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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cloud 9 local surfer wins the ASP QS 20th Annual Siargao International Surfing Cup

Edito “Piso” Alcala wins in 20th Siargao International Surfing Cup over Carlito Nogalo in pumping Cloud 9 local-on-local barrel fest

28 September, Siargao Island – Philippines:  General Luna’s Edito “Piso” Alcala took the win over fellow Siargao Island local Carlito Nogalo in pumping 4-5 foot Cloud 9 perfection today at the end of the 30 minute final of the 20th annual Siargao International Surfing Cup, coming back to the iconic wooden tower and be greeted by his many fans, $4,000 richer and proud winner of first-ever ASP Qualifying Series event in the Philippines, albeit with a broken surfboard after his final wave.

After scoring a perfect 10 point ride for a massive Cloud 7 barrel in his quarterfinal heat against 16 year old local ripper John Mark “Marama” Tokong on his way to an almost perfect heat score of 19 points (out of a possible 20), in arguably the most exciting heat of the entire event this morning, Piso went on to best young Aussie Chris Zaffis in his semifinal heat and then meet up with long time friend Carlito Nogala in the final.

Carlito Nogalo of Siargao Island


Piso’s two top scoring waves in the final were a 9.55 and a 9.90, two almost perfect scores for an almost perfect heat, 19.45 out of a possible 20 points!

“I’m very proud to win here today,” said Piso. “This win is for everyone, for me, my family, the locals, and the surfers from around the world who continue to visit. I’d like to thank the ASP and the ASC, and my sponsors Stoked Inc and Siargao Inn, and everyone who comes here to surf.” When asked how it felt to compete against his friend Carlito in the final, he replied, “We hang out, and we’re good friends.  And when the contest is on, that don’t affect us. Out there in the waves I still look out for him, and vice-versa. But in the end one of us will win, and today it was me.  I know he’s happy for me just like I would be happy for him if he was the winner.”

When asked the same question Carlito replied, “Piso and I have been friends for a long time and we’d also been competing with each other a long time. He’s very lucky that he was able to get some really good waves out there today. As for me, I got a few waves but it wasn’t enough to win this time. But there will next year. I train the whole year round so I’ll definitely be ready for another try next year.”

Edito "Piso" Alcala and Carlito Nogalo hug each other after the competition.

The event took place over a 5-day period from September 24-28, where after the opening ceremony there were two lay days while waiting for the arrival of a predicted swell.  On the 26th of September Round 1 was run in small but fun conditions, then on the 27th the swell increased significantly allowing for the completion of Rounds 2 and 3 for the total of 48 competitors the majority coming from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Indonesia. 

Today the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals were completed in the best waves of the entire event.  Later this evening there will be the awards presentation on the Boulevard in General Luna, which is always a highlight with speeches, music, dancing and lots of beverages being consumed.

Chris Zaffis of Australia

This was a historic event for not only the local community but for Philippine surfing as a whole, for with the support of the local and regional government and a year of being sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championships, the event was upgraded to a ASP 1 star World Qualifying Series event (dual sanctioned with the ASC) with a $15,000 prize purse.

Considered by many as the Godfather of Philippine surfing for is long and unwavering support of the Siargao International Cup, General Luna’s Mayor Jaime Rusillon is already looking ahead to next year and has promised it will be an even bigger ASP event next year. “Even though I myself cannot surf,” said the Mayor Rusillon, “I’ve been supporting this event for a lot of years now and trust me, we will make it even bigger and better next year!”

(L-R) Governor Sol F. Matugas of Surigao del Norte with
Former Mayor Cecilia Rusillon of General Luna, Siargao Island.

Governor Sol Matugas also attended the event today and after the finals had this to say: “I really enjoyed the competition. I’m excited because it’s been hands-on work for me. We’re all so proud for having produced champion surfers that are at par with foreign surfers.  Piso and Carlito are both from Siargao and they’d been surfing for many years, honing their skills. I hope this international event will continue in the next twenty years and more with the help of private organizations and with the local government support. Siargao is also the only province the Philippines that are hosting two international events; aside from surfing we also host the International Game Fishing tournament in Pilar. Hopefully we will discover other events we could stage here in Siargao to promote our island.” (by Tim Hain, ASC)

Since the written word is rarely enough to portray the epic nature of a day like today, so just check out this finals video clip by Indo Inc’s Sean Gihooley…Cloud 9 was on fire today for the boys!



The 2014 Siargao International Surfing Cup was a co-sanctioned 1-star ASP Men’s World Qualifying event and a ASC Grade 4 event that will ran from September 24-28, 2014 and boasted US$15,000 Prize Money.  

The 20th Siargao International Surfing Cup was presented by the MVP Group of Companies and Manila Mining Corporation, with event organizers the Municipality of General Luna and Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte) and support by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the Philippine Department of Tourism, Cloud 9 Boardriders Club and Fluid Surf.

The event is sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals and the Asian Surfing Championships with the assistance of the Philippine Surfing Federation.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 the Asian Region. 

