City doc runs Ilongo-style hospitality resort in Sarangani

Perhaps the dentist is more than a businessman from Manila who sold his properties there which they earned for 40 years and leaving prominent friends all for Coco Beach.  


CITY DOC. Dr. Delfin Besquillo, 77, is a retired dental surgeon from Manila who along with wife Solficia and five children, turned their property in Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani province, into one of the newest and unique tourism destinations in Sarangani, the Coco Beach Resort. Photo courtesy of Cocoy Sexcion/Sarangani Information Office

“I am going to spend my retirement here.” Of course Dr. Besquillo means more than money which he articulated later. He could have chosen happiness this way if he realized earlier. Well, that’s what the voice and the smile of the wise Ilongo old man was saying, that he almost forgot.  


“At first I wanted to call it ‘A beach with Ilongo hospitality’,” he proudly said. Then, he asked, in big laughter, if I know how hospitable the Ilongos are. This Ilongo writer said yes.  

Last December, 3,000 teachers in the province held their Christmas party at Coco Beach. The Besquillos earned only P10,000 for the whole day affair. The resort just billed the accommodation and that is all – P10,000.  

“We want to be an alternative tourism sand and beach destination to cater to tourists alike. For all you know, not all tourists are rich,” said Dr. Besquillo.  


BEACH PARTY. Tourists comb the sands of Coco Beach in Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani province one of the venues of the May 27-29 Sarangani Bay Festival, the “biggest beach party in Mindanao.” Photo courtesy of Cocoy Sexcion/Sarangani Information Office

“That goes with our hospitality. Usually I would ask two or three guests who would spend their gay time here ‘Nag- enjoy kayo?’ (Did you enjoy?)” And then shortly, a ‘thank you’ for their stay. Dr. Besquillo said this three times that summer afternoon, always wearing a smile.  


Owners of the neighboring resorts, Rosal and White Haven, are Solficia’s brothers, Dodong and Dr. Ernie Adarna. 

Rosal and White haven are both “high-end” beaches as Dr. Besquillo describes them which the Besquillos’ Coco Beach would want to complement.  

Rosal opened in 2005 and White Haven in 2004, according to Ronnie Saulda, a caretaker of the Adarnas.   

Coco Beach is an added attraction when Sarangani Province celebrates Sarangani Bay Festival in May as a tribute to the bay, its bounty, from which coastal communities of the province’s six municipalities depend for a living. 

Entrance fee per person to Coco Beach is P30/day and P40/night. Kids five years old and below are free. 

It has a store and very clean restrooms and bath. There are tents for rent but guests can bring their own tents and rent space for P100 overnight. Open cottages cost P500-P200 depending on the size you want. 

Of course Coco beach offers closed/aircon cottages for P2,500 only, good for four persons.   

The Sarangani Bay Festival on May 27-29 would again stage wha
t organizers say is the “biggest beach party in Mindanao” at Gumasa white sands. 

With sports such as beach volleyball and football, kayaking, skim boarding, jet skiing, bancarera, the 11-kilometer swim-across-the-bay race, and a historical reenactment of the history of the bay in the opening day, Sarangani Bay Festival, now on its fourth year, doubles the number of guests every time, according to the provincial tourism office.  

Sarangani Bay has a rich natural sea bounty and history. Many legends as to how it got its name mystified both voyagers and tourists. It is a constant passage of the trading relationship between the Northern Islands of Indonesia (Sangihe Islands) and the southernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago for over 500 years.  


COCO BEACH. Dr. Delfin Besquillo finds solace at Gumasa white sands by sharing his Coco Beach Resort  in Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani province for the community to cherish and for tourists to experience. Photo courtesy of Cocoy Sexcion/Sarangani Information Office

Dr. Besquillo, a practicing dentist for 47 years in Manila where he and Solficia earned their properties, has not learned this much yet. He just said: “We only heard and see on the internet that tourists are overflowing and the political leadership is supportive of tourism in Sarangani.”  


Yet, the couple has decided to give up everything about the urban at their life’s dusk, including their profession. Their sons, computer engineer Delfin Jr. and Dennis, a commerce graduate, attend tourism seminars everywhere. Dr. Besquillo said their children are much more willing to manage the beach any time soon.  

For once, Dr. Besquillo could share one more knowledge of life’s profession to his children: the virtue of hospitality, with Coco Beach as the school. (Russtum G. Pelima/Sarangani Information Office)