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Several times each year, Siargao Island comes alive with Fiestas, Surfing Competitions, Game Fishing Tournaments and other events.

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Siargao International Surfing Cup:

One of the most well known surfing waves on Siargao and the Philippines, with a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes is Cloud 9. This right-breaking reef wave is the site of the annual Siargao Surfing Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition sponsored by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte. Both the International and National Surfing Competitions are held in September and it is a really busy time of the year. For the non surfers, there are typically many other activities to keep everyone interested (eg The Siargao Skim Boarding challenge, Street Dancing, Fairs and Exhibits, Bikini Competitions etc…).

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Siargao National Surfing Cup:

Also held at Siargao Island’s most famous break, Cloud 9 is the Siargao National Surfing Cup. This event attracts top surfers from all over the Philippines. The competition also takes place in September (typically a few days prior to the International Competition). The vibe around town is great but it can be very busy so book your accommodation in advance.
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Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament:

Held in late April, the Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament (located in Pilar) attracts anglers from all over the world. This tournament is well organized and you don’t need your own boat to enter. Simply arrive, register and hope you pick a good local boatman in the ‘Boatmen Raffle’. There are fun and games, dance competitions, food and other live entertainment.
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Siargao Island Fiestas:

Although the word fiesta is Spanish, Filipinos have made it their own. It is not unusual for entire towns to participate in the celebration. Planning can take up to a year, and the decorations, costumes and events are often both expensive and lavish. Principal fiesta themes are fertility and planting, harvest, adoration and supplication. On land or on water, solemn or joyous, the fiesta is part of the Filipino lifestyle. When a congressman wanted to abolish the fiestas so that the money and energy spent on them could be put “to good use,” the district abolished the congressman instead. The fiesta is part and parcel of Filipino culture. Through good times and bad times, the fiesta must go on. Each city (municipality) and barrio has at least one local festival of its own, usually on the feast of its patron saint, so that there is always a fiesta going on somewhere in and around Siargao Islands. Behind Siargao’s multi-faceted culture is its original tribal background. The Siargaonons go back to their roots as they celebrate their heritage with a loud, rowdy street dancing parade. The carnival spirit fills the air as masked participants donning fabulous costumes dance there way around the city’s main thoroughfares.

Street Dancing - Fiesta Style

 

It is a time for family, for sharing, for giving, and a time for food, fun, and friends. The splendid climate of this tropical island nation, the abundance and beauty of its flowers, and lovely landscape, its multitude of culinary delights, and above all its warm-hearted people with their true devotion to family and faith all contribute to a holiday celebrated in the true Philippines fiesta tradition.

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Bless - This child is showing respect for his godmother by taking her hand to his forehead.

Family, friends, relatives, and neighbors drop by to wish every family member a happy fiesta. Food is  in abundance, often served in buffet style.  Guests or visitors partake of the food prepared by the host family (even though they are already full or bloated!).   Among the typical foods prepared on Siargao Island and in the Philippines during fiesta are: lechon (roasted pig), pancit, barbecue, rice, adobo, cakes (Western and native rice cakes), lumpia, etc.  There is also an abundance of San Miguel beer, wine, and liquor, which makes the celebration of fiesta indeed intoxicating!

The streets are decorated, well lit and are full of activities.  The children run in and out of the house to play, to eat, and to play again. The Fiesta gathering provides an opportunity for a reunion of immediate and distant family members. In general, the center of a family’s fiesta gathering is always the lola, the endearing term used for a family matriarch or grandmother, who is deeply respected, highly revered, and always present.   Filipinos remember how their lola had their children form a line and step up to receive a small gift of some coins.  The older the child, the more coins he or she receives. Some fiestas have a talent show during celebration.   Children are asked to perform.  One might sing a song, others might play a musical instrument,  or others may recite a poem or do a dance. The celebration continues until late in the night or even about  6 o’clock in the morning.  Fiesta day is a popular day for children to visit their uncles, aunts, godmothers, and godfathers.  Food and drinks are also offered at each stop.  It is a day of family closeness, and everyone wishes good cheer and glad tidings.

Every Municipality and many villages celebrate a three day Fiesta. If you live in Siargao you could visit a fiesta every week. The two largest Fiestas on Siargao Island are celebrated in General Luna at the end of September and in Dapa middle of January.
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