The attached images are royalty free for editorial use only, no commercial rights granted. The copyright is owned by the Asian Surfing Championships. ONLY LOW RES WATERMARKED IMAGES MAY BE POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WITH THE APPROPRIATE PHOTO CREDIT. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


LIST OF WINNERS



ORGANIZERS / SPONSORS



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Siargao's local surfers dominate quarter finals of the 20th Siargao International Surfing Cup

Carlito Nogalo of Siargao Island

27 September, Siargao Island – Philippines:  Out of the eight (8) quarter finalists of this year's Siargao International Surfing Cup (an ASC Qualifying Series and ASC Grade 4 sanctioned event in cooperation with the Philippine Surfing Federation), six (6) are Siargao's local surfers, with one Indonesian, last year’s winner Putra Hermawan, and 16 year old Australian Chris Zaffis the remaining internationals.  

Christ Zaffis of Australia

The expected increase in swell provided the international contestants with plenty of opportunities to pull into the world-renowned Cloud 9 barrels, as well as boosting airs and smashing big turns, with the Siargao crew clearly showing their local advantage in the face of the international contestants.

“I’m pretty stoked to still be in it…really I’m surprised to be one of the only international surfers left in the comp, but proud to be flying the flag for Australia,” said Chris.  “I’m looking forward to a pumping morning of surf tomorrow, coz I just want to get barreled and make it into the final!” he added.

The Siargao locals in the quarterfinals are the usual suspects, a mix of previous event winners and Cloud 9 tube masters made up of “Piso” Alcala, “Osot” Alcala, “Dodo” Espijon, Philmar Alipayo, Carlito Nogalo, and “Marama” Tokong.  Almost without exception, everyone on the island goes by a nickname!

On sundown there were 4-6 foot sets blasting over the reef for the two dozen freesurfers enjoying a late session, so tomorrow’s finale should see some event better waves than today for an exciting finale to the event.  There is a 6:30 am call out for the 8 quarterfinalists, so stay tuned!  

Check out the highlight clips so far, courtesy of Indo Inc’s Sean Gilhooley

Day 2: 

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion tomorrow, and see all the results athttp://www.aspworldtour.com/events/2014/mqs/1078/siargao-cloud-9-surfing-cup/results

The 2014 Siargao International Surfing Cup is a co-sanctioned 1-star ASP Men’s World Qualifying event and a ASC Grade 4 event that will run from 24 - 28 September 2014 and boasts US$15,000 Prize Money.  

The 20th Siargao International Surfing Cup is presented by the MVP Group of Companies and Manila Mining Corporation, with event organizers the Municipality of General Luna and Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte) and support by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the Philippine Department of Tourism, Cloud 9 Boardriders Club and Fluid Surf.

The event is sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals and the Asian Surfing Championships with the assistance of the Philippine Surfing Federation.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 the Asian Region. 


The attached images are royalty free for editorial use only, no commercial rights granted. The copyright is owned by the Asian Surfing Championships. ONLY LOW RES WATERMARKED IMAGES MAY BE POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WITH THE APPROPRIATE PHOTO CREDIT. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Locals post top scores in Round 1 of the Siargao International Surfing Cup at Cloud 9

Piso Alcala, a local of Siargao Island
26 September, Siargao Island – Philippines:  Siargao locals posted the top scores in the opening round of the 20th annual Siargao International Surfing Cup at Cloud 9 today, with previous event winner Piso Alcala spending as much time in the air as in the water during the final heat of the day to rack up a the highest heat score of the day of 16.50 points (out of a possible 20) for his two biggest airs of 8.0 and 8.5.

“There weren’t any barrels out there today, so I had no choice but to take to the air,” said Piso with a smile.  “But I hope there will be some barrels for us tomorrow, because that’s what Cloud 9 is all about!”  Last year, uncharacteristically, Piso didn’t make it out of Round 4, so he’s all about getting into the finals this year at his home break.

The second highest combined heat score was posted in Heat 1 by Carlito Nogalo, whose power surfing and a barrel got him a total score of 15.25, for a 7.25 and an 8.0.  He bested last year’s winner Putra Hermawan, who finished in second place with a total score of 11.75. Both surfers advance to Round 2.
Carlito Nogalo of Siargao Island 

Rounding out the high scoring pool was young Mark “Marama” Tokong with a total score of 14.90, using his bantamweight frame to complete some impressive airs and handily win his heat and advance to Round 2.

Marama Tokong of Siargao Island

The swell is expected to fill in tomorrow and allow the Round 2 contestants to get their chance at some Cloud 9 tubes, so Contest Director Gerry Degan informed them at the end of today’s competition that they should be standing by and ready to compete at 6:00 am in the morning.

Stay tuned for the exciting action that will continue at the Philippines oldest running surfing event that is now on the ASP’s schedule for the first time in history.


The 2014 Siargao International Surfing Cup is a co-sanctioned 1-star ASP Men’s World Qualifying event and a ASC Grade 4 event that will run from 24 - 28 September 2014 and boasts US$15,000 Prize Money.  

The 20th Siargao International Surfing Cup is presented by the MVP Group of Companies and Manila Mining Corporation, with event organizers the Municipality of General Luna and Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte) and support by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the Philippine Department of Tourism, Cloud 9 Boardriders Club and Fluid Surf.

The event is sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals and the Asian Surfing Championships with the assistance of the Philippine Surfing Federation.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 the Asian Region.



The attached images are royalty free for editorial use only, no commercial rights granted. The copyright is owned by the Asian Surfing Championships. ONLY LOW RES WATERMARKED IMAGES MAY BE POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WITH THE APPROPRIATE PHOTO CREDIT. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.