ALABEL, Sarangani -- The Sarangani Bay Festival is set to stage a comeback after a pandemic hiatus. The festival will take place from May 25 to 27, 2023, in Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani Province.
This year's festival, themed "Return to Paradise," will feature a variety of activities that promote environmental awareness and conservation efforts for Sarangani Bay.
Dubbed Mindanao's biggest beach festival, the Sarangani Bay Festival is set to attract more than 100,000 tourists and guests from all over the country. Organizers are gearing up for a massive turnout as excitement builds for this highly anticipated event.
"This celebration is one of the biggest festivals in the country. I look forward to its continued growth and improvement every year with the help of our media partners to spread the good news and promote the natural treasures of our province," said Sarangani Governor Rogelio D. Pacquiao during a press conference Wednesday, May 17.
The Sarangani Bay Festival offers a wide range of exciting events and activities for visitors to participate in or enjoy as spectators.
Highlights include the Crown of Thorns Collection, Scubasurero, and the I Love Clean SarBay segment. Sports enthusiasts can participate in different sports activities, such as the SarBay Invitational Jetski Race and a beach volleyball tournament. The SarBay Color Run for a Cause is also a popular event. At night, Sarbay will host beach parties featuring national and local performers, keeping the festivities going.
Sarangani Provincial Police Office Director PCol. Nicomedes Olaivar, the Incident Commander for the Sarangani Bay Festival, has assured the public that security forces are fully prepared and ready to ensure the safety of all attendees. According to him, festival-goers can enjoy the event with peace of mind, knowing that their safety is a top priority.
As the first in-person Sarangani Bay Festival since the pandemic, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Arvin Alejandro reminds attendees to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With Sarangani still under Alert Level 2 status, Dr. Alejandro encourages festival-goers to practice good hygiene, including cough etiquette and hand washing, and to voluntarily wear masks to protect themselves and others.
In addition to the festivities, the Sarangani Bay Festival will also feature an immunization drive for those who wish to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, as well as an information and testing booth for HIV/AIDS.
Sarangani Provincial Tourism Officer April Marjorie Rudes has encouraged festival-goers to not only participate in the party and sports activities but also to take part in environmental-related events.
To keep the festival area clean, the Municipality of Glan will be collecting an environmental fee of P30 and a tourism ecological fee of P20.
The environmental fee is mandated by Special Ordinance No. 20-016 series of 2015, which aims to provide a comprehensive approach to environmental management, development, protection, and remediation during the Sarangani Bay Festival.
The tourism ecological fee is based on Municipal Ordinance No. 22-018 series of 2022, also known as the “Tourism Ecological Fee Ordinance.” This fee is imposed on non-resident tourists, visitors, and mountaineers who stay at any accommodation establishment within Glan.
The collection fees will be used to support sustainable programs for tourism, environmental protection, conservation and management, peace and order, and livelihood development.
The Sarangani Bay Festival, also known as the Sarbay Festival, was launched in 2006. Conceived by former Governor Miguel Rene A. Dominguez, the festival was created to promote environmental advocacy and protect the marine resources of Sarangani Bay.
Starting as a small, local event, the festival has grown over the years to showcase the province's rich cultural heritage and raise awareness about environmental issues. (Genory Vanz Alfasain/Voice of the Youth Network)