SANTA ANA, Cagayan: More than 100 contestants from Europe and Asia are participating in today’s kiteboarding and windsurfing festival at Anguib Beach here.
Joyce Marie Calimag, public relations chief, said both outdoor adventure sports are held in Anguib Beach, which is also known as the surf-kiter’s paradise in the Philippines and the Boracay of the North. It is also a fitting venue because of its strong winds, Santa Ana being a town that lies on the northeast tip of Luzon.
”Anguib beach has transformed this once sleepy town into a world-class tourism site and has become North Luzon’s center for economic growth. It now houses several online gaming facilities and offers multi-million hotel resorts,” Calimag said.
Officials of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said the weeklong Festival is in collaboration with the Philippine Windsurfing Association and the Philippine Kiteboarding Association. The kiteboarding competition will be on January 11 to 13 while windsurfing will be on January 16 to 18.
CEZA Chief Executive Jose Mari Ponce said that the economic zone activities in the past eight years have contributed significantly to the economic development of Region 2.
He also said that Cagayan province’s tourism industry is booming after the massive promotions of its beautiful islands and white sand beaches with the mushrooming smaller private operators in the hotel and restaurant.
“The Palaui Island here for example was recognized as among the 100 best islands in the world and top three best islands in the Philippines by CNN Travel Blog,” Ponce said.
He said that tourist arrivals in the region increased significantly from only 4,604 in 2007 to 127,333 in 2013. Ponce attributed this to the recently conducted “Survivor America”, a reality-based adventure show, in the island.
“Being the new tourism destination in northern Luzon, also tagged as Game Fishing Capital of the Philippines, we also aim to convert the economic zone into a techno hub center of the Philippines and the gateway to Northern Luzon’s tourism frontiers,” Ponce said.
“We now have a state-of-the-art Cyber Park, which is also known as electronic-gaming. It is the first and only e-gaming facility in Asia and is expected to be one of the top 10 best in the world,” Ponce said.
He said that one of the latest developments is the establishment of the Cagayan North International Airport in Lallo town which is expected to fully operate this year.
CEZA was created by virtue of Republic Act 7922, a government-owned and controlled corporation under the Office of the President having a jurisdiction over Santa Ana, and the islands of Fuga, Barit and Mabbag in Aparri town with approximately 54,118 hectares of urban, suburban and agro-industrial lands for prime development, all lying along the West Philippine Sea-Pacific Ocean coast.