Tuka 3 Beach‘s sand has the same off-whitish, beige tint as that of Boracay and even Gumasa in Glan, although bigger and coarser in texture. For city mice like my 3 younger nieces Paula, Bea and Alanna however, this is the least of their worries as they immediately immersed in the shallower part of the shore, away from the corals, and started to build sand castles.

The whole stretch of the coastline of the cove measures about 600 meters and lies nestled at the foot of a mountain heavily covered with thick foliage and coconut trees. At opposite ends are cliffs extending into the sea and separate Tuka 3 from Tuka 2 and 4.

With lunch still being readied, I saw an opportunity to exercise and walked my way to the farthest end of the beach. There below the cliff were large black rocks which much have fallen from the mountain above, making them look like islets from a distance, jutting above the water.

I tried clambering up one of the biggest rocks and from that vantage, I realized how beautiful the whole expanse of Tuka 3 really was. I stayed there for a few more minutes until finally summoned by my nieces for the much-anticipated lunch.

After the healthy meal of grilled pork chops, matang baka (tulay) and kinilaw with my siblings, I noticed that the tide was fast coming in making for more comfortable swimming. I immediately put on my life jacket, goggles and snorkel, part of the swimming gear on loan to us by Kiamba First Lady Daday Falgui’s staff.

In no time at all, I was floating above the water, face down not quite prepared for the marvelous sight of the paradise that would greet my eyes down below.

It was literally a garden of corals before me, corals of all shapes and sizes, of amazingly different colors and hues, moving and swaying in slow motion with the undercurrents, as if performing their own underwater ballet.

Darting in and out of the corals and rocks were fish that one only sees in Walt Disney’s animated movies. There were a few I recognized- couple of clown fish, a dwarf angel fish (I FOUND NEMO!), a school of butterfly fish, a scary-looking puffer fish and I swear, a 3-foot long sea snake which nearly made me panic when it appeared to swim directly towards my direction.

If not for the big waves which have started to materialize and the warning of rains above, I would have stayed longer underwater.

Now it was time to head back home through the same fishing boat which came back for us. Trying to be responsible citizens, we carried back everything we brought into the marine park including our trash.

And why not? That was the least we can do for Tuka Marine Park considering how priceless our fun there was. Preserving her clean, uncluttered and unspoilt condition was our SMALL way of saying THANK YOU.

To get to Tuka Beach, take any of the vans waiting at the ABLOG’S TRANSPORT GROUP TERMINAL along North Osmeรฑa Street in GenSan. A one-way fare to Kiamba will cost you P120 (used to be P90 three weeks ago). Tell the driver to drive you directly to the Kiamba wharf. There, a fishing boat will take you and your companions to Tuka 3. For my group of 10, we paid P1000 (back and forth). ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks to Kiamba First Lady Mrs. Dayday Falgui & the Calis Family.