Billabong Extends Sponsorship Of Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational, New 3 Year Deal Announced

LEADING surf company Billabong is proud to announce its continued sponsorship of the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational in the Philippines.

The new, three-year deal ensures Billabong naming rights sponsorship of the Philippine's premier surfing event until 2012.

'Cloud 9' - a powerful, hollow right-hander has produced a smorgasbord of flawless, barrelling waves for the event since its inception in 2007, with a plethora of surf stars from around the globe sampling its delights.

In a major coup, the exclusive invitational event will offer a world-class field of 48 invited surfers a chance to compete for an upgraded US $30,000 prize pool from 2010.

Adding to their commitment, Billabong has also thrown their support behind the Philippine's National Surfing Titles, which are held the week leading into the prestigious Cloud 9 event.

Billabong SE Asia Marketing Manager Peter Thew says they're excited to be raising the profile of the prestigious tournament, whilst promoting surfing in the Philippines.

"The Cloud 9 Invitational is one of those special events and definitely an event we had no choice but to continue supporting," said Thew.

"It's exciting to be able to announce this deal, as it will see Billabong increasing the prize purse, but also taking on the Philippines Nationals to help the already rapid progression of the Philippine talent. Billabong is also immensely grateful for the continued support of the Government - without them this event would not be possible!"

Similarly, Provincial Governor Robert Ace S. Barbers said, "We are happy with the renewal of our contract with Billabong for another three years of engagement to stage the annual Siargao International Surfing Competition beginning year 2010 to 2012."

"Billabong gave us the opportunity to be internationally known as the host of the only recognized international surfing event in the country."

Contest director, Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said the deal is a major plus for the event.

"This event has been running for over 15 years now and this new deal is a testament to the unique and prestigious event that it is," he said.

"The event will attract the very best tube riders from around the world and put them in what is arguably the world's most perfect right hand tube."

Premier surfers to receive an invitation to the 2009 event include former world tour surfer Bruce Irons (Hawaii), Pipeline Master Jamie O'Brien (Hawaii), World Qualifying Series (WQS) shredder Owen Wright (Lennox Head, Aus), Australian big wave charger Laurie Towner (Yamba, Aus), Sunshine Coast sensation Julian Wilson (Coolum, Aus), Brazilian ace Jadson Andre and Hawaiian hotshot Dusty Payne.

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 flawless, hollow barrelling waves.

The 2009 tournament, which has a US $20,000 prize pool, will run from October 21-27, with 2 days of competition surfing across a seven-day event window.

The tournament contest site is Siargao Island's 'Cloud 9', a powerful, hollow right-hander that has been frequently compared to the renowned surf of Hawaii and Indonesia.

The Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational 2009 is proudly supported by Billabong, Province of Surigao Del Norte, Stoked Inc and Sagana Resort. (Billabong)

Inter-island race on nautical highway

MANILA, Philippines – The dream of a nautical highway, linking thousands of islands throughout the archipelago, is slowly taking shape.

For years, policy-makers have been talking about a waterborne transportation system that will facilitate cost-efficient flow of merchandise goods and unlock the huge potential for tourism offered by the country’s beautiful coastal towns.

The state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines, a strong supporter of this vision, is keen not just in funding key logistics projects but also in promoting roll-on roll-off (Ro-ro) ships as an attractive alternative for sightseeing backpackers.

Over the last four years, it has been holding “Ready Get Set Ro-ro” – an inter-island race patterned after the “Amazing Race” on cable television.

Every year, hundreds of young men and women vie for limited slots and get a shot at winning the P1-million grand prize. In that race, those lucky enough to join will get to sail to summer hotspots, meet new friends and watch their adventures aired on national TV.

This year’s six-day race saw 30 participants divided into 10 teams, drumming up attention in every port, from the time they boarded and disembarked from the Ro-ro to the execution of various mental and physical challenges.

Drinking in the local flavor

“This is, in fact, the essence of the race – to promote and boost trade and tourism through the use of the Ro-ro terminal system and the nautical highway,” DBP president Reynaldo David said during the awarding ceremonies of this year’s race held in May.

“The Ro-ro certainly appeals to tourists who want to make the most of their vacations. Not only is it cheap, but the Ro-ro allows tourists to visit as many cities and villages as they want, drink in the local flavor, steep themselves in the rich cultures and traditions of our provinces, enjoy the breathtaking scenery of our islands. They can just bring their car and park it inside a Ro-ro vessel,” he said.

Ro-ro vessels are designed to carry vehicles from one island to another. Automobiles, trucks and even railroad cars roll on or off the ship using ramps that are lowered when the vessel comes to port.

Traders may also get to reduce distribution costs by shipping their goods via Ro-ro vessels to any point in the country.

“It’s cheap, convenient and it certainly makes good business sense to ship your cargo rather than fly them, for instance,” David said. “This is the beauty of the Ro-ro, which we are highlighting through this inter-island race. With the Ro-ro, we are providing our countrymen with a cheap and convenient alternative to travel [these islands].”


