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

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 (
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. (

1.     Ă„scher Cliff, Switzerland (Website:

Ascher Cliff Hotel in Switzerland (
 2.     Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland (Website:
Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland (
3.     Ladera Resort, St. Lucia (Website:
4.     The Manta Resort, Zanzibar
5.     Rayavadee Krabi, Thailand (Website:
6.     Shangri La, Paris (Website:
7.     Hotel Ristorante Grotta Palazzese Polignano a Mare, Italy (Website:
8.     Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island (Website:
9.     Panchoran Retreat, Bali (Website:
10. Hotel Ubud Hanging Gardens, Indonesia (Website:
11. Attrap Reves Hotel, France (Website:

Attrap Reves Hotel in France (

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

Dedon Island Resort in Siargao Island, Philippines (

17. Home Stead Resort (Website:
18. Villa Escudero, Philippines (Website:

Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation Resort in the Philippines ( 

          19. Hotel-Restaurant Ă–schinensee, Switzerland (Website:
          20. Astarte Suits Hotel, Greece (Website:
          21. Montana Magica Lodge, Chile (Website:

Montana Magica Lodge in Chile (

   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)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Philippines announces underwater shootout festival on December 4 to 8

Manila, Philippines  -- The Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) in cooperation with members of  the Underwater Macro Photographers Group (UWMP) will launch its first ever international underwater (UW) shootout in Anilao, a quiet seaside community in Batangas two hours away South of Manila, from December 4 to 8 this year.

The PDOT is setting its sights on promoting the Philippines as a premier UW macro photography destination in Asia and enticing more foreign UW photographers to engage their hobby in the Philippines through the holding of this event in Anilao,  “one of the best places for underwater photography in the world”, according to Christian Vizl, a multi-award winning underwater photographer.  

This joint project, entitled “Anilao Underwater Photo Competition Festival”, is open to both foreign and local UW photographers and fun divers for an entry fee of Php1000 or US$20 per participant inclusive of a 4-day dive pass, an event shirt and invitation to hosted welcome and farewell dinners with cultural entertainment.   

Winners will receive a minimum total of US$10,000 worth of valuable prizes including dive trips to the country’s best dive sites in Cebu, Bohol and Anilao through the support of Tourism Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Prestige Sport Malaysia, Cebu Pacific Airlines and other partner dive resorts in the Philippines. Contest mechanics can be viewed at or by request through email at

Simultaneous with the underwater macro photography contest, fun dives will also be organized for dive fanatics, as well as the conduct of seminars on “Dive Photography” during the festival. World renowned UW photographers (i.e., Koji Nakamura, President of Japan Underwater Films;    Yorko Summer, dive travel journalist;   Christian Vizl, current world champion in underwater photography; Ken Thongpila, multi-award winning underwater photographer and founder of Underwater Macro Photographers Club; and Michael Aw, one of the world’s most influential nature photographers) will grace the festival as board of judges and seminar speakers.

Divers can sign up and book their local travel arrangements for this international UW shootout at Interested divers can also register at  or visit the event facebook page at  PDOT partner resorts in Anilao are also offering special dive promo packages of as low as US$499 for a 4 nights/5 days dive package inclusive of 6 boat dives, fullboard meals, accommodation (twin sharing arrangement), air tanks and dive master.  

All the participating divers will surely say “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” with the opportunity to win fantastic prizes from local sponsors during the awarding ceremony on December 8 at seven o’clock in the evening at Acacia Resort and Dive Center and to be entertained with cultural dances, live band and treated to delectable cuisine.        

List of Winners: Click this link -

Monday, September 30, 2013

Siargao locals post highest scores in pumping Cloud Nine perfection

Siargao Locals Post Highest Scores in Pumping Cloud Nine Perfection and Top Seed Raditya Rondi Eliminated on Day One of the 19th Annual Siargao International Surfing Cup
(by: Tim Hain)

Carlito Nogalo
This is link for Siargao Event Minisite,
you check all news, photos, videos, and result here.

24 September 2013, Siargao Island-Philippines:  Living up to its reputation as one of the world’s best righthand barreling waves, Cloud 9 delivered solid 5-6 foot perfection today to start the ASC 6 star Men’s Open Division of the 19th Annual Siargao International Surfing Cup, with the Siargao locals showing off their tube riding virtuosity by posting the day’s highest scores and on the way eliminating the ASC’s number one ranked surfer, Raditya Rondi from Indonesia.

At least six surfboards and as many legropes fell victim to the crushing forces of Cloud 9 today, a wave that many compare to the famous Backdoor of Hawaii’s North Shore Pipeline. 

Rounds One and Two, as well as two heats of Round 3 were completed today before competition was called off due to the afternoon low tide.

Round One got underway just after 6:00 am this morning, with 32 of the 48 competitors in hot pursuit of a heat win, which would propel them directly into a Round 3 berth where they would meet up with the ASC’s highest ranked surfers and the four finalists from last week’s Siargao Cup Nationals competition. 

