BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar – Surf City Borongan Masters got underway through an opening ceremony that featured speeches of local government leaders and the presentation of surfing teams at the Surf City Big Tent in Baybay Beach in Borongan City Friday evening.
Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda pointed out the impact of hosting the fourth leg of the NextGen Pilipinas Surfing National Tour in his keynote address, saying that it has helped raise the popularity of Borongan City as a surfing site which has given pride to the locals.
“The impact of this surfing [competition] in Borongan is very laudable, very important for our city because nalalagay na tayo sa mapa ng mga surfers in the country and, hopefully, we will be recognized also internationally. Maraming nakikinabang sa activity na ito, hindi lang ang ating surfers, hindi lang ang ating kabataan, hindi lang ang mga contestants, but the whole community of Borongan and the entire province. As well as ‘yung pride na naibibigay about Borongan, about the province of Eastern Samar, malaking bagay na ‘yun sa pride ng pagiging Boronganon. I hope we continue supporting this through and through,” said Agda.
Board member and surfing enthusiast PJ Evardone, who represented Eastern Samar governor Ben Evardone, likewise shared the provincial government’s dream for Eastern Samar to be the surfing capital of the Visayas and thus be among the top choices for surfing destinations in the country.
“Si governor Ben, kami sa provincial government, hindi kami magsasawa na sumuporta sa ganitong surfing events because we all share one vision for Eastern Samar and that is to make Eastern Samar the surfing capital of the Visayas,” said Evardone, who also noted how the province was the only one in the tour that hosted two legs this season, including Calicoan last September.
“Hopefully, in the next five to ten years from now, when people think of surfing, hindi lang La Union or Siargao ang iisipin nila. Iisipin din nilang pumunta sa ating minamahal na probinsya dito sa Eastern Samar,” added Evardone.
Meanwhile, Surf City chairman Rupert Ambil noted how the event highlights not just the sport but also the opportunities it creates for the whole community of Borongan as there is a trade fair for local microentrepreneurs that is held simultaneously with the tournament in the same venue.
“It’s not just about surfing anymore. It’s a whole community approach in creating opportunities not just for surfers but for everyone. Everyone is pitching in,” said Ambil, also the city information office head.
United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA) secretary general Gino Canlas, Jr. shared his appreciation for the city’s support for surfing.
“We are very proud and fortunate to have very progressive and supportive partners,” said Canlas, Jr. in a brief message.
Teams from Northern Samar, Palawan, Sorsogon, Surigao del Norte, Zambales, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Davao Oriental, Eastern Samar, Ilocos Sur, Leyte and La Union as well as sole participants from Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental were presented onstage.
Evardone, Tiu Sonco, Canlas, Ambil, the Borongan City councilors, provincial tourism officer Neil Pinarok and city tourism office officer-in-charge Marissa Acorin joined Agda in the ceremonial breaking of the board.
Vice mayor Emmanuel Tiu Sonco in his message shared Borongan City’s desire to continue hosting the event which is now in its fourth year.
“Sinisugurado natin na every year, hopefully, mapagbigyan pa rin tayo ng UPSA na every year may magaganap ditong surf competition sa Borongan. ‘Yun ang promise namin since 2019, pinagpapatuloy pa rin natin,” said Tiu Sonco.