SIARGAO SURFING. Mayor Sol Matugas (center) of General Luna town in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte province, announces the staging of the First Mayor Sol’s National Surfing Competition and the hosting of the 26th Siargao International Surfing Cup on Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 and Oct. 15 to 21, respectively, during a press conference Friday (Sept. 16, 2022) at the Cloud 9 Tourism Center. Mayor Matugas is joined by former Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas (right) and General Luna Vice Mayor Romina Rusillon-Sajulga in the press briefing. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island – The upcoming First Mayor Sol’s National Surfing Competition and the hosting of the 26th Siargao International Surfing Cup are expected to boost continuing recovery and rehabilitation efforts on the island.

In a press conference here Friday, General Luna Mayor Sol Matugas said all is set for the staging of the two big surfing events: the Mayor Sol’s National Surfing Competition on Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, and the International Surfing Cup from Oct. 15 to 21.

“The Mayor Sol’s cup, sanctioned by the United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA), will be a qualifying event for the 26th International Surfing Cup,” the mayor said.

The surfing events are being supported by the office of Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II of the 1st District of Surigao del Norte.

Competitions in the nation’s surfing capital have been stalled since 2020 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in December last year.

In a statement, UPSA president Jose Raul Canlas said the Mayor’s Cup will serve as a feeder to the 2022 World Surfing League international event.

A total of PHP1.5 million worth of prizes await the winners of the Mayor Sol’s Cup, to be participated in by around 200 professional surfers from Siargao Island and other parts of the country.

“These two big surfing events will help not only General Luna town but the rest of the municipalities in Siargao Island recover from the devastation of Typhoon Odette and the losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Matugas said.

General Luna is one of the most affected areas when typhoon Odette hit Surigao del Norte last year, incurring damage of PHP1.3 billion, based on an assessment by the provincial government.

Among the affected tourism infrastructures was the Cloud 9 Tourism Center in the town which incurred PHP30 million in damage.

Some 2,741 tourism workers in the town were also displaced by the calamity.

“The people in General Luna and the rest of Siargao Island are glad that surfing is back. This will draw more visitors and tourists and help bring back life to businesses and other tourism-related activities here,” Matugas said.

Data provided by the Department of Tourism in the Caraga Region (DOT-13 showed 9,249 tourist arrivals in Siargao Island during the first semester of this year, of which 8,245 were domestic visitors.

For the international surfing event next month, 64 men and 40 female professional surfers from different countries have booked to join the competition.

“The 26th Siargao International Surfing Cup will also serve as the venue of the First International Women Surfing Competition,” said former Governor Francisco Matugas in the same press conference.

He added that the required funding for the international event amounting to US$100,000 has been settled with the support of sponsors from the private sector.

“The San Miguel Corporation sponsored the funding requirement by donating US$110,000,” the former governor said.

The funds will be used for the prizes, salaries of the judges, and other miscellaneous expenses, he added.

Mayor Matugas said other private companies and businesses also pledged their support to the surfing competitions through advertising and promotions. (PNA)