ABW Dec 2016

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<strong>2016</strong> VOLVO HONG KONG TO HAINAN RACE<br />



<strong>2016</strong> DIVE SHOW<br />




Destination<br />


DEC <strong>2016</strong> Vol. V Issue 4<br />



2<br />



Introduction by BARRY DAWSON<br />

In keeping with<br />

PGYC tradition<br />

all racing was<br />

done on a<br />

pursuit basis,<br />

with slowest<br />

boats starting<br />

first. This<br />

worked to<br />

perfection<br />

with the fleet<br />

finishing within<br />

a time frame of<br />

approximately<br />

30 minutes.<br />

Within the Philippine sailing calendar there are many bewitching regattas where idyllic scenery, elegantly<br />

graceful yachts and a friendly competitive spirit are combined with a robust joie de vivre. The Royal Cargo ‘All<br />

Souls Regatta’ held each year at Puerto Galera is among the best of them. Even before getting there, the seaward<br />

approach to Puerto Galera via Verde Island and the Batangas Channel is one of the most photographed, and most<br />

photogenic, sights in the archipelago and all visitors to the Philippines should witness it at least once.<br />

This year the ‘All Souls Regatta’ was held between October 29 and 31. For a comprehensive wrap of the<br />

racing, please see the following story by former commodore of the Puerto Galera Yacht Club, Tony Stephens.<br />

Those yachties who like to combine a spot of benign sailing in delightful surroundings followed by more than a<br />

few drinks among like minded companions will do well to keep an eye on the PGYC website for the 2017 regatta<br />

dates. And, just for the sheer hell of it, throw in a fancy dress costume or two to get the most out of the Halloween<br />

