P50-M dolphin resort to rise soon on Balut Island

Sarangani town mayor Jerry Cawa said Iranian national Foad Akhavan has poured some P2 million for the resort’s development in sitio Bulaki, Balut Island.

“Based on our memorandum of agreement, 10% of the net income will go to the local government unit once the project becomes operational,”  Cawa told reporters here recently.

Balut Island is a three-hour motorized-boat ride from General Santos City.

Cawa said the foreign investor, who reportedly maintains a dolphin-breeding farm in Misamis Occidental, plans to also breed dolphins in the resort’s 15-hectare facility.

“Hopefully, our town would land in the tourism map of the Philippines with sights of dolphins doing acrobatic acts amid the waves or ordinary people seeing or touching these friendly sea creatures,” he added.

Cawa said enclosure nets have already been put in place at the seafront to prevent the dolphins from escaping to the high seas.

But he clarified that there’s still no dolphin inside those nets and that the investor might bring some from his farm in Misamis Occidental if they can’t catch the creatures off the town’s waters.

Sarangani is one of the towns grouped under the JAGS-CT (Jose Abad Santos, Glan, Sarangani- Cooperation Triangle).

Glan is in Sarangani province while Jose Abad Santos, like Sarangani town, is in Davao del Sur province.

Glan Mayor Enrique Yap Jr., chair of the cooperation triangle, said they expect the dolphin farm to also attract the attention of tourists from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

JAGS-CT,  Yap stressed, was formed in 2003 in support of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“This (dolphin farm) investment came about due to our vigorous promotion of the cooperation triangle,”  Yap claimed, adding that their grouping aims to enhance the trade, tourism and investment potentials of the three towns.

But Cawa pointed out that transport service to his town may hamper the coming of tourists unless there will be frequent trips.

Commercial trip from General Santos City to Sarangani town and vice versa is only once daily, usually during night time.

Cawa called on passenger boat owners to ply the route regularly to also boost the economic growth of the impoverished town, stressing the completion of a P43-million port complex.

He said communication facilities are not anymore a problem now since Smart and Globe have cellular sites in the town, whose main produce is copra or dried coconut meat. (MindaNews)