Friday, May 1, 2015

ASC announces winners of Vans Cloud 9 Masters 2015

Vans Cloud 9 Masters 2015 Open Division Champ Edito "Piso" Alcala

Vans Cloud 9 Masters Finishes Up in Barreling Waves with Piso Alcala the Open Champ, Rina Kitazawa Winning the Women’s Division, and Mike Escoltura the Junior Champ

 1 May 2015, Siargao Island, Philippines:  The early morning light yesterday morning revealed the welcome sight of iconic Cloud 9 offering up glassy and barreling 2-4 foot perfection to start the final day of the Van’s Cloud 9 Masters, a day that would see wave and weather conditions run from glassy and calm to a torrential downpour and back again to near perfect conditions.

Vans Cloud 9 Masters 2015 Junior Division Champ Mark Escultura

In the first of the afternoon finals it was Mike Escoltura taking the Junior Division win over John Mark Tokong, who had been surfing brilliantly all event long, winning every heat but his semifinal, couldn’t seem to find his rhythm in the final against the solid rail and barrel surfing of 18 year old Escoltura, whose twin brother Mark was also in the final.  When asked how he felt about being the Junior Master of Cloud 9 he replied, “I’m so happy and I thank God that I got the good waves today, and also thanks to my sponsor who gave me the chance to compete here.   I’m studying for college now so that’s why I didn’t have so much time to practice, but I think it was just my opportunity to win today.  I’m very proud to be the winner here, and hope I can win again next year in the Open.”

Vans Cloud 9 Masters 2015 Women's Division Champ Rina Kitazawa (Japan) with Manette Alcala, Nildi Blancada and Nilbi Blacada (R-L)

In the Women’s Division it was another upset as perpetual local winner Nilbie Blancada gave away the final to 2013 ASC Women’s Champion Rina Kitazawa from Japan at literally the last second. With Rina having gotten to her feet just as the horn blew time over, Nilbie stood up on the same wave just a few meters down the line and interfered with Rina’s ability to continue on the wave.  The interference wasn’t immediately called as it was so close, but a video review as the results were being tabulated showed that there was indeed interference, giving Rina the win. “I’m really happy to be the winner here at Cloud 9,” said Rina.  “I got here a week ago and have been practicing because I know how hard it is to beat the locals here, especially Nilbie and her sister Nildie.  I’m glad we got good waves today for the final, and yes I got lucky because Nilbie made a mistake, unlucky for her, but I’m still happy to be the winner,” she added.

In the Men’s Open Division it was really no surprise to anyone when Edito “Piso” Alcala was announced the winner, having won so many contests at Cloud 9 over the last few years.  What was surprising is that he is still recovering from a rather severe knee injury, and still only at 80% capacity by his own evaluation.  Even so, Piso won ever heat convincingly in every wave condition on offer during the event, equally mixing up barrels, hacks, big full rail carves, and floaters.  Normally also an aerial specialist as well, due to his knee injury he eliminated that maneuver from his repertoire for this event.  When asked how he pulled of a win against the other guys who were operating at 100%, he replied, “Yes, even though I’m coming back from an injury and not yet 100%, I have been preparing for this competition.  I knew I just had to be patient and pick the right waves, and not do anything too crazy.  Just do my business and get the job done, that was my plan.  I did think about my injury and so I’m always extra careful, thinking what to do and how to do it.  So luckily it all worked out for me…and I got the win today!

Vans Philippines CEO Wendell Cunanan was all smiles in the tower after announcing the winners, stoked with his decision to support this event, saying, “Everything has really been beyond expectations here at Cloud 9 with this event.  This final day has just been fantastic, with non-stop action from early this morning until finishing up this afternoon.  We finally got to see some clean Cloud 9 barrels and the guys really blowing up,…and the girls too.  We’re now looking forward to the next couple of years of supporting this event, and watching the surfers grow and progress so they can get out to other countries and begin competing on the larger stage.  At the end I don’t even need to give you my opinion or a description of how it all went…just go to the event videos that Sean made and press play….that says it all!”

Tonight will be the official end of the event with a live band and the formal awards presentation at the Boulevard in the nearby town of General Luna, but as the swell was pumping and the timing seemed right, Contest Director Dencio Dizon make the wise decision to keep running the event through to the finals today.