party.<br />

Words by TONY STEPHENS<br />

Photographs by TERRY DUCKHAM<br />

With a record number of 31 entries the<br />

Puerto Galera Yacht Club’s <strong>2016</strong> All Souls<br />

Regatta has been voted the best yet. Coinciding<br />

with the Club’s 25th Anniversary, the Royal Cargo<br />

sponsored event attracted entries from as far afield<br />

as Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and France to<br />

name just a few of the countries.<br />

The weather Gods smiled on competitors with winds<br />

averaging around 15 knots, which allowed courses to<br />

include a 23 mile passage race around Verde Island.<br />

This race proved a serious challenge for navigators<br />


Regatta<br />

All Souls<br />

Soars to New Heights5

6<br />

with boats being given the option of rounding<br />

the island either clockwise or anti clockwise. As it<br />

happened Anthea, skippered by Oliver Gully, was the<br />

boat which made the best tactical decisions, coming<br />

in a comfortable First. They were followed home by<br />

Redshift, with Bella Uno, Third.<br />

New courses for the race were planned months in<br />

advance in consultation with some of Asia’s most<br />

experienced yachtsmen, including Chris Pooley and<br />

John Berry from Hong Kong. Water operations over<br />

the three-day event were in experienced hands with<br />

internationally recognized official, Jerry Rollin, as<br />

Principal Race Officer and former commodore of<br />

PGYC, Tony Stephens, as official handicapper.<br />

In keeping with PGYC tradition all racing was done on<br />

a pursuit basis, with slowest boats starting first. This<br />

worked to perfection with the fleet finishing within a<br />

time frame of approximately 30 minutes.<br />

Major sponsor was the ever faithful Royal Cargo,<br />

which has supported the regatta for many years.<br />

Sponsor numbers were at an all time high this year<br />

with several newcomers that included the government<br />

body, the Philippine Retirement Authority, sea plane<br />

agent Air Juan, Hyde Sails, Papaya Cove Yacht Charter<br />

Services, and Rayomarine. Other major sponsors<br />

included Broadwater Marine, Tricom Projects, Lane<br />

Archives, and Asia Tiger.<br />

The racing was divided into three classes, Multi hulls,<br />

Racing division and Cruising division.<br />

Competitors from Subic included Selma Star, Princess<br />

Arieta, Dale Godkin, Bella Uno, Michiel Brinkers the<br />

multi hull Kerida, Garry Kingshot and the new sports<br />

boat Redshift skippered by Austen Chamberlain.<br />

Each night at prize giving, bottles of fine rum were<br />

handed out to the class winner and place getters and

on the final night, beautifully carved marble items<br />

from Romblon Island were presented to the class<br />

winners.<br />

Overall winner of the regatta was the Multi hull MYG2<br />

skippered by Vincent Ruais. Second overall was Bella<br />

Uno skippered by Michiel Brinkers, third was Hanafe,<br />

skippered by Peter Stevens.<br />

In concert with the All Souls Regatta was a PGYC<br />

Junior Sailing regatta held the week before the main<br />

event. The juniors’ prizes were presented by the<br />

Governor of Mindoro, The Honorable Alfonso Umali<br />

Jnr. on the opening night of All Souls.<br />

The All Souls Regatta was not just about racing,<br />

with the club in full-on party mode each night.<br />

Entertainment included live music, traditional Filipino<br />

folk dancing courtesy of the local high school, and<br />

of course the inevitable karaoke. Halloween night<br />

was celebrated with crews competing for prizes by<br />

dressing in ghostly and in some cases totally<br />

outrageous costumes.<br />



Time is moving on far too quickly as we see another year fly by.<br />

So again we wish all our readers all the best for the festive season and<br />

the coming of 2017.<br />

<strong>2016</strong> showed us some amazing sailing events and records being<br />

broken all over the Philippines. With the Hobie challenge that seen<br />

newcomers Kerlie and Ali from Australia taking honors. The arrival<br />

of the Yachts from Hong Kong in the Rolex China Sea race. To the 3<br />

island challenge in Romblon, cliff diving in Punta Fuego to All Souls<br />

Regatta in Puerto Galera, all culminated in a great year of sailing, that<br />

can only point to bigger and better events in 2017.<br />

In our destination we reveal all the hidden secrets that Samar and<br />

Leyte have to offer, with a multitude of activities and fun to be had,<br />

Samar all the way to Maasin in Southern Leyte. This is truly an island<br />

worth visiting, and should be included in your things to do list.<br />

Once again all from Active Boating and Watersports wish all of our<br />

readers A Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.<br />


All Souls Regatta Soars to New Heights 4<br />

Sandon Steps Up at 12<br />

Siargao Surfing Cup<br />

<strong>2016</strong> Volvo Hong Kong to Hainan 18<br />

Uitemate Joins Zambales 24<br />

<strong>2016</strong> Dive Show 28<br />

Cruising the Coral Carpet 34<br />

Destination -EASTERN VISAYAS 42<br />

Fishing is More Fun 66<br />

in the Philippines<br />

Sailing Tips 72<br />

Round Taal Volcano Regatta 76<br />

Destination: Eastern Visayas, page 42<br />

Photos courtesy of DOT and Yorko Summer<br />

Next Generation Marinas<br />

Cover photo courtesy of Rayomarine<br />

The views expressed and advertisements published in Active Boating & Watersports<br />

are those of the authors and advertisers, and not Rodbar Publishing.<br />

Rodbar Publishing does not accept any liability whatsoever for errors or omissions.<br />


