New airport to open near Siargao, the country’s surfing capital

10/19/08 SIARGAO ISLAND, Philippines – An airport is set to open near Siargao next year, allowing both foreign and local tourists to fly straight from Manila to the Philippines’ surfing capital.
Located in Del Carmen municipality, the Sayak Airport is currently being upgraded to meet international standards, local officials told Manila-based reporters. Del Carmen is near General Luna municipality in Siargao, where the famed “Cloud 9″—a big wave favored by surfers—usually occurs. Costing an estimated P60 million, the airport upgrade involves extending the runway by 150 meters to comply with safety requirements. 
Funds for the project were sourced from the national government since the tarmac extension is one of the many commitments promised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a State of the Nation Address. 
Besides being expected to be fully operational early next year, Philippine Airlines has already made a promise to mount Manila-Surigao City-Siargao flights, Ping Espejon, General Luna mayor told reporters. 

Asian Spirit is also looking to serve Sayak airport.

Foreign tourists generally prefer to fly straight to Siargao rather than changing planes to reach the destination, Romeo Edillor, the province’s tourism operations officer said.

Currently, the entire Surigao del Norte province—where Siargao is located—is visited by 120,000 foreign and local tourists, many of whom participate in Siargao’s national and international surfing competition every September.

This year, a local, 20-year Edito Alcala bested 47 foreign nationals from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and the US. He was given $7,500 as prize money and Surigao del Norte province gave him another P100,000 as a bonus.

Espejon also said that to further boost the reputation of Siargao as a prime tourist destination, General Luna is cooking up other activities such as kayaking, wakeboarding, and scuba-diving, to attract other visitors besides surfers. - GMANews.TV

2,143 preschoolers benefit from FSP during PGMA Caravan in Siargao

10/14/08 Dapa, Surigao del Norte — 2,143 preschoolers in the five municipalities of Siargao Island gladly received their 1 kilo iron-fortified rice from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) through their Food for School Program (FSP) this morning, October 14 at PPA Port in Dapa, Surigao del Norte.

The distribution of 1 kilo of rice to the school children is in consonance with the People’s Government Mobile Action (PGMA) Serbisyo Muna Caravan currently conducted in Siargao Island.

DSWD Regional Director Mercedita Jabagat in an interview with PIA said that their agency allotted P1,254,000 for this program in Siargao Island.

The said subsidy is good for 29.5 days and will cater only to the five municipalities of Siargao Island namely; Del Carmen, San Benito, San Isidro, Pilar and Socorro, Jabagat concluded.

The FSP is under the Arroyo government’s Accelerated Hunger Mitigation program and is jointly implemented by the DSWD, DepEd, National Food Authority, and the local government units, where pre-schoolers and grades 1-3 pupils each receive a kilo of rice for each day of attendance in school. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Thousands flock to PGMA Caravan in Siargao

Dapa, Surigao del Norte — Some 2,583 residents from all over the island of Siargao benefited from the medical and dental services, one of the activities conducted during the two-day People’s Government Mobile Action (PGMA) Serbisyo Muna Caravan of government line agencies and non-government organization with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as lead agency held simultaneously in the towns of Gen. Luna and Dapa yesterday, October 13, 2008.

During the caravan, DoH CARAGA Regional Director Dr. Leonita Gorgolon awarded the buntis kits to the pregnant women beneficiaries.

On the other hand, the Technical Education Skills & Development Authority distributed Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) scholarships to 89 students of Siargao Island Institute of Technology (SIIT) and scholarships coupons to the Local Chief Executives in the 9 municipalities.

A total of 40 recipients graduated from TESDA for their carpentry and masonry were also given recognition yesterday.

TESDA Surigao del Norte Provincial Director Rodrigo de Villa, expressed gratitude to the people of Siargao for the warm reception accorded to the activity.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Dapa (DENR-CENRO) distributed free patent titles to the beneficiaries of Del Carmen. While the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. distributed 900 Philhealth cards to the indigent families. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)

PGMA Serbisyo Muna Caravan goes to Del Carmen, San Isidro

10/14/08 Dapa, Surigao del Norte — The People’s Government Mobile Action (PGMA) Serbisyo Muna Caravan will conduct once again its well received government services in the municipalities of Del Carmen and San Isidro today, October 14, 2008.

