Sunday, May 18, 2014

Siargao women surfers win in the 7th Siargao Int'l Surfing Cup

The winners (L-R) - Kim Woolridge (Australia), Nildie Retenbach (Philippines)
and Manette Alcala (Philippines)
On its 7th year, the all women's surfing event in Asia (which was held from May 6 to 10, 2014) successfully concluded last May 10, after days of intense competition among the 19 surfers from Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Greece, Czech Republic, Sweden, Argentina, France and Philippines. at the world's best surfing spot, Cloud 9 in Siargao Island, Philippines. 

Whopping the US$5,000 prizemoney with trophies were three women surfers from Siargao Island plus an Australian surfer, Kim Woolridge, who was last year's defending.

Champion: Nelvie Blancada (Philippines)
1st RU: Manette Alcala (Philippines)
Equal 3rd RU: Nildie Retenbach (Philippines) and Kim Woolridge (Australia)

This 5-day event was organized by the Philippine Surfing Federation (PSF), Local Government of General Luna, Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte and Philippine House of Representatives for the first district of Surigao del Norte.  (Photos by Wilmar Melindo)


The surfers together with the government officials (L-R) - Mayor Jaime Rusillon, Governor Sol Matugas, Congressman Francisco Matugas, Board Member Simeon Castrense, Vice Mayor Vic-Vic Solloso and Vice Governor Egay.


Special thanks to our sponsors - Surf Angel, Fluid Surf, Smart Communications, San Miguel Corporations and Nature Spring.



Friday, May 9, 2014

Guide to Siargao for Non Surfers

If you are non surfer then try find another Siargao attraction like white beaches, enchanting lagoons, caves, sand bars, coral reefs, bizarre rock formations, exotic wildlife, endless rice fields, waterfalls, a large mangrove forest reserve and much more...
Photo Credit: Just One Way Ticket

Video Credit: Just One Way Ticket

Siargao Map - Click here
Siargao Accommodation - Click here

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Siargao Girls Int'l Surfing Cup is set on May 6 to 10



The Municipality of General Luna and the Philippine Surfing Federation (PSF) are inviting you to join or witness this year's Siargao Girls International Surfing Cup which will be held at Cloud 9 (the world's number 8 surf spot) in General Luna, Siargao Island, Philippines, from May 6 to 10, 2014. For more information, email us at zenpallugna@yahoo.com.ph.


Surigao del Norte hosts inaugural Tourism Summit

Surigao City --- Building on the momentum of recent growth in visitors numbers to the Province of Surigao del Norte [more than doubled (134.5%) its tourist arrivals compared last year,  from 43,000 to 103,000 according to DOT Caraga Report], the provincial government through the initiative of Governor Sol Matugas hosted the inaugural Tourism Summit last February 24, 2014 at the Gateway Hotel in Surigao City.  The summit, which revolved on the theme, Reshaping the tourism industry towards Baong Surigao, gathered around 200 travel industry leaders to hear insights from the invited tourism experts.  

Governor Matugas said that this summit was just the first among the series of meetings to be organized by the Provincial Tourism Office to generate the inputs of both private and public sectors to develop a comprehensive program for tourism for the next five years. 

Tourism Marketing Consultant Zeny Pallugna said that the tourism landscape of Surigao del Norte will be reshaped through the development of a new tourism hub to spread the benefit of tourism to the mainland Municipalities. She recommended Bucas Grande Island as the new tourism hub for the province, capitalizing on the development of a new jump-off point to Bucas Grande Island, which is at Municipality of Claver. By doing this, the tourism potential of its neighboring Municipalities such as Guigaquit, Bucuag and Placer will also be developed. 

According to Pallugna, Bucas Grande is  a stand alone destination that can attract both foreign and local tourists by just capitalizing on its core product, the jelly fish lake. In the Philippines, there are only two areas which have non-stingy jelly fish --- Coron in Palawan and Bucas Grande. A simple improvement of its tourism center and development of unique tour packages, such as habal-habal tour, birdwatching tour, jelly lake tour and cultural experience tour would be a big boost to the island's tourism industry.  

She further recommended to develop scuba diving as a new tourism product for the province. Cagtinae Reef in the Municipality of Malimono is among the dive sites frequently visited by a group of Surigao divers.  The reef is about 30-minutes from Surigao City by private car.

Another untapped tourism products are the ESL or English as a Second Language and geotourism. Pallugna mentioned that ESL is also a good tourism product to be developed by the tourism office of Surigao City. The city has a number of universities and colleges which can be tapped for this program. The municipalities of Dapa and Del Carmen can also look into this ESL market to boost its tourist arrivals.    

