ZAMBALES  EYED  AS  NEXT  MAJOR  SURFING  MECCA

MANILA, March 22, 2006 (MALAYA) RECOGNIZING surfing’s increasing popularity as an adventure sport in the Philippines, the Department of Tourism has tapped this adrenalin-pumping activity to boost local tourism and create livelihood opportunities in the countryside.

Together with Power Up, one of the country’s leading sports and fitness promoters, the DOT recently held a two-day surfing event in crystal Beach, San Narciso, Zambales to fully explore the area’s potential as a surfing event in Crystal Beach, San Narciso, Zambales to fully explore the area’s potential as a surfing destination.

According to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, one way of promoting travel around the Philippines is through sports and nature adventure, moreso that the country is blessed with a variety of land and water forms which offer a wide range of outdoor activities.

"Nowadays, most tourists, whether locals or foreigners, are looking for some kind of adventure. They are no longer content with just sitting around and admiring the sights around them. They want involvement; they want to have a real feel of the place and promoting our beaches, mountains, and other natural attractions as places where tourists can engage in various exciting activities will result in a heightened desire to travel to these destinations," Durano said.

Dubbed as "Surf of Freedom," the event is the first of a series of outdoor activities under "Road of Adventure ’06," a tour program aimed at educating Filipinos on the adventurous pursuits that they can embark on in some of the country’s leading destinations without the need for special equipment and extensive training and which do not require expensive fees. The two other activities consist of the "Turo-turo sa Montalban, Introduction to Rock Climbing" event and the "Manalmon Bouldering" in San Rafael, Bulacan scheduled this April and May, respectively.

"Filipinos are sure to find leisure activities in almost every destination in the country. More often than not, the playground is just right in front of them; they only have to become aware of it. Helping them gain awareness was exactly what we had in mind when we organized this road trip," Joey Cuerdo of Power Up enthused.

"Enjoying the outdoors also need not be expensive. One may opt to stick to the most basic form of lodging, which is the tent, and have his or her meals in the local restaurants. Cost of living and food preparation is certainly much lower in the province. A tourist will also send up supporting the local economy," he added.

Attended by over 100 outdoor enthusiasts, which consisted of college students and young professionals who wanted to experience the thrill of riding the waves, the surfing event included a short talk on how to catch the perfect wave and ride the surf, the dangers to watch for during surfing, and surfing etiquette among others; hands-on sessions: demos by local body boarders; and a concert by the beach.

Still emerging as a surfing destination, the waters of San Narciso are very ideal for starters, who need as less crowd as possible to master the sport. The province of Zambales is also only a three-hour bus-ride away from Manila, making it the closest surfing spot to the metropolis.

Those who would want to check out the surfs in San Narciso may get in touch with Dodo Ramos of Crystal Beach Resort and Campsite through telephone numbers 940 0781 and 941 9004 (Manila office) or send an email to dodoramos@yahoo.com.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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