Check out Sean Gilhooley’s daily highlight clips of the event:


The Vans Cloud 9 Masters is sponsored/supported by The Rail, Illest, FluidSurf, Mad Kahuna, Son of a Beach, Cloud 9 Surf Co., Maya Siargao Villa & Golf, Kawayan Siargao Resort, Siargao Inn Beach Resort, Reef Beach Houses, the Municipality of General Luna, and the Province of Surigao Del Norte, and sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships.  by Tim Hain of ASC

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About Vans – the original action sports footwear brand grounded in youth, authenticity, and individual style. www.vans.com

About the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC)

The Asian Surfing Championships was established in 2010 as the progression of the highly successful Indonesian Surfing Championships that began in Bali, Indonesia in 2004.  The mission of the ASC is to develop and progress the sport of surfing in Asia by assisting in the organizing and sanctioning of professional surfing events, which will help their growing surf communities and draw more attention to their areas for the progression of surfing locally, nationally, and throughout all of the Asian Region.

Day One of Vans Cloud 9 Masters

  
5-year-old Kai-Kai Alcala: The youngest competitor of the Cloud 9 Masters 2015.  
28 April 2015, Siargao Island, Philippines:  It was a very full day of competition with 16 heats of Round One of the Men’s Open Division completed as well as 8 heats of Round One of the Junior Division to open the Vans Cloud 9 Masters today in 3-4 foot wind affected but very contestable waves.

In the Men’s Open Division it was the red rashguards (top seeds) that emphatically displayed their mastery of Cloud 9 in the often tricky and ever-changing conditions, managing to make it look easy by putting together impressive combinations of maneuvers to win their heats and secure Round 2 berths.

In the first heat of the day it was top seed and defending champion Piso Alcala easily winning his heat with great wave selection and gouging big turns.  Goofy footer PJ Alipayo used his cat-like reflexes to adjust to the changing wave conditions and pull off a couple of potentially knee-exploding floaters to prove that backside surfing can be equally as exciting at Cloud 9 on a day with minimal barrel potential.

And speaking of barrels, it would be predictable that Rodolfo “Osot” Alcala, known as “The Barrel Master of Cloud 9” would find a barrel on a day where they were all but impossible. He also managed some mean hacks and even attempted a small air at the end section towards the end of the heat.  When asked if he’s been practicing his air game for conditions such as these he replied slyly,  “Nah, I was just messing around!” 

There was no sign of “just messing around” when Carlito Nogalo took to the water in the final heat of the Men’s Open, as he just went to town blasting mean in-the-pocket hacks and roundhouse cutbacks throwing buckets of spray everywhere to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the top spot on the podium was his ultimate goal in this event.

In the Junior Division, young Cloud 9 ace John Mark “Marama” Tokong was blowing up all over the place,with air’s, deep gouging turns, and even a sneaky little barrel, letting the field know that he was indeed the kid to beat.

5-year-old Kai-Kai Alcala had his first go at a surf contest today, and had the audience cheering with each wave he got.  He was all smiles before and after but a bit short on words when asked for his thoughts.  His mom Manette was on the judging panel today and will be competing in the Women’s Division of the event either tomorrow or the day after.

In addition to the surfing action, there were several celebs around including Luke Landrigan (who is also competing), actress-models Sam Pinto, Chloe Dauden, Rufa Mae Quinto, Frencheska Farr and musician-surfer Franco, all part of the Van’s posse headed up by CEO Wendell Cunanan, who all enjoyed watching the surfing and cool island vibe at the Philippines most iconic surf destination of Siargao Island.

Check out Sean Gilhooleys video clip to see what really down today!

Tomorrow’s exciting action will continue with the remaining heats of the Junior Division, then on to Round 2 of the Men’s or Round 1 of the Women’s tomorrow, with a call time of 8:30 am to assess the conditions for an anticipated 9:00 am start.

The Vans Cloud 9 Masters is sponsored/supported by The Rail, Illest, FluidSurf, Mad Kahuna, Son of a Beach, Cloud 9 Surf Co., Maya Siargao Villa & Golf, Kawayan Siargao Resort, Siargao Inn Beach Resort, Reef Beach Houses, the Municipality of General Luna, and the Province of Surigao Del Norte, and sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships. By Tim Hain of ASC




Siargao's Carlito Nogalo

Cloud 9 Master Rodolfo "Osot" Alcala

Celebrity Sam Pinto with Siargao's local surfers.

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About Vans – the original action sports footwear brand grounded in youth, authenticity, and individual style. www.vans.com

About the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC)

The Asian Surfing Championships was established in 2010 as the progression of the highly successful Indonesian Surfing Championships that began in Bali, Indonesia in 2004.  The mission of the ASC is to develop and progress the sport of surfing in Asia by assisting in the organizing and sanctioning of professional surfing events, which will help their growing surf communities and draw more attention to their areas for the progression of surfing locally, nationally, and throughout all of the Asian Region.

Vans Cloud 9 Masters To Kick Off This Morning with Men’s Open Division

Siargao's Carlito Nogalo pumping Cloud 9 waves.

