The coastal town of Lanuza in Surigao del Sur emerged as the new surfing haven of Mindanao with the successful conclusion of the 15th Lanuza Surfing Festival.
The tournament is the second leg of the Philippine Surfing Cup Tournament which goes around the country’s surfing circuit in search for national athletes who will compete in the Asian Games in 2018 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Located at the mouth of Doot Poktoy River, the Surfing Paradise spot is noted for having one of the country’s longest right hander waves on the Pacific Ocean seaboard.
According to Lanuza Mayor Salvacion Azarcon, the sporting event aims to make the town as the surfing haven and sports adventure tourism spot in mainland Caraga region. She said that the tourney is an avenue to promote the town’s attractions such as Magkawas Falls, Campamento Cave, Marine Sanctuary, and the Herrera Ancestral House which make Lanuza a consummate eco-tourism getaway.
In addition to Doot Poktoy, the town still has pockets of lesser known surf spots known only to avid waveriders.
The weeklong surfing fest included fringe activities such an agri-aqua trade fair, coastal cleanups, evening concerts, beach dance contests, surfing clinics, and the Miss Surfing Lanuza pageant which selected Kylah Sanchez of Cebu City as the town’s ambassadress of goodwill and tourism.
Waveriders from Baler and Siargao defied the odds and came up with upset victories as they topped the recent tourney.
19-year old Neil Sanchez of Baler delivered the biggest surprise by topped the Men’s Shortboard Open (Grade 2), who is just in his second national tournament, walking away with the P 80,000 grand cash prize.
He edged Philmar Alipayo of Siargao, a grizzled veteran of various national and international cups, who settled for second place. Jay- R Esquivel of La Union and PJ Alipayo of Siargao were on equal third place.
Longboard Men’s Open (Grade 1), newcomer Mark Aguila of Baler broke into the winning circle to grab top honors and the P 50,000 prize.
Home-grown Loinex Ruina showed his mastery of Lanuza’s waves as he bagged second place, followed by La Union’s Benito Nerida and Jeff dela Torre who were tied at third.
In the women’s category, surfers from Siargao dominated the field with Nilbie Blancada, regarded as the top Filipina surfer, leading the charged in the Women's Shortboard Open (Grade 1). Fresh from her stint at an international cup in Bali, she duplicated her last year’s feat.
Diane Nogalo, and Pinky Alipayo and Jolina Uriarte won second and third places, respectively.
Meanwhile, Daisy Valdez of La Union Women's Longboard Open (Grade 1) made a successful defense of her first place win last year, edging perennial rival Ikit Agudo of Siargao.
Strengthening Siargao’s dominance were Aping Agudo and Maricel who shared third honors.
It was a shutout in the Grommet (under 16 Division) for Siargao as it bagged all the awards with Gabriel Lerog as champion, and Christian Araquiel and John Carlos Nogalo, as runners-up. Aram Laudes of Lanuza salvaged local pride as he shared third place finish.
Organized by the Municipality of Lanuza, the annual event is supported by the Department of Tourism, Province of Surigao del Sur, Pichay Initiative, Office of Sen. Sonny Angara, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, San Miguel Corp. and Skyjet.
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