1 billion pesos in investments being poured into ‘surfing capital’ in 2016

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews / 13 July) – More than one billion pesos in investments is being poured into this municipality in Siargao Island known as the “surfing capital of the Philippines.”

Mayor Jaime P. Rusillon told MindaNews on Tuesday that these are mostly tourism-related businesses.

He said one of the big ticket investments this year is the construction of a wakeboarding facility. “There is a corporation that purchased a large property early this year and they are set for the construction of the wakeboarding sports facility,” the mayor said, adding that he recently issued permit so the firm can start construction.

Wakeboarding is a sport wherein one rides a board similar to a surfboard and performing acrobatic maneuvers while being towed by a motorboat.

Aside from wakeboarding, other investments include purchases of land properties as well as building resorts and other tourism-related businesses.

“I’m hoping for more capital investments in the second half of the year,” Rusillon said.

He said that in the past few months, more than 20 new businesses with multimillion-peso investments have opened in the town.

“Resorts and restaurants have been sprouting like mushrooms, you can virtually see the boom of constructions around the town,” the mayor said.

Rusillon pointed out that in the last three years, more than a billion pesos from the tourism industry have been spent every year in the municipality.

General Luna’s resorts have already reached 80. The mayor noted that no other town in all of Caraga Region has this much number of resorts.

Rusillon said that the investments have great impact on the local economy, providing more job opportunities for residents.

“It trickles down to the local economy. This means more job opportunities in the town,” he added.

General Luna, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, is considered as the tourism hub of Caraga Region.

Foreign and local tourists who have been visiting the town from time to time have noticed how this island has been reshaped because of the influx of tourists.

“Local people relied much on fishing and coconut farming in the past 10 years. But now [Siargao] has transformed its economy solidly on tourism,” said British national George Kirk.

Rusillon pointed out that the farming sector has already been surpassed by the tourism industry in terms of income generated.