This year, the competitors started the race in Siargao, the country’s surfing capital. Then they hopped to Surigao del Norte before heading north to Leyte. In the course of the six-day race, they had to board Ro-ro vessels no fewer than nine times to get to Cebu, Negros, Panay and Mindoro. Last stop was Batangas in Luzon.

This year’s grand prize was bagged by a team led by 32-year-old sportscaster/commercial model Reema Chanco. The two other members of her team “Beach Hotshots” were cousins Jamielyn Ira Dy, 23, and Jethro Lloyd Tan, 24.

Team “Aquaholics,” composed of Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Teen edition Season 2 finalist Josef Elizalde and running photographers Trisha Halili and Lea Aspe, clinched second place with P500,000. Team “Wave Catchers” with “Streetboys” member Danilo Barrios and Cebuano lawyers Mike Gatchalian and Tine Naranjo took third place for a P300,000 win.

Team “Summer Breezers” with “I love Betty La Fea” star Thou Reyes and girl buddies Chal Lontoc-del Rosario and Joei Calixto got fourth place, while fan favorite team “Fun Explorers” with surfer dudes JP and Aston Sarmiento and PBB Teen Edition housemate Nicole Uysiuseng came in fifth, taking home P75,000.

Other celebrity participants this year were former Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Season 1 housemate Cassandra Ponti, ABS-CBN artists Eda Nolan and Rodjun Cruz, Viva Hot Babe Hazel Cabrera, and Serena Dalrymple, a commercial model and former child star.

Catching crabs

From the opening ceremonies in Siargao, the teams raced to their first clue, mounted on top of poles which they had to climb. The clue led them to a fenced area where, in the Surigaonon tradition of harvesting crabs called “tikyabang,” the contestants had to catch 10 crabs.

From the crabbing pit, the teams had to race to the Siargao Inn for their next checkpoint There they had to eat 10 pieces of the local surfboard-shaped bread known as “Pan de Surf.” Then they’re off to the Jacking Horse surf site, where a team member had to paddle a long board.

Teams then rallied to the pit stop set at the Gen. Luna Church.

Day 2 was a long and event-filled day for the racers as they covered two legs.

After they were delayed for an hour in Ormoc due to a sudden downpour, the racers boarded the Super Shuttle Ferry to Camotes Island.

On board, they had to search the vessel for a set of puzzle pieces which they had to assemble to form a picture of the ferry.

Fish traps

Shortly after sunset, the racers landed on Camotes Island and took off for the next leg of the race. At the Buho Rock Resort, teams had to slide down to the pool, swim to the fish traps and transfer fish from the trap to their fish net. Then they had to climb back up to have the fish checked by a marshal before returning to the port for the pit stop.

The adventure continued in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, where teams had to run to the gymnasium and manually remove peanuts from their shells, and ride the “trisikad” to the People’s Park where they had to learn the basic steps of the Pintaflores Dance.

Then they had to race to city hall, which served as the pit stop for this leg of the race.

The island paradise of Boracay was the site of the fifth leg. The Caticlan port was the starting point for this leg, where racers had to ride the “paraw” from Caticlan to Station 2. There they had to paddle kayaks to three buoys to retrieve the money they would use to pay the entrance at Mt. Luho, the highest peak in Boracay.

Leg 6 was set in Matabungkay, where participants had to gulp down three cups of barako coffee at the local market, then wrestle with pigs for their next clue.

The race home

Then the teams had to get on a balsa and steer it to a point offshore before heading back to the beach.

From Matabungkay, Batangas, the five teams headed to Rizal Park for a final challenge.

Once at the park, the participants would have to trace the race route at the floating relief map of the Philippines.

After that, they proceeded to Reposo Street in Makati City for the final dash toward the pit stop at the DBP head office.

“More than the prize, it has been a rewarding experience to visit different provinces and get to know the people there and what they have to offer,” said Thou Reyes of team Summer Breezers.

The adrenaline rush, the heated competition, the camaraderie among participants, the breathtaking sights, the mouthwatering delicacies, the hospitality of local townsfolk and the adventure itself were just some of the things the participants would remember for a long, long time, David said.

The DBP executive is so pleased with the warm reception to this project that he wants to scale up the promotion of Ro-ro beyond the annual inter-island race.

He said the bank would soon publish pamphlets containing local inter-island Ro-ro routes, details on fares, island activities, suggested dining places and where to stay in a particular coastal hotspot.

By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Caraga Region tops national reading tests

The awardees in their gala uniforms flank President Arroyo and Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto SobrepeΓ±a. Behind them are (from left) Metrobank Foundation vice chair Placido mapa, FFCCCII president Alfonso Uy, PSBank president Pascual Garcia, Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona, Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Rotary Club of New Manila East president Noel Bongat, PNP chief Gen. Jesus Verzosa, Rizal Mayor Ramon Ilagan, Masbate Rep. Rizalina Lanete, and Sr. Eva Fidela Maamo.

