Wake Up, Philippines!

Cagayan North eyed as Asia’s windsurfing capital

Posted in DOT, Tourism by Erineus on February 16, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Tourism officials and adventure aficionados have discovered an idyllic windsurfing destination in the northeastern part of Luzon, which is fast emerging as a water sports destination.

A joint team from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the private sector recently explored Anguib beach, its white beach and crystal clear waters in Sta. Ana town, Cagayan province, and found the area perfect for windsurfing, which is fast gaining popularity in the country, thanks to foreign and local enthusiasts.

“Hands down Anguib beach is a lot better than Bulabog Beach on Boracay island,” said Manny Cabili, president of the Philippine Windsurfing/Kitesurfing Association (PWA).

Cabili described Anguib beach as “Boracay 30 years ago, with clear blue waters and white sand.” Anguib also has better, wider and bigger reef protected by a lagoon.

Bulabog Beach, stretching along the east coast side of Boracay has become too crowded for surfers, and is full of sea urchins. Construction activities have also spoiled the natural beauty of the beach.

Anguib, which is surrounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean and on the north by the Babuyan Channel, is touted as the next best site for wind and kite surfing in Asia, because it has consistent wind (amihan or northeast winds from November to March). It also has flat water that gives surfers better environment to enjoy.

It shall be noted that wind, flat water and seamanship are the three key factors that surfers have to look for in a good place for the water sports.

The northern coastal town of Sta. Ana, which is a part of the 54,000-hectare Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, is also a popular fishing mecca, because of the abundance of huge game fish in its waters.

Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab and Department of Tourism regional director Blessida Diwa led the soft launching of the windsurfing exhibition on Jan. 23 and 24.

“The windsurfing activity will definitely build capacity of tourism in the region,” said Diwa.

The windsurfing event, co-organized by officials of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), drew participation from both local and international windsurfers.

“This is a new window of opportunity to boost sports tourism in the country,” said Palabyab. “This is a good way of increasing our capacity in frontier and adventure tourism.”

Palabyab said promoting windsurfing in Cagayan North is aligned with DOT’s campaign to promote the countryside that offers alternative sites and activities, in addition to the usual tourism offerings.

Sta. Ana town in Cagayan North is 642 kilometers or 12 hours away by car from Manila. From the coastal village of San Vicente, one has to ride a boat to get to Anguib beach and several other popular eco-tourism destinations such as Palaui Island and Gotan beach.

Cagayan Valley ranks as the seventh top regional destination for tourists in the country. In 2008, it generated P1.6 billion in tourist receipts from the arrivals of 670,000 visitors, including 32,000 foreign tourists.

About half of the tourists in the region go to Cagayan province, which is one of the largest in the country, while the rest visit Batanes, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Quirino.

Sta. Ana has also been attracting international visitors because of its distinction as Asia’s first and only interactive gaming jurisdiction, set in motion by CEZA when it transformed Port Irene into a Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

Link: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=439302&publicationSubCategoryId=206
Updated February 11, 2009 12:00 AM

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