‘Boracay of the South’ in Sarangani reopens

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 05 March) — Mindanao’s “version of Boracay,” the coastal town of Glan in Sarangani province, has started accepting guests from within and outside Region 12 (Soccsksargen), Glan Mayor Vivien Yap said.

Visitors need to book first with the resorts so they will be allowed entry to the town famous for its fine white sand beaches in Gumasa district, among others.

“Guests shall stay within the resort they’re accommodated as we don’t allow beach hopping,” she said.

White sand beaches are the main attraction in Glan, Sarangani. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

A bucolic town at least an hour’s ride away from General Santos City, Glan is considered the top tourism destination in Sarangani and is marketed as the “Boracay of the South.”

For tourists from within Soccsksargen, they need to present the DVY Cares quick response code that can be accessed at www.glan.ph and the booking confirmation slip from the resort they will be staying in.

For those from other regions, they need to present medical certificates aside from these two requirements.

With the reopening of Glan’s beach resorts to tourists in March 2021, this fishing scene may yet become a rare sight. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Yap reminded visitors to always observe proper health protocols such as hand washing or sanitizing, wearing of face mask and social distancing to avoid spreading the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

She said resorts are allowed to accommodate only 50 percent of their capacity in line with the directive of the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases .

Glan hosts the annual Sarangani Bay Festival, or simply SarBay Fest for locals, the biggest beach party in Mindanao launched in 2006.

Beach volleyball in Gumasa, Glan municipality, during the Sarangani Bay Festival (SarBay) in May 2016. File photo by Russel Delvo, Sarangani Information Office

The SarBay Fest has become the ultimate summer beach party scene in Mindanao, attracting thousands of visitors. Night-long music by popular bands and water sports-related activities are among the main features of the festival.

In 2016, SarBay Fest organizers recorded 150,000 tourists who joined the event.

Last year, the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was also suspended in 2017 due to security concerns following the siege staged by Islamic State-aligned militants in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Glan has over two dozen beach resorts catering to different budget needs. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)