I’ve found paradise!
Nestled atop a precipice overlooking Sarangani Bay in Maasim, Sarangani Province, is an alluring place called Lemlunay, which, in the B’laan and T’Boli tongues, roughly means “the good place one goes to in the afterlife”. The Lemlunay Dive Resort is a countryside getaway that will take your breath away, with its rustic ambience, relaxing surroundings, lovingly-prepared cuisine, personalized service… all encompassed by an expansive sea of unspoilt blue.
It is a paradise for nature lovers, but most especially for scuba-diving enthusiasts. The resort itself is still being developed — with only a few guest rooms available at the moment — but the diving facilities they have in place are at par with the ones I’ve seen in high-end resorts. I’m not really a scuba diver, but after an exhilarating intro dive I did there (with Chattee, Leonard et al), I just might become one soon!
A short distance from the cliff’s side, the bottom of the sea drops dramatically to about 30 feet, then a coral wall presents itself with marine life all a-bustle. The variegated colors on the fish and on the coral is a delight against the backdrop of soft-hued sand and dark-toned rock that dot the seascape. I wanted so much to go deeper and check out the coral wall, but I couldn’t because I’m not yet certified. It was too bad none of us thought of bringing an underwater camera. I’ve actually gone diving twice before already, but before the dive at Lemlunay, I had never seen so many kinds of tropical fish in their natural habitat.
Our group of intrepid bloggers (6 from Davao and 2 from GenSan) were hosted by Sarangani Vice-Governor Steve Solon and his wife Michelle to a sumptuous lunch at Lemlunay, whose amiable queen of the kitchen served each a delectable plate of roasted chicken and grilled gindara peppered with heavenly golden garlic. Oh and there was also steamed pompano (also called dolphin fish and mahi-mahi), served in a rich brown sauce with olives and garnished with tomatoes and spices.
The owner of Lemlunay Dive Resort, Paul Partridge, who is also the head dive instructor, gave us a very colorful interview. He told us about how he built the resort in 2005, and his plans for expansion, which will become reality starting this year. He plans to add more cottages, a recreation room, meeting facilities, and a swimming pool. There is also a separate area that will be completed soon, and this will be for day-trippers. For people who want to get away from the city and learn scuba, Lemlunay could be the perfect destination: learn how to dive from the classroom to the pool to the open sea, all in one place. And be pampered with good food while you’re at it!
The diving operation is a separate entity, and is known as South Point Divers. Judging by the way the dive master and the staff handled our group — and to think they had other guests who were also going to dive — I am confident that they will be able to satisfy any seasoned scuba diver’s needs and whims. And I shouldn’t fail to mention, the more exciting dive spots are reportedly full of marine wonders. Michelle (who is a blogger herself) was telling us that there live a growing school of a rare species of wrasse in the waters of Sarangani Bay, which has in fact been declared a marine sanctuary. Head on over to South Point Divers’ online photo gallery to view spectacular underwater shots.
I’d like to thank Michelle and Vice-Governor Steve for giving us a grand time at Lemlunay, the paradise of Sarangani Bay. And to Paul and Joel, the dive master, for making it possible for us to have a wonderful time underwater! Most especially, in behalf of the bloggers of Davao, General Santos City’s lead blogger, Avel Manansala, deserves our gratitude and admiration for organizing that elating weekend in General Santos and Sarangani Province.
For your GPS locators, here are Lemlunay Dive Resort’s coordinates: 5° 52′ 24.00″ N, 125° 05′ 13.00″ E. From General Santos, Maasim is about half an hour’s drive. You can contact the resort via mobile phone: +63(920)914-9259.