 28 April 2015, Siargao Island, Philippines:  The Vans Cloud 9 Masters Men’s Division will see first action this morning at the Philippines most iconic surf break of Cloud 9 on Siargao Island, where a total prize purse of Php 100,000 (over USD $2,000) up for grabs between the Men’s Open, Women’s Open, and Junior Divisions as well as ASC tour championship points.

Piso Alcala

In the first heat of Round 1, Edito “Piso” Alcala will lead things off in what promises to be a day full of exciting action, as there will be 16 full heats in the Men’s Open Division today alone. Piso is working his way back from a knee injury sustained earlier in the year, but in yesterday’s warm up session appears to be well on his way to recovery. “I’m just trying to take it easy,” said Piso last night when asked about his knee.  “I just don’t take any big chances, and so far it feels pretty good.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow, he added with a smile. 

An estimated 120 plus surfers were registered as of last night at the opening ceremony on the Boulevard at General Luna, where the surfers and spectators were welcomed by Mayor Jaime Rusillon, known as the Godfather of Philippine surfing for his unwavering support starting over 20 years ago.

Also giving speeches were Vans Philippines CEO Wendell Cunanan, ASC GM Tim Hain and Siargao Administrator Nathanial Plaza, and in between the audience was entertained by local dancing with a live acoustic session rounding out the evening.

With a rising tide starting at 8 am, it will be a full day of surfing as the organizers take advantage of the swell and wind conditions on offer, starting with the Men’s Open Division and moving into the Junior Division if time and conditions allow. 

The contest has four days in which to be completed, with the final day on May 1 ending with dinner, the awarding ceremony, and a party/concert on General Luna Boulevard.

The first Cloud 9 Masters was held in May of 2007 as the realization of Cloud 9 locals Manuel “Wilmar” Melindo, Rodolfo “Osot” Alcala, and Ronald “Rasta” Sumalinog’s dream to have a local’s contest they could call their very own.  With a bit of support from the local government, the Philippine Surfing Federation, and some of the local resort operators, the dream became a reality, and Osot Alcala the first champion, earning him the “the barrel master of Cloud 9.”  It was in fact Osot who named the event the Cloud 9 Masters, his inspiration coming from the annual Pipeline Masters held each year at Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline.

Other Cloud 9 Master’s champions include Piso Alcala, Carlito Nogalo, and Arkipo Figuron.

The Vans Cloud 9 Masters is sponsored/supported by The Rail, Illest, FluidSurf, Mad Kahuna, Son of a Beach, Cloud 9 Surf Co., Maya Siargao Villa & Golf, Kawayan Siargao Resort, Siargao Inn Beach Resort, Reef Beach Houses, the Municipality of General Luna, and the Province of Surigao Del Norte, and sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships.  By: Tim Hain, ASC

  
Photos:  1) Piso Alcala, 2) Carlito Nogalo, 3) John Mark “Marama” Tokong, 4) Rina Kitazawa, 5) Nilbie Blancada, 6) Registration, 7) Cloud 9 pier/tower.


About Vans – the original action sports footwear brand grounded in youth, authenticity, and individual style. www.vans.com

About the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC)

The Asian Surfing Championships was established in 2010 as the progression of the highly successful Indonesian Surfing Championships that began in Bali, Indonesia in 2004.  The mission of the ASC is to develop and progress the sport of surfing in Asia by assisting in the organizing and sanctioning of professional surfing events, which will help their growing surf communities and draw more attention to their areas for the progression of surfing locally, nationally, and throughout all of the Asian Region.


Cloud 9 Tower
Japan's Rina Kitazawa

Friday, November 14, 2014

Siargao Without the Surfing


"On the map but of the radar until the mid-00's, when a reckless, right-breaking reef wave, Cloud 9, put it on the grid as a premier surfing destination. Legend has it that Cloud 9 was discovered by a group of Australian surfers while scouring the country for the perfect surf spot. They had worked up such an appetite that they plowed through the only thing on hand- a box of Cloud 9 chocolate bars. Fact or fiction, it's this very water break that brings hundred of tourists to the island year after year."

In issue 05 of GRID Magazine, Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta visits the island of Siargao during its annual surf competition and discovers that there is a charm to Siargao beyond the surf buzz, in the landscape, in the culture and in the very travellers who've come. Issue 05 of GRID Magazine will be out on stands this week. Stay tuned for details.

Photographs by Sonny Thakur

Article Credit: GRID Magazine 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gamefishing hot spots in the Philippines


Gamefishing in the Philippines is starting to gain a wider popularity among anglers and some travelers looking to find new travel adventures. With more than 7,000 island, there is no doubt that there are numerous hot spots for gamefishing. 


1.       Siargao Islands, Surigao

Siargao Island is not only famous for its famous Cloud 9 wave but it is also known as the "Gamefishing Mecca" in the Philippines --- thanks to Surigao del Norte Congressman Francisco Matugas and the Philippine Surfing Federation who started the annual international gamefishing tournament last April 2008. 

