This town’s most popular water sport continues to make La Union the surfing capital of the North.
San Juan has been making waves in the international surfing scene following its annual surfing break which has attracted local and foreign board riders since the event was organized eight years ago.
San Juan is the most accessible and nearest surfing site north of Manila next to Baler in Aurora, Daet in Camarines Sur and Siargao in Surigao del Norte.
This year’s event billed Soul Surf, held on October 24-27, continues to capture the hearts of surf enthusiasts who have helped La Union draw tourists and generate economic activities for locals.
Lemon Dines, La Union Surf Club vice president, said this year’s goal is to peel the roots of surfing and strengthen the image of La Union's dynamic culture by combining surf, arts and music.
The club expects to attract a huge crowd from different regions flocking to the shores of La Union for the four-day event.
The surfing event won the 2012 Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines and Department of Tourism (Atop-DOT) Best Tourism Event for Sports and Wellness Category.
Dines said the award was given during the ATOP national convention last October 4 in Legaspi City, Albay.
It was the second time that the surfing event brought home the same award. It won its first award in El Nido, Palawan last year.
“We are eyeing the hall of fame award if we win the same title next year,” Lemon added.
This year’s event courted bigger public-private partnership with the entry of more private sponsors which teamed up with the provincial government and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Dines said the event incorporates environmental preservation as beach clean-up is undertaken before, during and after the event.
The event has also provided livelihood for village residents of Urbiztondo who set up small businesses from souvenir shops selling key chains, shirts and other memento and snack counters.
Lemon said La Union’s young surfers have generated income as well by becoming tutors for beginners.
“They have made use of their earnings in going back to school as education still comes first,” he said. (MCA/Miriam P. Aquino/PIA1 La Union)