Yesterday, October 13, 2008, the PGMA Team visited simultaneously the municipalities of Dapa and Gen. Luna.

As early as 7:00 am yesterday, the people trooped the venue for the Serbisyo Muna in Gen. Luna Parish and in PPA Port, Dapa to avail for the medical and dental services of the Department of Health. Each patient underwent consultation and check-up which were provided with free medicines courtesy from PCSO and PAGCOR.

At the Gen. Luna Parish, 1st District Rep. Francisco Matugas in his short message explained to the people the programs currently implemented by the Arroyo Administration and the services offered in the caravan.

Matugas urged the Siargaonons to take advantage of the benefits being provided by the national government. He also thanked the President for choosing Siargao as one of the recipients of the caravan. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Siargao: Surfers’ paradise in Asia

10/2/08 - Siargao is set to become Asia’s next surfing destination. It is truly one of the world’s great frontiers for surf exploration.

Siargao Island is politically under the jurisdiction of Surigao del Norte, a province located at the northeastern portion of Mindanao.

It can be described as a tropical jewel that hosts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and home of wave surfing, the latest sport and tourist attraction to take the country by storm.Siargao is a teardrop-shaped island situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila. It has a landmass of approximately 437 kilometers. The east coast is relatively straight with one deep inlet –Port Pilar with a coastline marked by a succession of reefs, small points and white sandy beaches.

The best-known surfing break, now with a world reputation of being in the top Surfing Waves in the world, is nicknamed “Cloud Nine.” But there are literally scores of breaks down the coast, and every time a surfing expedition is mounted in the area, more new breaks are being discovered.

Some of the main breaks around the General Luna area starting from the south and working northward along the coast are as follows:

– Pansuquian Reef, which is an open ocean right-hand break just 20 minutes by banca south of General Luna. The reef needs a swell of two meters or more to work and is not as intense as most waves in the area. When it is big, it has a great inside barrel section. However, one has to keep watch of strong currents.

– Cloud Nine is a world-class right hand break that offers machine-like barreling perfection. It works on any swell when there is a southwest wind, but works at its best from two to three meters. The waves are big, thick peak that rises abruptly, hallows out and breaks heavily in just two meters of water. When the swell is from the right-hand direction, the peak produces an equally left break. This is a dream wave with phenomenal tropical setting.Cloud Nine was surfed in the early 1800s by explorer Mike Boyum who pioneered Grajagan.

– In Tuason Point, there are long powerful left-hand breaks on a shallow reef at the base. In bigger swells, expect a board’s snapping power. This intense reef situation is for experienced surfers only. Tuason Point works well at any size swell, but is best at two to three meters, similar to Ulu Watu’s “Race-track.”

– Rock Island is another right-hand break. The swell warps around the base of a small rock island about 1.5 km. offshore. It hallows out and bowls over into superb high-speed section that will sometimes deliver 200-meter rides.

– Neil Spot is a well-shaped right-hand break at the base of a small island near the town of Pilar. It is protected from big swell and northeast winds so the waves are usually 40% smaller than the outer reef breaks like the Cloud Nine. It is a good alternative when the outer swells like Cloud Nine.

– La Janosa Island is the first island you come to after crossing the channel and one of the very few that is inhabited. There are some fun lefts in front of La Jonosa and some powerful lefts on the east coast.

– Antokan Island is a perfect left wraps 180 degrees around tiny Antokan Island. Large swell is needed before it breaks clearly.The breaks are least powerful and fun change from the usual death and glory of the bigger waves. There are also right-hand break on the opposite side of the Island.

These are just only few of the documented breaks in the area that would surely provide surfer with some of the best waves of one’s life.

Besides the surfing areas, Siargao Island is endowed with many tourist attractions. Only few of these potential spots are developed such as the famous white sand beaches and long stretches of surfing waves at General Luna.

