By Motourismo Ph
|Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge, Sarangani Province.|
Long before Manny Pacquiao, the “Fighting Congressman / Senator from Sarangani” became a sensation, his province has been quietly counter-punching its way to fame in the tourism ring dominated by the big boys.And just like his eight world championship belts, this southern swing has knockout reasons why it is a tourism “pound-for-pound” champ.
1. Sarangani Bay. This waterworld, which hugs the entire province, is a Protected Seascape and a Key Marine Biodiversity Area as proclaimed by the Department Environment and Natural Resources. With a 226.4-km coastline and an area of 215,950 hectares, its coral resources cover more than 2,293 hectares with about 60 live hard coral genera, 411 reef species, and 11 species of seagrass. The Department of Tourism has also declared this as a scuba diving haven in Region 12.
2. Malungon. This town is home to the Lamlifew Village Museum,the first of its kind in the country initiated by the Blaanindigenous peoples to be a repository for the ethnic heritage, traditional weaving, and organic farming. The community makes stylish beads, headdresses, and weaves the Mabal Tabih, an elegant and expensive fabric. Other attractions are the Kalonbarak Skyline Ridge, a hilltop view deck park, and farm tourism spots—CCT Farm and Rio Verde—which take guests to the fun aspect of agriculture.
3. Alabel. The provincial capital town where the neoclassical Capitol Complex proudly stands.The sprawling grounds has well-manicured pocket gardens,the palatial Kasfalah Hall, and a marine museum which showcases the lush aquatic life of Sarangani Bay. The complex is the site of the annual Muna To Festival, which marks the provincial founding day in November.
4. Malapatan. This predominantly Islamic community is the home of Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (Gamaba) awardee Bai Estelita Bantilafor with her Blaan indigenous handwoven mat. Located in the upland, she has a weaving center which draws tourists for a cultural interaction. The town is also noted for Maguindanaon malong and inaul fabrics using traditional hand looms at the Balungis weaving center where women showcase their world-class artistry. A Moro icon is the ginakit boat of the Maguindanaon royalty which is recreated during the Pakaradjan Festival every June.
5. Glan. Dubbed as Sarangani’s “Tour Town”, its claim to fame is Gumasa Beach, which is known for its powdery white sand. Its shores sizzle during Mahin Festival in April and the Sarangani Bay Festival in May, the country’s biggest beach party, which unfortunately are both cancelled this year.Savor its Gourmet Getaway experience with the restaurant-hotels by the shores of Sarangani Bay—Lanai 1687, Belmar Eco Park, Hacienda Don Juan, Kamari Resort, and Isla Jardin Del Mar. Travel back in time at its Heritage Village with the American-era houses, which serve as living museums.
6. Maasim. Aerosport adventurers flock here to take to the skies fora breathtaking glide from the mountaintop of SAFI Ranch,one of the best paragliding sites because of its good wind for most of the year. Afterwhich, plunge into the underwater world at Lemlunay Resort, which boasts ofawide variety of corals and colorful sea animals. Non-divers can indulge in aquasports at Pacquiao’s Pacman Resort which has pedal boats, kayaks and helmet diving.
7. Kiamba. Beach lovers will love with Tuka Marine Park with its powdery playground and marine sanctuary, which is ideal for snorkeling and free-diving. Paddle the typical wooden banca or bamboo raft and bask in the sea and the sun. Tucked at a secluded cove, it hasmodest resorts for a back-to-basics overnight stays. After frolicking in the sea, soak in the icy water of the multi-tiered Kawil falls at an upland village.
8. Maitum. Get a dose of adrenaline at the 2-kilometer exciting whitewater tube ride at the Pangi River.For a complete adventure, trek to Mlangen (Kamlayaman) Falls and Yama Cave, the town’s newest attractions located in the interiors. For a glimpse of its rich prehistoric heritage, visit the Municipal Museum which has dioramas of the caves where the more than 2,000-year old relics, most notably burial jars of anthropomorphic men, were excavated.The original jars, displayed at the National Museum, are described as an “exceptional archaeological assemblage unparalleled in Southeast Asia.”
|Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (Gamaba) awardee Bai Estelita Bantilafor by BLS.|
|Inaul Maguindanaoan Handweaving.|
|Kamari Beach Resort.|
|Kawil Falls in Kiamba. |
|Mlangen Falls in Maitum.|
|Rio Vista Farm and Forest planters.|
Fly to Gen. Santos City, and from there, you can start your trip via UV Express.Most of the destinations can be easily reached by public transportation from the city, and the interior attractions by habal-habal or single motorcycle from. For ease of travel, cluster the Malungon-Alabel-Malapatan-Glan attractions, and the Maasim-Kiamba-Maitumspots. You can also hire a private vehicle at Go Sarangani Travel (www.gosaranganitravel.com), a DOT-accredited tour operator.