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Siargao bounces back from Odette, but politics stymie tourism 

by Anne Ronquillo

Recently updated on July 17, 2023 03:10 pm

SIARGAO — A teardrop shaped Island is globally-renowned for its best surfing break in this part of Asia with its world-class barreling waves of Cloud Nine in the town of General Luna, cementing its name as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. 

When surfing was introduced  by an American surf legend Max Walker a.k.a. (John Bouyum) roughly three decades back, it turned to be a popular sport in the island and since then, Siargao has become the venue of major surfing tournaments participated by world renown surfing personalities. 

Surfing bolster the island’s economic activity and it boils down to become one of the country’s lucrative and enterprising tourist destinations, with its peculiar diversity of inherent natural attractions. 

Due to massive arrivals of tourists from both domestic and foreign and by the enthusiasm by various investors, back to back resort’s developments been made including the construction of high-end accommodations in a short span of time — caters both back-packers and high class tourists. 

 But everything seemed to stop when Covid-19 pandemic hit the globe. Massive restrictions prevented most travels which greatly affects the booming tourism industry of Siargao.  

Adding up the injury experienced by the Siargaonons brought by global health crisis, the last year’s “Super Typhoon Odette” scored much which directly hit the island, causing tremendous damages to agriculture aqua marine resources, infrastructures and residential houses which had collapsed Siargao’s physical identity to almost 100 percent. 

Both the series of calamities crippled the islands economy which has sighted as next to impossible for Siargao to recover back to its glory. 

But because of people’s relentless belief on resiliency and survival attitude – with the help of the private sectors donating goods, construction materials and others, in just a matter of eight months of rebuilding and reconstruction of basic infrastructures including the resorts, the island has slowly recovered which by now — is already estimated to 80 percent recovery. 

As visitors have begun to return back, the local economy is now gradually pump-priming to its heights where Siargao originally belonged before the pandemic and Odette. 

The new provincial leadership under Surigao del Norte governor Robert Lyndon Barbers as well has committed strongly in helping local tourism related businesses recover swiftly by providing financial support  and other support systems available. 

These local developments jived with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s commitment in revitalizing the tourism sector in all fronts mainly the country’s primary destinations like Palawan, Boracay, Cebu and others including the calamity stricken Siargao.   

The president has expressed optimism that the Department of Tourism (DOT) is in the right direction under the leadership of Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco. 

“The industry will experience a successful revival after the pandemic and other natural calamities because the country’s greatest asset is not just its physical  and natural resources but also — its people”, Marcos said.



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