SARANGANI BAY, one of the country’s unheralded beautiful bays, comes to life as the Province of Sarangani and the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Region 12 hold the first Sarangani Dive Safari from April 29 to May 1.
Proclaimed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a Protected Seascape and listed as one of the country’s Key Marine Biodiversity Areas, it covers an area of 215,950 hectares and a 226.4-kilometer coastline, covering the municipalities of Maitum, Kiamba, Maasim, Alabel, Malapatan, and Glan in Sarangani and General Santos City.
Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon, a licensed scuba diver, said the safari will unveil Sarangani Bay as a diving haven in Mindanao.
He said the underwater expedition will explore other areas in the Bay, in addition to the popular Tinoto dive spot at the Lemlunay Resort in Maasim town.
Tourism Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera said diving will be a new addition to the sports and adventure-tourism products of Soccsksargen (Region 12), which covers Southern and Central Mindanao.
She said the DOT 12 and the dive operators in the region took part in the Dive Resorts Travel Fair in Manila in 2016 to promote the area to the international market.
The Bay is home to yellowfin tuna, sperm whales, pilot whales, dolphins, clown fishes, lion fishes, sergeant fishes, sea turtles and pomedentridae and labridae species.
Whale sharks, cheilinus undulatus (Mameng), and dugongs (sea cows), are also occasionally sighted in this body of water.
Its coral resources cover more than 2,293 ha, spread in 20 coral- reef areas with about 60 important live hard coral genera, 411 reef species in 46 families. Seagrass cover is placed at 912 hectares, with 11 species in the coastal towns.
Among the dive spots to be explored are the Isla Jardin Marine Protected Area, which is considered to be in excellent condition, is the home to giant clams, the marine sanctuaries of Kamanga, Tuka, Kawas, Tambilil and Binuni and Malapatan Fish Sanctuary.
The dive safari package, consolidated by Go Sarangani Travel, includes 4 days and 3 nights of triple/quad share accommodation at Lemlunay Resort in Maasim, full board meals, unlimited dives, dive guide, tanks, and transfers, and a land tour of the province’s attractions.