BIG WINNER. Former Surigao del Norte governor Francisco Matugas (3rd from right) awards the grand prize to Santiago Gonzales (4th from right), who emerged as the big winner during the awarding ceremony on Sunday evening (April 23, 2023) at the conclusion of the 13th Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament in the town of Pilar, Siargao Island. Local officials joined Matugas during the ceremony. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

PILAR, Siargao Island – A homegrown angler from this host town emerged as the big winner of the three-day 13th Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament here.

The watersport competition, which took place from April 21-23, ended with local resident Santiago Gonzales garnering a total catch of 102.7 kilos and the biggest catch of a 41-kilo blue marlin.

Gonzales bagged the PHP100,000 grand prize under the Biggest Billfish Category of the event while his boatman, Abeth Castillo, got PHP20,000.

Another Filipino angler, Weebert Keefee from Surigao City clinched the second spot in the category with his 38.4-kilo  sailfish catch.

In third place was Jesus Manubag, a Filipino angler based in Dubai, who caught a 19.7-kilo sailfish.

Both Keeffee and Manubag received  PHP40,000 and PHP25,000, respectively.

In the biggest trevally category, Canadian angler Dave Sharpe won with his 6.7-kilo catch with Filipino angler Danilo Espinile trailing him with his 4.3-kilo catch.
Sharpe won PHP10,000 under the category while Espinile went home with a PHP7,500 prize.

Three Filipinos also ruled the Biggest Tanguige Category with Marfin Tan from General Santos City on the top spot with his 11.4-kilo catch, followed by Santiago Gonzales of Pilar with a 9-kilo catch, and Weebert Keefee of Surigao City who snatched 8.9 kilos.

The winners went home with PHP20,000, PHP15,000, and PHP10,000 prize pots, respectively.

The Biggest Others Category of the event was topped by Canadian angler Dave Sharpe with his 30.2-kilo Oil fish catch; followed by his son, Richard Sharpe with 27.4 kilos; and Julio Castro from Bacolod City with his 7.6-kilo Barla fish catch.

The three won PHP20,000, PHP15,000, and PHP10,000 prizes, respectively.

Former Governor Francisco Matugas, recognized as the “Father of Siargao Game Fishing Tournament” led the awarding ceremony on Sunday evening, together with Department of Tourism in Caraga Regional Director Ivonne Dumadag, and Pilar town Mayor Maria Liza Resurreccion.

“We are on our way to recovery as the international events start to unfold in Siargao Island,” Matugas said, as he thanked the anglers who joined the event.

Thirty-one professional anglers participated in the game fishing tourney with two from Japan, three from Canada, and one from Germany and the United Kingdom. (PNA)