CITY OF BUTUAN – More than two months after Typhoon Odette hit Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, the Philippines’ world-class surfing destination and one of the Times 2021 Greatest Places in the World is reopening to tourists, from the town of Del Carmen.
Lani Lipio of the Del Carmen Municipal Tourism Operations Office told reporters on Thursday that Sugba Lagoon, one of Siargao’s popular destinations, will be open to tourists from February 25.
“We are open but we also remind tourists that not all amenities will be available such as chalets and other services. In Sugba Lagoon, we have just set up a tent where tourists can shelter temporarily, but we assure that the iconic diving board will be available for visitors,” Lipio said.
Of more than 120 tourist boats registered with the Del Carmen tourist office last year, only 50 boats are operational because more than half were damaged during the typhoon.
All 50 boats will be available on opening day and will welcome tourists traveling to Sugba Lagoon, Kawhagan Island and Sandbar, all in Del Carmen.
The boat trip fare to the Sugba Lagoon-Kawhagan Island-Sandbar destination is PHP 2,000, while the fare for Sugba Lagoon alone is PHP 1,600.
“These rates are only for the moment because there will probably be an increase next month or in a few months. Last year, we had already proposed an increase from January 2022, but because of the typhoon, we did not couldn’t implement it,” Lipio said.
On Tuesday, Philippine Airlines resumed regular commercial flights from Manila to Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte.
Regular commercial flights were stopped after ‘Odette’ devastated the island last December.
Sayak Airport is located in Del Carmen, one of the island’s ravaged towns.
In an earlier interview with reporters here, Mayor Proserfina Matugas-Coro of Del Carmen also confirmed the opening of tourist activities in the city.
“Some have already started to open. Some are still closed because their establishments have been damaged. Our tourism is already open, gradually,” Coro said. (NAP)