Also beautiful beaches of Union, Dapa, Hanoyoy, Daku and Guyam Islands; at Socorro, the Punyaqui White Beach, the enchanting and exotic Suhoton Cave with its hidden blue lagoons and the breathtaking waters of Magkayuyog Falls; in Pilar the magnificent Magpopongko Rock formation; Poneas Island with its hilltop lake found in Del Carmen; Pook Amoya White Beach; Burgos and Taktak Falls at Sta. Monica are various potential sites in the island.

The most striking physiographic features of Siargao are the limestone areas, particularly in Kangbangyo and Poneas islands.

These islands appear to be a combination of the haystack hills of Bohol and El Nido or the regularity of the Chocolate Hills. (PNA)

Philippine’s Alcala claims Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational

Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational 10/1/08

Philippine’s Edito Alcala Wins Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational In Perfect Barrels

Philippines surfer Edito ‘Peso’ Alcala is the new king of Cloud 9 after defeating the world’s best tube riders to win the prestigious Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational at the remote island of Siargao in the Philippines. Cloud 9, an ultra perfect right hand reef break, lived up to expectation, serving out epic 2-2.5 metre barrelling waves for the final day of competition surfing.

Local ace Alcala, who learned to surf at the revered break, rode barrel after perfect barrel to beat defending title holder Wade Goodall (Caloundra, Qld, Aus) in a tight 35-minute man-on-man final. “I’m so happy,” said Alcala, who surfed away with $7,500 (USD) for his efforts. “It’s a dream come true to win this event and beating the reigning champion in the final makes it that much more sweeter. I’m stocked.”

But 20-year-old Alcala didn’t have it all his own way in the final, having to fight back from a slow start to take home a last-minute victory over Goodall in front of a vocal Philippines crowd. Sitting in second with two minutes to go and with priority, Alcala jagged a set wave before weaving through the belly of a Cloud 9 cavern to jag a heat-winning 9.43 ride. Alcala finishing on a final two wave combined total of 18.16-points to Goodall’s 17.77.

“I wasn’t expecting that last wave to come through,” he said. “I could tell it was a good one when it barrelled all the way down the reef. All my friends were in the channel watching and were hooting me after I flicked off. I just knew that I got the score.”

Sunshine Coast star Goodall, who heads home with $4,500 (USD) for his runner-up placing today, couldn’t replicate the barrel riding performance that saw him take out last year’s event and was clearly disappointed with the end result.

“I wanted it really badly,” said Goodall. “He was chasing me the whole final so I new if a good wave came that he was going to get it because he’s so good in the pit out there. It’s bittersweet really.” Earlier in the day, Goodall posted the event’s only 10-point ride in the first semi-final. Tucking into a Cloud 9 beast, Goodall came flying out before taking to the sky with a radical aerial manoeuvre to be awarded the perfect ride.

Edito Alcala : photo Jake White

“When we woke up the heats were running super early and the waves were just pumping,” said Goodall. “It was an unexpected swell. No one knew it was coming and it seemed to get better throughout the morning, especially in my semi-final.” Finishing in equal third today was Hawaii’s Granger Larsen, who was eliminated by Goodall in semi-final one, and Indonesia’s Lee Wilson, who went down to Alcala in a closely fought semi two.

What separates the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational from standard competitive surfing is that invited contestants are involved in deciding what conditions they will surf in. With only two full days required to finalise the competition and a seven-day competition window, organisers have the luxury to wait for ideal conditions in which to run the event during Cloud 9’s prime swell period.

Due to Siargao’s proximity to the Philippines, big swells from the Pacific Ocean roll in from the second deepest stretch of water in the world to create flawlessly hollow waves. The Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational is proudly supported by the Provincial Government of Surigao Del Norte with support from the Department of Tourism Philippines. (globalsurfnews)

Surfing Video

About Siargao

Siargao is composed of 48 islands and islets-politically divided into nine municipalities: Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, Gen. luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro, Santa Monica, and Socorro. Read more...

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