs of Govgen – please accept my deepest thanks for giving me an amusing experience at Governor Generoso that until to this time of writing I still feel so elated. From the Travel Teller, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
HOW TO GET TO GOVERNOR GENEROSO:
From Davao City, one may take either public utility buses or L300 vans to reach Governor Generoso. Public utility buses coming from Ecoland Terminal in Davao City travel to the town of Governor Generoso daily at one hour interval from 3:00 o’clock in the morning up to 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Travel time with these buses takes less than four hours. On the other hand, L300 Vans with terminal at Gaisano Mall and Victoria Plaza Mall, both in Bajada, Davao City takes only two and half hours.
Municipal Tourism Office – Telefax No. (082) 440-354
Mr. Joey Gamao – 0935.920.2165
Mr. Clinton Polancos – 0905.121.2915
Mr. Ralston Jayee Gabayan – 0939.543.0468