Sarangani Bay Festival, also known to the locals as Sarbay Fest, is an annual event in Sarangani Province. The festival is held on every third week of May.
Arguably the most popular beach event in the southern region of the Philippines, Sarbay festival is a must-attend for many tourists. The festival attracts both locals and foreigners to an outdoor event like no other.
As is expected, the outdoor event is characterized by an array of adrenaline-packed events to keep the whole family engaged. Take a wet adventure and enjoy a thrilling boat race with the locals, a sport known as the lumba bugsay. You may also choose to go skimboarding for the thrill of a lifetime.
In 2019, the SarBay fest kicked things off with a swimming race – one of the most extreme events in this part of Asia, as it was 15 kilometers long! It’s definitely only for the fittest and bravest, and not us potato couches that are out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs.
If you prefer to stay at the beach, take part in a game of beach soccer, or try out your skills at the volleyball section. Other tourists choose to take part in the eccentric beach fair, while a good number head to the sand sculpture contest. And if none of those sound right for you, don’t worry – there are many other contests and races you can be a part of.
The SarBay Fest features a variety of other competitions, including jet ski races, frisbee tournaments, DJ battles, and even a marathon. It truly is the festival that has something to offer to anyone, whether you prefer to partake in the activities or just admire the others from the sides.
For tourists who do not mind flaunting their toned bodies, the place to be is the Bay Bodies Bikini Open. Every year this festival segment includes the search for the hottest hunks and babes of the festival. The only requirements are that you’ve never been married before, that you’re between 18 and 25 years of age, and that you have a hot bod – simple enough!
Other activities include the amazing bike ride, known as the SarBay MTB challenge. The mountain biking race is suitable for everyone, and not just the fit visitors – the competitors are all divided into age groups, with only the fastest ones taking home medals and cash prizes. It’s a great way to show off your physical prowess, and get to experience riding through the mud in Sarangani forests.
There’s also a dance competition, where you can show off just how good (or bad) you are on the dancefloor. As dusk approaches, many tourists prepare to take part in the summer night beach party under the starry sky.
Other highlights that you need to be on the lookout for include the all-night concert by the beach, one which brings the best local acts in the Philippines. And of course, let’s not forget about the fire dancing exhibitions, which are both mesmerizing and terrifying to observe.
The 2014 edition of Sarangani Bay Festival is touted to have attracted a hundred thousand tourists, making it a huge success, and perhaps one of the most seamless events at the beach. There is absolutely no reason why you should miss out on this festival whenever you are in the Philippines.
This festival is just one of the many things you can do and visit in the Philippines. Not to mention the countless beautiful resorts such as Boracay Island Resort and more.
In our age of polluted environment and rapid climate change, it’s always worth it to support festivals that do their best to stay environmentally friendly. And that is exactly what the SarBay fest has been doing for the past couple of years.
In 2019, you could find recycling bins throughout the festival site. And they weren’t just any kind of a recycling bin; the government actually partnered with giant companies, which allowed them to set up smart trash bins. This allowed them to provide an incentive for festival-goers to recycle – if you registered your name and phone number, you would be credited 5 pesos for every two plastic bottles or cans, and 25 pesos for recycling 10 items.
Another genius way of keeping the festival site clean included placing selfie spots around the beach. No one wants a background cluttered with trash, so it’s no surprise that this tactic worked!
After the festival ended, volunteers picked up about 2.5 tons of trash in just several hours, ensuring that the shoreline was as clean as ever. And ensuring that you get to enjoy the festival again next year!
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!