Guiuan renews campaign to make it as a surfing capital

SURFING IN CALICOAN. The town mayor of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan, led in the opening of a surf competition at Calicoan Island on Saturday (Sept.16) with over 160 surfers from all over the country participating. Kwan hopes that the week-long event would help restore Calicoan as one of the country’s surfing capitals. (ROEL T.AMAZONA)

TACLOBAN CITY – About 165 surfers from all over the country are currently in Calicoan Island in Guiuan town, Eastern Samar province for the Calicoan Odyssey Waves, the 2nd leg of the Next Gen Pilipinas National Surfing Tour.

This is the first time that Guiuan is hosting a national event since 2019 as the government imposed travel restrictions imposed by the national government in 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan said that this is a good opportunity for them to start promoting Calicoan Island again as the surfing capital not just in Eastern Visayas but for the entire Visayas.

The local government unit of Guiuan is planning to re-launch their tourism program next month highlighting surfing as one of their main attractions for local, domestic, and foreign tourists to visit their municipality.

Located about 23 kilometers from the town proper, Calicoan’s eastern seaboard particularly the ABCD (Advance Base Construction Depot, a US Naval military base during World War II, is a surfing haven not just for locals but even tourists who are visiting the town.

Its reef breaks make it unique to other surfing destinations in the country. It has great left- and right-handed reef breaks between June and October.

But preparing the island for its relaunching as a surfing capital is not an easy task as several things need to be considered like infrastructure support and illumination of the road, according to the town mayor.

“At present, we were able to stall 25 solar-powered streetlights because it is costly, particularly along the ABCD beach,” Kwan said, adding that she hopes the provincial government will help them in this project especially since it will not only illuminate Calicoan but including Suluan Island which is one of the top pilgrimage destinations in Eastern Visayas.

Mayor Kwan added that aside from the surfing spots in Calicoan, the island’s western part facing the Leyte Gulf is a beautiful site for relaxation and other beach activities.
“We still need more support because our national tax allocation is very small from every sector and offices of the government,” Mayor Kwan added.

For the ongoing national surfing tour that will last for seven days, Mayor Kwan said that the LGU has allocated more than P900, 000 budget for the preparation and prizes for competitors with some private companies also donating relative to the competition.
Kwan is also thankful to Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda of Borongan City for assisting them, particularly in hosting United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA) members, especially in sponsoring their round-trip plane tickets for their national event in Calicoan.

This is the second leg of the national event which started in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte then will be followed by Baler, Aurora, then Borongan City, and will end in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur wherein the winner through a ranking system after all competition will be selected to become member of the national surfing pool UPSA Coach John Carby.

Before they are sent to international competition, they will be trained first by the pool of coaches from UPSA to upgrade their skills and be at par with surfers from other countries.
Helping UPSA and LGU Guiuan in the presentation of the Calicoan Odyssey Waves is the Tingog Party List and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, and sponsored by the provincial government of Eastern Samar through Gov. Ben Evardone, Rep. Fe Abunda of the lone district of Eastern Samar, Department of Tourism Region 8, Borongan City, and 4Ps party-list, among others.

This event is recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee. (ROEL T.AMAZONA)