SIARGAO ISLANDS IN TOTAL BLACKOUT FOR OVER A WEEK.
The second home of many foreign tourists, especially surfing buffs in the dark.
For over a week now, the Siargao group of islands, the country top surfing destination, is still in total blackout, caused by a damage of its underwater power cable.
The underwater power cable near Barangay Doña Helen in the island town of Soccoro was discover having damage last April 1.
Divers from Davao have already been dispatched by Siarelco, the local electric company, in the area to determine the extent of the damage of the 9.32 kilometer underwater power line.
Months of repair work may be needed to completely restore to normal levels the power supply to the islands. The situation may have a huge impact on tourist arrivals here.
The island has become the second home of many foreign tourists, especially surfing buffs.
The commission on elections in Caraga Region headquarters is worried about the possibility that the blackout may last until the May 10 elections and beyond, unless immediate remedies are undertaken.
Comelec officials of the eight municipalities of Siargao have suggested the installation of power generating sets in its total 140 polling precincts in all 112 barangays of the islands eight towns.
The towns of the Siargao group of islands are: Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidoro, Santa Monica and Soccoro. The islands have a total of 76, 035 registered voters.
SIARGAO Island the ''Surfing Capital of the Philippines''.
Its waves combine the best quality feature of the top-rated waves of Hawaii fabled ''Pipeline'' and the top-billed waves of Indonesia. Its huge powerful rollers have been ranked among the top five breaks in the world, including the ''Cloud Nine'' which is considered one of the world's top surfing wave.
Siargao island contains the largest mangrove forest reserve in Mindanao, at Del Carmen. Long stretches of wet land indicate a potential for commercial seaweed propagation. The island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean, intensified by the Mindanao current running westward through the Siargao Strait.
The island's Pacific-facing reefs are situated at the edge of the Pacific trench, and the extremely deep offshore waters assure the Ocean swells have undiluted power when they encounter the many coral and rock reefs.
Siargao has excellent surfing conditions particularly during the southwest ''habagat'' monsoon from August to November, when the prevailing wind is offshore.
Cloud nine is the best known surfing wave in Siargao with a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes.
The wave was discovered by traveling surfers in the late 1980's. It was named and made famous by American photographer John S. Callahan who published the first major feature on Siargao island in the US based surfer magazine in March 1993, and hundreds of his photos in many other books and magazines since his first visit in 1992. Callahan has put the island on the international map and has drawn thousands of surfers and tourists to Siargao.
There are several other quality waves on Siargao and nearby islands, but cloud 9 has received more publicity than any other, indeed in the Philippines as a whole. It is the only wave easily accessible without a boat, leading to overcrowding and the nickname of ''Crowd 9'' among surfers worldwide.