PILAR, Siargao Island, Philippines — More than 100 professional anglers from the Philippines and different countries in the world will compete in the 12th Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament that officially opened on Thursday, April 11 in Pilar town.
The opening ceremony of the five-day annual water sports competition was led by Surigao del Norte Governor Sol F. Matugas, Surigao del Norte 1st District Representative Francisco Jose “Bingo” F. Matugas, Department of Tourism Caraga Region (DOT-XIII) Regional Director Ma. Ana T. Nuguid, former Governor Francisco “Lalo” Matugas, and Pilar town Mayor Atty. Maria Liza G. Resurreccion.
Of the 100 professional anglers who registered for this year’s competition, 29 are from the Philippines, while the other competing participants are from Canada, the US, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Egypt, and Australia, data from DOT-XIII said.
The agency also took note of the increase of the competitors this year compared as compared to 65 professional anglers who joined in 2018.
The categories of the tournament include the Biggest Sailfish Category with a minimum size of 15 kilograms, the Biggest Giant Trevally locally known as Talakitok Category with a minimum size of 3 kilograms, the Biggest Tanguige Category with minimum size of 5 kilograms, and the Biggest Dorado Category with the minimum size of 5 kilograms.
In his message during the opening ceremony, Representative Matugas expressed joy as he welcomed all the participants and visitors to the annual event.
He emphasized that among the priorities he is now working in the lower House is to fast-track developments in Siargao Island through sports tourism.
He cited that Siargao Island hosts two international sports every year, the surfing tournament in General Luna town and the international game fishing in Pilar.
“Indeed, there is no place like Siargao and we Siargaonons are extremely blessed to have this piece of paradise as our home. Fortunately for the tourists, we chose not to keep our beautiful island to ourselves. But as we open our home island to more tourists and as we continue to host sports events such as this, we hope that our tourists and guests will also help us protect and preserve this paradise not just for us but also for our future visitors,” Matugas said.
In an interview, Regional Director Nuguid expressed confidence more professional anglers from in the Philippines and other countries will continue to compete in the annual game fishing tourney in the coming years.
She said DOT is continuously working with the local government of Surigao del Norte in the promotions of the water sports activities in Siargao Island with the aim of encouraging more tourists to come and join the annual competitions, game fishing, and surfing.
In line with the mandate of tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DOT-XIII is also pushing for sustainable tourism in Siargao Island and other tourism destinations in Caraga Island.
“Based on our mandate, we are now pushing to make this yearly international game fishing competition in Siargao create other livelihood opportunities for our fisherfolks in the area,” Nuguid said.
She said DOT and local government units in Siargao Island are now encouraging communities to formulate development plans for sustainable tourism.
“Pilar town must not only focus on game fishing. There must be other livelihood activities out of this water sports competition to provide economic opportunities to fisherfolks and other residents in the area,” Nuguid said.
She added that DOT would fully support the formulation and implementation of these development plans.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Surigao del Norte has also assured participants and visitors of their safety during the five-day fishing tournament.
The local government has already mobilized tourist police forces as well as the other security sectors in the area to ensure the safety and security of all guests and competitors during the event. (davaotoday.com)