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – Despite being a non-Tagalog speaking area, the Caraga Region in Mindanao topped the national reading test (RT) in Filipino conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The Reading Test (RT), utilizing appropriate reading evaluation instruments including actual oral reading, was administered to all Grade 3 pupils in over 30,000 public elementary schools in over 175 provincial and city schools divisions in l7 regions in consonance with DepEd’s “Every Child A Reader” (ECAR) program.

The program, initiated by the Bureau of Elementary Education (BEE), provides that every pupil should have acquired the basic skills in reading by the end of Grade 3.

Yolanda Quijano, BEE director, said the education department implemented the ECAR plan because of the importance of reading in the academic advancement of children not only in grade school but also in the secondary and tertiary levels.

DepEd statistics showed that Caraga registered the highest Mean Percentage Score (MPS) of 78.26 in the RT in Filipino.

Southern Tagalog-B (Mimaropa) registered an MPS of 74.52 while its twin region of Southern Tagalog-A (Calabarzon) got an MPS of 68.64 to place second and third, respectively.

Significantly, Caraga— composed of the schools divisions of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Butuan City, Siargao and Surigao City - also topped the national RT in English with an MPS of 77.88.

According to DepEd data, the other regions and their respective national reading examination MPS were: Ilocos, 69.59; Central Luzon, 66.09; Eastern Visayas, 64.45; Zamboanga Peninsula, 62.76; Cordillera Administrative Region, 60.38; Southern Mindanao, 56.57; National Capital Region, 55.95; Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 55.49; Northern Mindanao, 54.40; Central Visayas, 54.38; Bicol, 54.28; Central Mindanao, 54.05; Western Visayas, 52.30; and Cagayan Valley, 52.12. (philstar)

Siargao hosts Surigao’s 1st LGU summit

7/1/09 - At least 3,000 local government officials in the region, including village leaders, teachers and other officials of various line agencies of the government are scheduled to troop to the paradise island of Siargao to attend the 1st Siargao Local Governance and Education Summit early next month.

Officials said the aim of the summit is to help President Arroyo’s economic and development programs in the island.

Most of the discussions during the slated the summit will also focus on local governance of the mayors and the welfare of the teachers and the people of Siargao, and mainland Surigao City, said Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco T. Matugas.

The summit will be held at the newly constructed P46 million Dapa Convention Center where Mayor Peter “Boy” Ruaya will be the host on July 15.

Matugas already poured in some P20 million for the rehabilitation of the said convention center.

Invited guests and keynote speakers during the summit include Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Matugas said.

Other topics to be discussed during the summit is the concern of every village, schools in far-flung areas and establishing of new police station buildings, where the nine mayors will also present several resolutions addressed to Puno during the affair, he said.

In that summit, officials of the various local government units along with other officials from line agencies of the government will also review the current Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency and Employment Program (CLEEP) of the government, it was gathered.


Siargao on Cebu aviation firm’s tour list

7/1/09 - A Cebu-based aviation company has partnered with the Department of Tourism to provide aerial tours for those who want an alternative way of exploring Siargao island in the Caraga region.

Kenneth Madrid, executive vice president for sales and marketing of Aviatour, said the partnership is in line with the department's thrust to push adventure tourism in the region.

"We hope to see more tie-ups with other DOT regional offices after this partnership," Madrid told Cebu Daily News.

Tourism secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano said this development opens up Siargao and Caraga to more visitors.

"I have seen the tourism attractions of the area. Ang kuwang (What is lacking) is accessibility. The operation of Aviatour will provide the necessary access to the area and open up tourism traffic," said Durano.

Madrid said the DOT has coordinated with tour operators to sell the package.

He said tour packages to Siargao started last May 15. Introductory prices of flight tour is until September 15 for P3,750 to P7,500 per person for 30-minute to two-hour tour.

Package A gives tourists bird's eyeview of Butuan province and marshland, Lake Mainit and Sohoton Cove, while package B includes Surigao province, Lake Mainit and Sohoton Cove. Package C, on the other hand, includes Surigao and Lake Mainit.

The aerial tour started in 2000 catering to Korean honeymooners, said marketing officer Margaret Rose Veniegas.

Veniegas said demand for the flight tours increased with international tourists such as Russians, Japanese and Belgians comprise 80 percent of the market. About 20 percent are local tourists.

The Caraga region packages are the latest addition in the list of flight tours, which include Bohol, Mactan and neighboring islands of Pandanon, Nalusuan and Olango among others.

He said the company also offers "tailor-fit" tours according to the request of clients.

With the election year coming, Aviatour is expected to host several politicians and celebritiies who normally get services of the company for chartered flights.

Meanwhile, the company's flight school continues to get a steady flow of students from different countries such as Pakistan and other Arabian countries, said president and chief operating officer Jemar Bahinting

Bahinting said the quality of theory and practical training of the school gives them a competitive edge over other flight schools in the country.

There remains low awareness among Filipinos on the prospects of pursuing a career as a pilot, Bahinting said finding jobs for these graduates is another challenge. (cebu daily news)

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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