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‘SarBay’ Festival: Southern sound-strip

IN an archipelago of more than 7,000 isles and an infinity of powdery beaches, good music enhances the island vibe and provides entertainment to the stranger on the shore.

Movies and record albums of the olden days have portrayed the inseparability of music and the sea, while the beachfront has become the perfect stage for musical events.Down south, the quaint village of Gumasa in the municipality of Glan has been the picture-perfect backdrop for the “SarBay” (Sarangani Bay) Festival, which has been rocking the sleepy shores of the so-called “Boracay of Mindanao.”

Despite its distance from the established beach haunts, SarBay has held its own and has become the country’s biggest and hippest beach party, with some 150,000 warm bodies basking in the sun, sea and sand since its latest staging in 2016.

Set from May 24 to 26, the SarBay Festival is now on its eleventh edition and will showcase the tourism and cultural gems of Mindanao to show to all and sundry that this is a sizzling “sound-strip” to be in.

(In a show of solidarity with the people of Lanao Del Sur after Martial Law was declared because of the Marawi City siege, the organizers decided to cancel last year’s staging.)

A Commitment of Support was signed by Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon of Sarangani and former Tourism Secretary Corazon Wanda Teo as the Department of Tourism (DOT) as the provincial government forged a manifesto to inculcate the importance of constant awareness to protect and preserve the resources of “SarBay,” even as it hosts a party of such magnitude.

Solon said that this year’s edition will celebrate the innovations of the beach event since 2006, most notably its advocacy for sustainable tourism and family-oriented recreation.

Multitude of merrymaking

FOR the curtain raiser, True Life takes centerstage in a praise-and-worship concert on May 23 as a thanksgiving to the Divine Providence for the bounty of the bay, which is a rich fishing ground.

SarBay Fest officially kicks off on May 24 with the 15-kilometer “Swim Across the Bay” relay, Asia’s most extreme swimming event, and “I Run ‘Coz I Care,” a fun run (3-kilometers, 5-kilometers and 10-kilometers) for the benefit of the survivors of the recent attacks in Marawi City.

Top rock band Callalily will open the nightly merrymaking to welcome beach bums from all over the country who will be frolicking in the shores for three days.

The search for SarBay Bodies 2018, along with summer music festival “#ShareYourJams” on May 25, will continue to make the nights sizzle with DJs Sound of One, Hannah Ichiko and Clyde Harris.

Livening up the evenings of May 25 and 26 is Xanadu: Hidden Paradise, a premium party featuring top international DJs La Crème of Thailand, Kraiz of Italy, Zamir Ayeb of Netherlands and Djane Djoly of Ukraine. They will be backed-up by Manila-based spinmeisters Jenil, Ron Poe, Jet Boado, Kat DJ, Jayvee Datahan and locals DJ Torch, DJ Law, LV Lim, DJ Yancy and Kevin Rage.

Spicing up the fest are Zumba sessions with the Legendz, a drum-beating competition, firedancing exhibitions, body painting and family sand-sculpture contests.

A corporate-sponsored party and a spectacular fireworks display will pull the curtains down on May 26.

Social responsibility, sports

AS part of its social responsibility, the SarBay Eco-Party will be held on May 27, which covers environmental activities such as beach cleanups and planting of mangrove trees.

Sporting events include the 50-km ultramarathon SarBay Strongman, beach volleyball and football, skim boarding, jet ski races, “banca-thon,” as well as mountain bike, skim boarding, and frisbee tournaments.

There will also be a daily “Go South” segment that will showcase the rich cultural heritage of Mindanao’s different regions through music and dance.

The SarBay Fest is being organized by the Sarangani Provincial Tourism Council and supported by the Province of Sarangani, DOT-Region 12 as well as the Municipality of Glan. It is a consistent recipient of the Best Tourism Event Award from the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines.

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