A surfer in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. (Photo courtesy of Borongan City information office)

TACLOBAN CITY – Borongan City in Eastern Samar is giving out PHP1.1 million in prizes, the biggest cash prize in the country's surfing competition history, as the city will host the National Surfing Competition for the third time, the local government announced on Thursday.

Borongan City information officer Rupert Ambil announced this during the National Surf Summit in San Fernando City, La Union.

The top prize for both the longboard and shortboard categories is set at PHP 80,000 for the 1st placer, PHP50,000 for the 2nd placer, and PHP25,000 each for two 3rd placers.

Additionally, four 5th placers and eight 9th placers will receive PHP10,000 and PHP5,000, respectively.

In the groms (young surfer) division, a surfing category for those aged 18 years and below, winners will receive PHP20,000 for the 1st placer, PHP15,000 for the 2nd placer, and PHP8,000 each for the two 3rd placers.

Ambil said the competition would “close the gap” between the prize money received in the Men's and Women’s Divisions by giving the same amount to winners from both categories.

“The city government of Borongan, along with its stakeholders, would like to make a statement during the Surf in the City Festival. This is the first surfing competition where the prize for both Men’s and Women’s Division(s) will be equal,” Ambil said during the summit.

Dubbed Surf in the City, the annual sports festival will gather the best surfers from all over the country as they compete for the third leg of a national surfing competition sanctioned by the United Philippine Surfing Association, the national sports body for surfing in the country.

Surf in the City is set to be held from November 26 to December 3 and is jointly organized by the Borongan city government headed by Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda, the provincial government of Eastern Samar headed by Governor Ben P. Evardone, and the Office of Rep. Maria Fe Abunda of Eastern Samar’s lone legislative district.

The successful hosting of the annual surfing competition, according to Ambil, has drawn tourists to Borongan City and Eastern Samar.

The rise in tourism arrival has convinced a commercial airline to open a direct flight route from Manila to Borongan City starting November 25, a day before the kick-off of the surfing event.

“I am grateful to our local government’s leadership for their unwavering and united support for this sports movement. We hope that this will become a template for other sports, as well as a great foundation (for) our vision to professionalize surfing and produce the next Filipino surfing athlete who will bag medals in the Olympics,” Ambil added.

“We are excited to welcome back our surfers from around the Philippines. We look forward to sharing with them our beautiful and clean surfing playground, along with the usual Boronganon hospitality and top-notch events organization,” Agda said in a statement. (PNA)