The Municipality of Del Carmen is currently offering geotourism and other Municipalities can also do this. Geotourism is a huge market, with around 55.1 million geotourists around the globe who are mostly concentrated in New York, well-off, educated and interested on local culture, local products and community interaction.  

Meanwhile, Tourism Directors Letty Tan and Maria Patria Aurora Roa presented Caraga Region's tourism statistics and shared the tourism success stories of Cebu and Bohol, respectively. 

The success of the Tourism Summit was through the effort of the Provincial Tourism Office of Surigao del Norte, headed by Art Cruje. 

Siargao's Dedon Island Resort ranks #16 as among the "21 Amazing Hotels You Need to Visit Before You Die"

Dedon Island Resort in Siargao Island, Philippines (www.dedonisland.com)
I have been traveling around the Philippines since mid-1990s but I fell in love with Siargao Island, the moment I step on it --- the smiles and warmth of the local people and the beautiful scenery (sun, sand, sea and surf). My love for surfing, outdoor activities and Siargao Island, got me involved in several tourism activities, programs and projects in the Island. It gave me the opportunity to visit the Island more often in a year and I felt like I'm a local resident there. 

Since mid-90's, together with the local government and tourism stakeholders in Siargao, we worked together to promote the Island's tourism assets. The concerted efforts of the different sectors in the Island has been paid off, as the Island received several accolades from the international tourism publications.

This year (2014), My Science Academy published a list of 21 Amazing Hotels You Need to Visit Before You Die  and Siargao's Dedon Island Resort ranks number 16 among the 21 amazing hotels in the world. (http://myscienceacademy.org/2014/02/11/21-amazing-hotels-you-need-to-visit-before-you-die/).

1.     Ă„scher Cliff, Switzerland (Website: myswitzerland.com)

Ascher Cliff Hotel in Switzerland (www.myswitzerland.com)
 2.     Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland (Website: kakslauttanen.fi)
Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland (www.kakslauttanen.fi)
3.     Ladera Resort, St. Lucia (Website: ladera.com)
4.     The Manta Resort, Zanzibar
5.     Rayavadee Krabi, Thailand (Website: rayavadee.com)
6.     Shangri La, Paris (Website: shangri-la.com)
7.     Hotel Ristorante Grotta Palazzese Polignano a Mare, Italy (Website: grottapalazzese.it)
8.     Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island (Website: conradhotels3.hilton.com)
9.     Panchoran Retreat, Bali (Website: panchoran-retreat.com)
10. Hotel Ubud Hanging Gardens, Indonesia (Website: hanginggardensubud.com)
11. Attrap Reves Hotel, France (Website: attrap-reves.com)

Attrap Reves Hotel in France (www.attrap-reves.com)

12. Katikies Hotel-Oia, Greece (website: katikies.com)
13. Hotel Le Sirenuse, Amalfi Coast, Italy (Website: sirenuse.it)
14. Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden (Website: icehotel.com)
15. The Cambrian Hotel, Adelboden, Switzerland (Website: thecambrianadelboden.com)
16. Dedon Island Resort, Philippines (Website: dedonisland.com)

Dedon Island Resort in Siargao Island, Philippines (www.dedonisland.com)

17. Home Stead Resort (Website: homesteadresort.com)
18. Villa Escudero, Philippines (Website: villaescudero.com)

Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation Resort in the Philippines (www.villaescudero.com) 

          19. Hotel-Restaurant Ă–schinensee, Switzerland (Website: oeschinensee.ch)
          20. Astarte Suits Hotel, Greece (Website: astartesuites.gr)
          21. Montana Magica Lodge, Chile (Website: huilohuilo.com)

Montana Magica Lodge in Chile (www.huilohuilo.com)

   The Dedon Island Resort in Siargao Island earlier received a prestigious recognition from an International Traveller, a widely read international magazine, as No. 37 among the 100 Best Hotels and Resorts in the world.  

  Siargao’s popularity can be traced back in early 1990s when a famous surf photographer and writer, John Callahan, discovered Cloud 9 surf break (named after the local no-melt chocolate bars) and published an article about his surf expedition in the island. It was also recognized by CNN.Go as world’s ten best surf spot for two consecutive years (2012-2013).  

   The discovery of Cloud 9 as a world-class surfing destination stimulated tourist arrivals and tourism investors, making it the number one source of international visitor arrivals in Caraga Region. (By Zeny C. Pallugna)