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Bigger crowd seen this year in Mindanao’s biggest beach party

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GUMASA, Sarangani (April 22, 2013) – The growing crowd each year flocking into the white sand beaches here in Glan never fails to hype Sarangani Bay Festival as Mindanao’s biggest beach party. From the 33,499 in 2011, the crowd went up by 70 percent or equivalent to 57,199 in 2012. Significant increase in tourist arrivals was noted since the festival was launched in 2006 with 3,200 tourists, 5,700 in 2007, 14,800 in 2008, 17,755 in 2009, and 23,800 in 2010. Bookings for this year’s festival in resorts along the 7-kilometer white sand and pebbled beaches fronting the Bay have been full starting even in the later months of 2012, according to organizers. Sarangani Tourism and Investment Promotions Center (STIPC) reported reservations have already spilled over to the resorts and hotels in Alabel and General Santos City. But the office pointed out transportations to and from the venue can be pre-arranged in tour packages. Seven of the several resorts along the festival site were already declared as “tourist-ready” by the Department of Tourism. STIPC said walk-in guests can still be accommodated though in the tent city in designated areas within these resorts for an average of P150 to P200 per tent area (tent excluded). There are also tents for rent. Site preparation for the 5.9-hectare venue has started earlier according to STIPC to anticipate a larger crowd of partying beachgoers this year projected to increase by 20 percent. Party zone and food and souvenir stalls share approximately 9,000 square meters of the area. As usual, the 15-kilometer swim-across-the-bay relay contest from Maasim to Tango, Glan which is participated in by professional group of swimmers, and the 3-km and 5-km fun-run will kick-off Sarbay this year on May 24. Sarbay is only a two-day festivity (May 24-25) but organizers said even more exciting and crowd-drawing activities this time are lined-up. Activities set are Sarbay Swim Challenge, Sand Sculpture, Sayaw Sarangan: Hataw sa Tag-araw, Beach Volleyball, Beach Football, Skim Boarding Clinic, Poi and Zip Clinic, Smart/Talk & Text Games and Raffles, Sarbay Jet Ski Invitational Challenge, Pinta sa Baybayon, Sarbay Zumba with the Legendz, Fire Dancing Exhibition, Bay Bodies ’13, Summer Party at the Bay, SMART/Talk & Text Foam Party, Sarbay Bancarera, Smart/Talk & Text Games and Raffles, Sarbay Mountain Bike Ultra 3-Men Challenge, Concert at the Bay and Splash in The Sky and All Night Beach Party. Aside from the regular events, beachgoers could also enjoy a series of water sports like jetski, kayak and skimboard. Sailboat, banana boat, and poi and zip are also available for reasonable rental fees. (Beverly C. Paoyon/ Sarangani Information Office) 

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