UNDER THE SEA. This sand sculpture featuring a little mermaid and the richness of the sea of Candon won this year's first sand sculpting competition in Ilocos Sur on Tuesday (March 29, 2022). Organized by the City Government of Candon, the activity forms part of its fiesta celebration. (Photo by Leoncio Balbin Jr. )

CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur – A little mermaid under the sea won this year's pioneering sand sculpting contest in Candon, Ilocos Sur, besting nine other entries.

College instructor Joderick Tejada and his six teammates were still on cloud nine on Tuesday after getting the PHP25,000 cash prize courtesy of the Candon City government which initiated the activity.

"We really did not expect to win because it was our first time joining such [a] contest. We just happen to love the arts, that is why we joined," Tejada said in an interview.

The sand sculpting contest forms part of the many city fiesta activities of Candon to drum up the three-week-long 124th commemoration of the historic "Ikkis ti Candon" (Cry of Candon) which also coincided with Candon's 21st cityhood anniversary.

"We are very glad of the nice turnout of our city fiesta celebration under new normal conditions. It is a step in the right direction in our recovery path from the pandemic," Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson said on Tuesday.

Singson said under the new normal, the fiesta executive committee looked for new activities like sand sculpting, as some of the previous activities like street dancing and grand parade were scrapped this year.

The sand sculpting competition was held along the stretch of Darapidap Beach, just beside the coastal park and information center, a sprawling recreation area, and near the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College-Candon campus where Tejada teaches.

The competition’s theme was “under the sea.”

Tejada described their entry as "The little mermaid under the sea,” saying he got his concept from the 1989 animated Disney movie "Little Mermaid."

Aside from the mermaid sand sculpture in the middle, he and his team added creatures seen under the sea like a pufferfish, a sea turtle, a starfish, and a crab, all sculpted in the 20-square-meter area.

The team added a wrecked submarine to add more artistry to their entry.

It was a one-day competition that started at 8 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m., followed by the awarding ceremony and a fireworks display sponsored by the city government. (Story by Leoncio Balbin Jr./PNA)