By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN CITY ˗ To keep the balance between promoting tourism and maintaining safety, the city government of Borongan said that all 203 surfers from six regions that gathered for the 2021 Surf in the City starting Monday are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The week-long Surf in the City is the first leg of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour. It is also the first national competition since the pandemic broke out.
City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda is hoping the event will serve as inspiration for the local youth to embrace the sport seriously so they can represent the country in major international events someday.
“A lot of people do not know where Borongan City is. We want to be known not only as a place where typhoons hit but also in terms of tourism, and produce national athletes,” he said.
The mayor, who has been advocating vaccination, noted that aside from following the minimum health standards, all participants are fully vaccinated and underwent antigen testing.
Rupert Ambil, the chairman of 2021 Surf in the City said despite the pandemic, the participants for this year’s event doubled with some even coming from Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Bicol, Davao, Caraga Region, and 40 percent from Eastern Visayas.
“Everyone wanted to see each other after two years. Other countries last year have already started legs of surfing already. We want to bring hope to all the surfers in the country,” he said.
National surfing athlete Philmar Alipayo from Siargao Island said he and his team of 16 young surfers drove for over 20 hours to join the competition.
“It’s our dream to join a national competition and since we learned that the rules are fair and organizers are good, we took the risk and came here,” Alipayo shared.