Sarangani Bay Festival, also called Sarbay Festival, is the annual summertime and the biggest beach festival in the Philippines every last week of May. It is held in the village of Gumasa in the town of Glan, Sarangani. Attracting over a hundred thousand visitors, its schedule lasts for three days. Its organizers include Provincial Tourism council, provincial government, Glan LGU, and regional office of Department of Tourism.
History of Sarangani Bay Festival
Sarangani Bay Festival was launched in 2006 when Miguel Rene Dominguez was the governor. It was conceptualized to push for the environmental advocacy and protection of marine resources in Sarangani Bay. However, the fest was cancelled in 2017 amidst the siege of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur by the Maute Group and Mindanao was under the coverage of martial law. It was also cancelled in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic and revived in 2022.
The festival puts a spotlight on Sarangani Bay. Located in the southern part of the island of Mindanao in the Celebes Sea, it has become a favorite diving spot and it is rich with aquatic resources. It is also famed for its tuna harvest, and the province of Sarangani that was established in 1992 is named after it.
Its natural environment has been important that it is protected by various laws. Firstly, it was declared a protected area through Presidential Decree 756 issued in 1996. The decree established the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS) which included the bay as well as the waters of Maitum, Kiamba and Maasim. Then with the passage of Republic Act No. 11038, also known as Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System Act, it is one of the additional 94 natural parks of the country.
Sarangani Bay Festival Activities
Sarangani Bay Festival activities mostly occur in the village of Gumasa, touted as the Boracay of the South due to its beachfront of white, powdery sand. Among the activities sand sculpture, a beauty pageant called Bay Bodies, foam party, concerts, Sarbay Bancarera (another seawater activity, this event sees a contests of fisher folks who race against each other using their outrigger boats), and Swim Across the Bay (a swimming competition involving teams who must swim from Maasim to Glan, a race of about fifteen kilometers).
On top of beach activities, it also advocates for sports and wellness. Sporting events include volleyball, football, and triathlon. Environmental advocacy also takes center stage such as planting of mangroves and trees. In 2022, activities were mostly focused in environment concerns and to discourage crowd due to the continuing Covid-19 threats. For instance, its kick-off activity was the collection of crown-of-thorn (COT) starfish that infested the marine area and caused havoc on coral reefs. These pest proliferated owing to the decline of population of predators that feed on them and the rise of sea temperature brought about by global warming.
How to reach Sarangani
Buy a ticket to General Santos City Airport. Then take a cab or bus to Bulaong terminal where you can get a ride to Sarangani.
- Sarmiento, Bong S. SarBay fest, Mindanao’s biggest beach party, cancelled due to Covid-19 jitters. MindaNews. March 12, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2022
- Sarbay Fest 2022 kicks off with COT collection activity. Provincial Government of Sarangani. May 25, 2022. Retrieved October 3, 2022
- 100K tourists expected in 2018 Sarangani Bay fest. Philippine News Agency. May 23, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2022
- Beach fest revived as marine biodiversity effort. The Manila Times. June 2, 2022. Retrieved October 3, 2022
- Sun, sand, music and mangroves at the SarBay Festival. Business World. May 20, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2022
- Republic Act No. 11038. Official Gazette. Retrieved October 3, 2022
- Aurelio, Julie M. Expanded Nipas law creates 94 more nat’l parks across PH. Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 7, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2022