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2016 Glan, Hacienda Don Juan

Text and images by Ronald de Jong
Glan-Sarangani, Mindanao
September 2, 2016


The greatest way to explore the island of Mindanao is by car or motorbike and the best road to drive is the Mother of all Highways in the Philippines, the “Maharlika Highway”. Better known as the Pan-Philippine Highway, (Maharlika means noble) this expressway is an approximately 3520 km network of long roads,  bridges, and ferry services that begins in Laoag City on the Northern island of Luzon, going through the Visayan Islands of Samar, Leyte and further to the city of Zamboanga in Mindanao.

The Davao-General Santos-Koronadal National Highway, is just a short part of this highway, it is connecting the provinces of Davao and Sarangani to South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and other parts of Mindanao.

The road from General Santos City to Glan highlights the beautiful character of Sarangani Province; there are magnificent sceneries and traditional towns where friendly people love to smile and still wave when driving by. With it picturesque villages, beautiful beaches and coastal areas, the whole Bay of Sarangani is without a doubt idyllic. But in the middle of all this, the rustic town of Glan makes one think that time has stood still, this town offers a welcome escape from the noisy tourist crowds that visit the popular beaches and luxury resorts at the West side of the Bay.

Glan, a small town in the province of Sarangani, just an hour away from General Santos City, is full of historical sites and has a rich cultural heritage that makes it one of the most fascinating places in the region. Glan is a melting pot of Maguindanaoan, Tausug, Blaan and Tboli the name of this picturesque town its name is believed to have originated from the Maguindanaoan word “Magalang” which means sharp, referring to the weapons that were used in hunting. 

The typical characteristics of the old town emerge when walking through the streets, there are rows of colonial houses featuring high balconies, canopies and capiz shell windows.  Most of these ancestral haciendas which were built in the 1920’s, resisted time and the tropical climate.

 The town proper and plazas are lined up with trees that were planted more than a century ago and are providing a glimpse of Glan’s vibrant past. One of the most impressive sites is the Hacienda Don Juan; a vintage inspired beach resort where history, culture and nature blend flawlessly.  This tropical getaway is only a 15 minutes away from Glan proper and used to be a farm ranch with an ancestral house that was built in the early 1930’s. The building has a Spanish design with 8 verandas that are overlooking the hacienda and the ocean. The nostalgic interior is decorated with wooden furniture, sophisticated architectures, paintings, old musical instruments, antiquities and several artworks.
Guests can stay overnight in the white house of Don Juan, a small ocean front villa or in the Cabana, an octagonal designed house that is panelled with tinted glass located right in the heart of the resort. The clear, blue waters in front of the resort are perfect for a swim and water sport fanatics can also indulge in activities like snorkeling, swimming and banana boating or just merely lying down in the sand. 

But one of the best ways to savour the natural beauty of the beach is on foot, so beach bummers can enjoy a stroll on the white sand just enjoying watching the beautiful view of the sunset in the late afternoon, the tranquillity of the area, the cool sea breeze, the sound of the waves and the coconut trees as they sway in the wind. Glan and the Hacienda Don Juan are certainly places to come back to!

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