Gamefishing is a big thing in the bountiful seas of Siargao. With species such as marlin, tuna, grouper, dorado and billfish (i.e., sailfish, marlin, spearfish, and broadbill swordfish), avid anglers are not disappointed with their bounty.  In fact, international gamefishing competitions are held every April along the east of the shores of Pilar, north point of Burgos and south point of Daku Island.  

Travel Time:
  • About 60 minutes by plane from Manila via Cebu City (via Cebu Pacific Airlines)
  • About 30 minutes by plane from Cebu City
 Contact Person: 
  • Donna Tiu / mobile no. +63 9178051570
  • Don Pallugna / Mobile no. +63 915 995 52183 /                                    Email: pallugna_don@yahoo.com
 Best Season for fishing:   March to September

At the Municipality of Pilar in Siargao Island

2. Palaui Islands in  Sta. Ana, Cagayan 

The Philippine Gamefishing Foundation (PGFF), the first and oldest fishing club in the Philippines, owns and manages the Don Andres Soriano Sportfishing Camp located inside the Philippine Navy headquarters in Barangay San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan. The fishing camp serves as a take off point for anglers traveling to Susay Rock, which is about two to three hours away by motorized banca. Anglers intending to try out the fishing grounds of Camiguin Island can also use the fishing camp as their base, but travel time will take about four hours.

Travel Time:
  • Approximately 12 hours drive from Manila
  • Approximately 60 minutes by plane from Manila to Tuguegarao City plus 3 hours drive to Santa Ana
Contact Person:       Atty. Gordon Uy, Owner of Goodcatch Sportfishing      Email: gordonuy@pldtdsl.net    / Phone: +63 2 5166829      
Address: Unit B, Manila Bay Arcade, Quirino Avenue corner M.H. Del Pilar Street, Malate Manila, Philippines      
Website: www.goodcatch.com 

Best Season for fishing: 
  • Year-round - for bottom fishing of snapper and grouper
  • March-June – for blue marlin, sailfish and dorado
Fishing Area:  Babuyan Channel

OTHER FISHING AREAS
 

Contact Person: GoodCatch Sportfishing / Email: gordonuy@pldtdsl.net                        


1. Calatagan, Batangas

Calatagan is among the nearest gamefishing spots  in Metro Manila. It only takes a few hours to get there to catch local fishes such as giant trevally and African pompano.
 

Travel Time: 
About 3 hours drive from Manila 

2.    Subic, Zambales 

Hardcore gamefishers dock their yachts in Subic for a fantastic fishing experience. Anglers will be treated with giant trevally, sailfish, wahoo, king mackerel and barracuda. 

Best Season for Fishing:
 October to June. 

Travel Time: 
About 3 hours drive from Manila 

3.    Lake Lumot, Caliraya, Laguna and Pantabangan Lake, Nueva Ecija

These two lakes, Lumot and Pantabangan, are popular for largemouth bass fishing. Freshwater fishing in these areas is available year round.
 

Travel Time:
  • About 2.5 hours drive from Manila to Caliraya, Laguna
  • About 4 hours drive from Manila to Pantabangan Lake, Nueva Ecija
 4. Mactan Island, Cebu

Just like any other fishing grounds in the Philippines, Mactan Island offers anglers with trevally (mamsa), Spanish mackerel (tanguigue), different varieties of tuna (including bonito, yellow fin, bigeye, and dogtooth), barracuda, dorado, and wahoo. 

 
Travel Time:  About 30 minutes by plane from Manila to Cebu

 5. Camiguin Island 

Camiguin Island offers a wide variety of fishes from great trevally, barracuda and wahoo, among other. Sailfish can be spotted from March to June and tuna from July to October. 
Reef fishing, mainly at night, can produce varieties of grouper, coral trout, wrasse, parrotfish, and many other species. Fishing of squid at night can also be very productive.
Travel Time:
  • About 75 minutes by plane from Manila to Cagayan de Oro City plus 3 hours by land and ferry boat to Camiguin Island
  • About 30 minutes by plane from Cebu City to Camiguin Island
Best time of the Year: Year-round 

6. Davao 

Davao specializes in offshore fishing from pelagic tuna, billfish, wahoo, dorado, and king mackerels.
 
Travel Time:
  • About 80 minutes by plane from Manila to Davao
  • About 30 minutes by plane from Cebu City to Davao


For more information, email the Philippine Department of Tourism-New York at pdotny@aol.com or zeny@philippinetourismny.org   

Winners of the first Siargao International Gamefishing Tournament in Siargao Island
with Congressman Francisco Matugas, Mayor Lucio Gonzales, Atty. Gordon Uy and Zeny Pallugna.