The New Image of<br />

“A more<br />

professional<br />

approach to<br />

operations is<br />

already reaping<br />

customer<br />

benefits and<br />

a new<br />

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on pricing has<br />

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major capital<br />

purchases<br />

such as generators,<br />

life<br />

rafts, outboard<br />

motors and<br />

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Words by<br />

BARRY<br />

DAWSON<br />

Broadwater Marine, a name synonymous for its<br />

service to the boating industry is now under<br />

new management and is expanding even more with<br />

more distributorships lower prices and more outlets<br />

to bring the boating fraternity a higher quality<br />

service than it is already noted for, with a larger<br />

range of products from the world’s leading suppliers<br />

such as Garmin, Fusion, DeBug, Red Paddleboard,<br />

Boat Models, API Marine engine parts and much more.<br />

Since operations commenced in early 2005<br />

Broadwater Marine has always strived to provide<br />

top quality products and service at realistic prices.<br />

Now with new ownership this is going to get even<br />

better Peter Baird the new owner and Managing<br />

Director of Broadwater Marine said.<br />

“A more professional approach to operations is<br />

already reaping customer benefits and a new<br />

perspective on pricing has seen prices dropping<br />

on major capital purchases such as generators, life<br />

rafts, outboard motors and RIBs etc.”<br />

This continual growth will also see another new<br />

showroom opening in Puerto Princesa, Palawan in<br />

early 2017, and with showrooms already established<br />

in Subic Bay, Manila, Cebu, Boracay, and Samal<br />

Island, Davao this new showroom can only increase<br />

the quality of service to the boating industry right<br />

across the Philippine archipelago.<br />

New suppliers introduced into the already impressive<br />

range of quality products stocked by Broadwater<br />

Marine are the Garmin Range of electronic equipment.<br />

Garmin is noted as one of the market leaders in high<br />

quality GPS, Fishfinders and Radar etc. and now the<br />

full range is available at all Broadwater Showrooms.<br />

For the highest possible quality sound and<br />

entertainment equipment Broadwater have<br />

introduced the Fusion range of audio. You can test<br />

the impressive quality of these units at any of the<br />

Broadwater Showrooms.<br />

For a higher fuel efficiency De Bug has also been<br />

introduced into the Broadwater Range of quality<br />

products, De Bug is designed to keep your fuel clean<br />

of all fuel bug contamination giving you cleaner fuel<br />

and cleaner fuel system that results in higher fuel<br />

efficiency.<br />

Other products introduced to enhance the range of<br />

supplies are API Marine Engine Parts giving Broadwater<br />

clients a far wider selection of readily available<br />

engine starter motors and alternators.<br />

Red Paddleboard increasing your choice of water<br />

sport toys.<br />

For fond memories of your prized possession you<br />

can now have a replica model made to have place<br />

of honour in your display cabinet Boat Models will<br />

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With all that has happened to increase quality and<br />

