Tokong, Canon Win First Place in the 20th Siargao National Surfing Cup

Marama Tokong on his signature drop on a barreling wave in Cloud 9 during finals. Photo by Oli Bayer

Cloud 9, General Luna, Siargao Island, Philippines (Thursday, September 27, 2018) – The final day of the 20th Siargao National Surfing Cup was one full of tense excitement. Bets were drawn and the crowds were wowed as both Juniors and Men’s Open finalists displayed their surfing prowess at a pumping Cloud 9.


In an epic 30-minute heat, fellow Siargao surfers and Philippine Surfing Team members John Mark “Marama” Tokong and Edito “Piso” Alcala Jr. battled it out for the title of PSCT-Siargao  “20th Siargao National Surfing Cup” Men’s Shortboard Open Champion.


No stranger to winning, these two seasoned surfers made it clear to everybody their mastery of majestic Cloud 9. Whether it was 6-foot or 3-foot waves, Alcala and Tokong gave the crowd and the judges the show that they were looking for.

A former champion of the Siargao National Surfing Cup, Piso Alcala knows how and when to get deep in a barrel. Photo by Oli Bayer.


“I’m so stoked! I’m glad the waves were firing during the finals and that I was able to get some good barrels!” said an ecstatic Tokong after finishing the final heat.


“I tried to go even deeper because I wanted to win but as you saw, I got quite a lot of wipeouts in this heat but then I also got a 9.75 score on one wave and that was awesome!” Tokong adds.


For the whole competition, Tokong had been leading the scores in the Men’s Shortboard Open and even in the finals, nailing a total heat score of  19.20 and claiming a 9.75, the highest single wave score in the whole competition.

A huge crowd gathers at the boardwalk, anticipating the return of Marama Tokong and Piso Alcala after their final heat. Photo by Oli Bayer.

“I’ve really been training hard, especially if I know there’s a competition. I want to get better and better,” Tokong said. “I also want to be a good role model for the kids here. They’re the future—the future of surfing and the future of Siargao.” he adds


Tokong shares how wonderful it is to have PSCT bring Philippine surfing to a whole new level by adding the Juniors Division to each of their legs, starting with the Siargao National Surfing Cup.


“Now kids can get to see how professional surfing is done and if they start young like me, who knows how far their potential can go?” Tokong continues.


Marama Tokong ready to get barreled during the finals. Photo by Tim Hain.

The Juniors Division final heat comprises of Gabriel Lerog, Benjomar Canon, Noah Arkfield, and Marino Figuron. It was interesting to see the competitive spirit of these young surfers fearlessly ride wave after wave, not leaving anything to chance.


At the onset, it was Lerog leading until Canon was able to score a 6.50, upsetting Lerog’s lead. In an attempt to regain the lead, Lerog grabbed every chance to barrel left-handers but Canon didn’t make things easy for him as he too would use his priority by riding almost the same waves that Canon did. These two young Siargaonons were seen riding both ends of pumping Cloud 9 making the crowd go wild each time they’d be seen shooting out of the barrel.


A lack of completed rides caused Lerog to lose the lead while Canon earned a total heat score of 11.75 making him the first ever Siargao National Surfing Cup Juniors Division Champion.

Probably a rare image we see of champions like Marama Tokong getting wiped out from inside the barrel. Photo by Tim Hain.

“I’m happy to have made it to second place even if I didn’t win the championship,” a soft-spoken Lerog said. “I tried defending my position with my priority but he was able to get really good waves,” he adds.


The crowds were flocking to the boardwalk when Canon arrived, carried on the shoulders of older Siargao surfers. Still catching his breath and the fact that he won, Canon was thankful for the win.


“I’m just really thankful to everybody, to PSCT for having the Juniors Division and especially to my sponsors who made it possible for me to be here,” he adds.

A perfect shot of Piso Alcala getting pitted. Photo by Tim Hain.

Here is the list of winners for the 20th Siargao National Surfing Cup:


Name Rank Highest Total

Heat Score

1 John Mark Tokong 1st 19.20 Finals
2 Piso Alcala 2nd 17.60 Finals
3 Philmar Alipayo 3rd 13.35 Semifinals Heat 1
4 Neil Sanchez 3rd 5.45 Semifinals Heat 2
5 Edwardo Alciso 5th 14.25 Quaterfinals Heat 4
6 Jayr Esquivel 5th 7.50 Quaterfinals Heat 2
7 Carlito Nogalo 5th 5.50 Quaterfinals Heat 1
8 Mark Ailer Catulay 5th 5.35 Quaterfinals Heat 3
9 Pete Catulay 9th 11.75 Round 4 Heat 3
10 PJ Alipayo 9th 10.00 Round 4 Heat 5
11 Glenn Figuron 9th 9.75 Round 4 Heat 2
12 Jefferson Espejon 9th 9.40 Round 4 Heat 6
13 Remar Magaluna 9th 9.00 Round 4 Heat 4
14 Rodel Patawi 9th 7.80 Round 4 Heat 7
15 Mark Escoltura 9th 7.00 Round 4 Heat 1
16 Jomar Saavedra 9th 2.95 Round 4 Heat 8
Juniors Shortboard
Name Rank Highest Total

Heat Score

1 Benjomar Canon 1st 11.50 Finals
2 Gabriel Lerog 2nd 9.00 Finals
3 Noah Arkfield 3rd 5.50 Finals
4 Marino Figuron 3rd 2.55 Finals


Piso Alcala perfecting that rail grab. Photo by Mikala Duaso.

With the first and opening leg of the PSCT done. Everybody’s looking forward to the next leg in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur this November 18-24, 2018. Unlike Siargao’s Cloud 9 which is a reef break, Lanuza’s Doot Poktoy is a rivermouth and beach break. A completely different spot with another set of locals claiming prowess over their home break. It could be anybody’s game.


Will our Siargao rippers be versatile enough to win this leg or will we see Lanuza locals claim the top place? Stay tuned to find out.

Marama Tokong on his signature drop on a barreling wave in Cloud 9 during finals. Photo by Oli Bayer

The 20th Siargao National Surfing Cup is fully supported by VANS Philippines with the assistance of the municipality of General Luna, office of Senator Sonny Angara, the province of Surigao del Norte, Department of Tourism and with sponsors Gwapitos, Fatlips, People’s Television Network (PTv), Kermit Siargao, Kudo Surf, S.E.A. Movement, PSCT official airline partner SkyJet Airlines, Siargao Island Surfers Association (SISA), Healthy Grocery, Harana, Olas Banditos, Seawadeeka, Grom Nation, SOS Gym, Bake Siargao, My Life On Board, Blunt, SunStar Cagayan de Oro, Edge Davao, Cafe Loka, FluidSurf, Marajaw Surf Zinc, barangay Catangnan, Jolan’s Fruits and Vegetables, Dagmukan, Loose Keys Moto Culture, Be Siargao, Fili Beans Espresso, Siargao Surf Training, Sta. Maria’s Healthy Choices, The Siargao Island, Greenhouse Siargao,, InqPop, CNN Philippines, The Rail, Bingo Ride Siargao, and Salty Nomads Hotel.


This event is organized by the PSCT and United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA).



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