The first highlight of Round One was Siargao local Carlito Nogalo putting on an impressive display of competitive surfing during his 20 minute heat, posting 7.67 and 8.17 scores on his best two waves to earn the praise of ASC Head Judge Mark “Boonga” Clift, who from the microphone told the other competitors, “Here is a surfer who knows how get points from the judges.  With great combinations of aggressive but smooth maneuvers all under control, this is how you earn points and win heats!” His final combined two wave heat score was 15.83 points out of a possible 20.

15 year old Marama Tokong put that advice to work in the very next heat, dropping in behind the peak in triple overhead waves to score barrel rides of 7.50 and then a whopping 9.17 to easily win his heat with a total score of 16.67.  His presence, lack of hesitation, and relaxed form in the barrel is nothing short of amazing for a kid this young with no formal coaching and training.

The Alipayo name is synonymous with inspired surfing here on the island of Siargao, and today it was cemented to allow no room for doubt.  Heat 6 of Round One saw Philmar Alipayo post 8.0 and 7.27 point scores to win his heat with 15.27 points, and in Heat 7 it was a battle between Paul John Alipayo and Pete Pete Alipayo for the win, with Paul John besting Pete Pete by just 1.43 points. 

Paul John on his backhand posted the day’s highest single wave score of 9.8 points out of a possible 10, an almost perfect wave score for a super deep barrel where he was actually surfing behind the foam ball in the middle section of the wave before getting spit out the end section.  His final point tally was 17.47 points, the highest heat score of the day.

And though Pete Pete was relegated to second spot with his worthy heat score of 16.03 points, he made the most of his Round 2 opportunity by scoring first a 6.83 and then a massive 9.5 to finish with a 16.33 point total, far head of his closest competitor who only managed a total of 6.6 points!  Remarkable consistency in his heats scores, both being in the 16 point range.

Special for this event in order to give the non-seeded surfers the opportunity to surf twice during the competition, the heat winners from Round 1 advanced directly into Round 3, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers competed again in Round 2, where again only the 1st place finisher advance into Round 3.

The Round Two highlight was Siargao local Donesio “Dodo” Espijon winning his heat and ticket into Round 3 by getting deep backside barrel rides, posting first an 8.0 and then an 8.83 for a total heat score of 16.83.

In the first heat of Round 3, it was local Mark Cannon winning the heat and Osot Alcala coming in second to eliminate current ASC number one seed and two time ASC Open Champion Raditya Rondi.

In the final heat of the day, Heat 2 of Round 3, Indonesian Pepen Hendrik from Bali won his heat despite having sustained a significant injury in an early morning warmup session, hitting the reef with his face and puncturing his lower lip and chin, requiring stitches.  “I guess I was too relaxed and maybe still half asleep this morning,” said Hendrik.  “I just saw there was great waves so I didn’t stretch or anything, just paddled right out.  I was kind of lazy paddling for that first wave and it just slipped out from under me.  I hit the reef for just a second and then it sucked me up and I was almost standing up in waist deep water with blood pouring from my chin.  It happened really fast. It was hard out there as my chin and lip still hurt, but I want to keep surfing so I had to try to win,” he explained.

According to tomorrow’s swell forecast the current swell is predicted to be even larger than today and then peaking on Thursday morning, we should see more exciting action and the finish of the Men’s Open on Thursday. Women’s action will commence once the swell conditions are suitable, possibly as soon as Friday but most likely on Saturday.

Round 3 action is scheduled to resume tomorrow with a 6:30 am start, so look for Asia’s best surfers to put on quite a show in the pumping Cloud 9 waves on Siargao Island!

A link to the video clip of today’s action will be included in tomorrow’s press release, or you can check later and look up ASC Tour on Facebook.

The 19th Annual Siargao Surfing Cup is sponsored by the Philippines Department of Tourism, the Province of Surigao Del Norte, the Municipality of General Luna, Cloud 9 Boardriders, Surf Angels, Reef Beach Houses, San Miguel Brewery Inc., Stoked Inc, Fluidsurf, Rip Curl, Siargao Bleu Resort, Nature Spring, Sagana Resort, The Boardwalk, Ocean 101, and DT General Merchandise, with media support by TV 5 and My Life On Board, organized by the Philippine Surfing Federation and sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships.

Dionesio "Dodo" Espijon 

Early morning at Cloud 9

John Mark "Marama" Tokong

John Mark "Marama" Tokong

The perfect Cloud 9

(L-R) Arkipo and Petepete Alipayo

John Paul Alipayo

Philmar Alipayo

Asian Surfing Championships
Tim Hain – Media, Marketing and Communications
Tel:  +628123606674

Philippine Surfing Federation
Zeny Pallugna – Secretary General

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