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Historic surf meet carves new tourism niche for Baler

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Historic surf meet carves new tourism niche for Baler
DOT-3 Regional Director Richard Daenos
Philstar.com / Ralph Villanueva

BALER, Aurora -- The inaugural World Surf League (WSL) competition launched here will create a new niche for the municipality and the province in terms of tourism, a Department of Tourism (DOT) official said.

The first WSL competition in the municipality, the Baler International Pro was launched on Wednesday.

Speaking to Philstar.com, DOT Regional Office III director Richard Daenos said that the event was able to introduce a "new tourism portfolio."

"It brings about some sort of identity that will create a niche for Baler in terms of tourism. So, we are looking for, this will be the start of drafting more programs," Daenos told Philstar.com.

He voiced optimism that the event will be the first of many of such activities in Baler.

"[We will be] implementing them in such a way that we'll have to make an impact to the community initially and of course in the larger scale," he said.

"We are optimistic that with the kind of reception we had [Wednesday] night, and the ongoing activities, I guess it's really positive that it will carry a good vibe for the next coming years."

The Baler International Pro, sanctioned by the WSL, is a high-profile competition that serves as a qualifier for this year's Challenger Series.

A total of 125 surfers, both local and foreign, will compete in the tournament.

On Thursday, rains did not stop the first day of the competition.
"Taking it positively, it will really create and bear fruits. Even if the weather is still not promising, still you could see that they continue and that's a good sign that we're really moving forward towards heightening and improving," Daenos said.

Aurora Rep. Rommel Angara, for his part, said he thinks Baler has the "biggest potential in terms of surfing tourism in the region."

To tap this, Angara announced that they would be building a pier in front of Sabang Beach, which may start this year.

"We're a young province. We're only established in 1979, but we're trying to build things as we go along... We already funded one of our dreams as well, with a community of surfers here in Baler, we're gonna build a pier right in front of Sabang Beach with a fund of P150 million," he said in a speech.

"[This will be] to bolster a new surfing destination here in the Philippines and hopefully to the world coming soon," he added.

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