Sunday, September 2, 2007

Boosts bid as surfing capital of Surigao town

Paradise Philippines: While the flow of tourists to the surfing town of Lanuza in Surigao del Sur remains slow, the opening of an airstrip in the neighboring town of Madrid is seen as a big boost to the tourism revenues of the entire area.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Philip Pichay said Lanuza, which faces the Pacific Ocean, has great waters ideal for surfing and a good number of Australian, American, Japanese and Korean tourists have already discovered the area, but the flow of tourists is hampered by the area’s inaccessibility.

Pichay said his brother, former Rep. Prospero Pichay, tried to remedy the situation by pushing for the construction of the airport at Madrid, and the incumbent congressman hopes it will boost the area’s bid to rival Siargao in the neighboring province of Surigao del Norte as the country’s surfing capital.

“Before, tourists who want to go to Lanuza had to go to Cebu, Butuan or Davao, where they get land or water transport to bring them there,” the incumbent lawmaker said. “Now, there will be direct flights.”

Although the airport can only accommodate small aircraft carrying a handful of people, Pichay said he hopes the airport will be completed before the end of the year, just in time for the 5th national surfing open that is scheduled to be held there in November.

He said the Paradise Philippines Tourism Authority has provided over P3 million so that the airport is completed in time for the tilt.

“The new airport will raise revenues for Lanuza and nearby towns and for local residents,” said Pichay. “With surfing being alive in Lanuza, business will thrive in the city.”

Aside from surfing, the Lanuza area also boasts of ecotourism destinations, like the Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary, Magkawas Falls, Lanuza Wetland Park and Mangrove Forest and Campamento Caves. Macon Ramos-Araneta

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