services at a more realistic price in the short time<br />

Peter Baird took over Broadwater Marine, we can<br />

only look forward to bigger and better things to<br />

come from the Philippines leading marine<br />

equipment dealer.<br />


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Sandon Whittaker<br />

at the Finals<br />

SANDON<br />

Crowd at Cloud 9<br />


S<br />


September is a busy month for water sports<br />

enthusiasts in the Philippines. And one of the<br />

most eagerly awaited events is the World Surf League<br />

(WSL) Siargao Surfing Cup Qualifying Series (QS)<br />

1,500, held annually at Cloud 9. This internationally<br />

sanctioned competition brings mostly young surfers<br />

from many countries to Siargao to embark on an<br />

almost gladiatorial challenge. The winner of this multileg<br />

competition gets the chance to compete with the<br />

big boys and girls in the pro league of surfers; matching<br />

skills with past, current and future world champion<br />

surfers on the international circuit.<br />

Of course, you need a series of half decent waves<br />

to hold a successful surfing competition, but those<br />

waves were conspicuously absent on Day One,<br />

forcing organizers to call a lay day. For the most part<br />

the surfers ran through their routines, waxed their<br />

boards and tested their gear in preparation for the<br />

promised waves which, hopefully, would arrive the<br />

next day. They also checked out the island’s many<br />

excellent facilities, mingling with the crowds of<br />

spectators while avoiding, as far as possible, the<br />

coterie of adults and officials acting as chaperones.<br />

“Coming up<br />

against Philmar<br />

was scary<br />

because local<br />

knowledge is so<br />

important here.<br />

I’ve seen him<br />

switch-footing in<br />

barrels and doing<br />

all sorts of crazy<br />

stuff so I knew it<br />

would be tough.”<br />

Sandon<br />

Whittaker<br />

Words by<br />

BARRY<br />

DAWSON<br />

Photographs<br />

as credited<br />

The contingent of 64 international and local surfers,<br />

as well as the event organizers, pored over the weather<br />

forecast which showed a typhoon swirling around<br />

in the Pacific. This same typhoon was expected to<br />

deliver the much anticipated swell that culminates<br />

in the perfect barreling waves for which Cloud 9 is<br />

famous. And on the afternoon of Day Two the waves<br />

arrived, rolling, tumbling, surging towards the shore,<br />

oblivious to the crowd waiting anxiously for their<br />

iargao<br />

arrival. Somehow, within seconds, it seemed that<br />

every surfer on the island from the beginners to the<br />

pros was in the water, paddling furiously to catch a<br />

wave or two before the contest began.<br />



Me and Dad getting our Hobie cat ready<br />

Above: Board<br />

breaking tradition<br />

Right: General Luna<br />

Mayor Rusillion<br />

22nd Siargao<br />

Surfing Cup<br />

Opening Ceremony<br />

Contest Director Gerry Degan sent out a call to the<br />

surfers to be in the Cloud 9 Tower at 5 am the following<br />

day, ready to start Round One of the competition.<br />

“It will be mid tide tomorrow at about sunrise, so we<br />

want to run as many heats as we can as the tide is going<br />

out,” said Degan. “If the swell isn’t too big, we’ll be<br />

able to run through the low tide and get a full day<br />

of competition in. We’re hoping the swell gives us at<br />

least two or two and a half days of pumping waves,<br />

which is what we need to complete the event, so we’ll<br />

run as long as we can each day,” he explained.<br />

With a total prize purse of US$50,000 on the line,<br />

as well as important WSL Qualifying Series and ASC<br />

Championship points up for grabs, competition was<br />

expected to be be fierce but fair. Local surfers know<br />

the Cloud 9 wave so well they could almost catch it<br />

blindfolded, so the international competitors had to<br />

find something special as they chased the elusive prize<br />

money and points.<br />

The first heat of Round One, pitched last year’s winner,<br />

local boy John Mark Tokong, with Manuel Selman<br />

from Chile, recent Quiksilver Young Guns winner Rio<br />

Waida from Indonesia, and local Glenn Figueron.<br />

In Heat Two, current ASC rankings leader Dede<br />

Suryana from West Java (Indonesia) was up against<br />

Fraser Dovell from Australia, Joe Keogh from Hong<br />

Kong, and local Philmar Alipayo, who recently won<br />

the ASC sanctioned West Sumbawa Pro at Supersucks<br />

in Indonesia.<br />


It was an epic tube fest with some high flying aerials<br />

and deep hacks to keep the judges busy, the<br />

spectators entertained, and the media outlets and<br />

photographers ever alert for that special moment.<br />

Sandon Whittaker<br />

Sandon Whittaker surfed a great final day making the<br />

most of the waves on offer at Cloud 9. He utilized the<br />

lefts and rights, walls and barrels to post solid scores<br />

throughout the event. His lightning quick backhand<br />

snaps saw him post a heat total of 12.85 (out of a<br />

possible 20) to win the Final. “This is a dream come<br />

true,” said Central Coast surfer Whittaker. “This is only<br />

my third QS event so I had low expectations, especially<br />

being a 16-year-old with all the older guys, it doesn’t<br />

feel real. Coming up against Philmar was scary because<br />

local knowledge is so important here. I’ve seen him<br />

switch-footing in barrels and doing all sorts of crazy<br />

stuff so I knew it would be tough. With this win I’m<br />

keen to look toward more QS events and try and get<br />

into the QS6,000’s next year.”<br />

The young goofy-footer not only had to overcome 63<br />

other hungry competitors but a viral illness that almost<br />

forced him to pull out of the event before the final.<br />

This win is not only the perfect remedy for Whittaker<br />

but the best result of his young career.<br />

Mitchell James Bennett<br />

“When my heat was coming up yesterday I could<br />

hear the announcer calling my name and I was still at<br />

my hotel ready to give up because I felt so sick. The<br />

people I’m staying with were all showing me so much<br />

support, along with my dad, so I thought I’d have a go<br />

and have a crack and not disappoint them. I’m feeling<br />

a lot better now, just an amazing vibe.”<br />

Local surfer Alipayo was the crowd favorite all day<br />

and proved he can really mix it with guys who follow<br />

the QS. His backhand tube-riding was something to<br />

be admired as was his air game. Whittaker’s competitive<br />

awareness and use of priority left Alipayo hunting<br />

smaller inside waves during the final. He was unable<br />

to overcome the young Aussie in the end but still came<br />

out with the best result of his career.<br />

Philmar Alipayo<br />

“I’m stoked I made it to the final – it’s the best<br />

result and day of my career,” Alipayo said. “I’m still<br />

disappointed that I did not win but Sandon is an amazing<br />

surfer and has an epic backhand. Without the barrels<br />

he was going to be hard to beat. It’s been a really good<br />

day and I can’t wait for next year.”<br />

On the way to the final, Alipayo ousted Australasia<br />

QS Championship hopeful Shane Holmes. Holmes<br />

displayed raw power all contest and the Semi-final was<br />

no different. Holmes threw his trademark power hacks<br />

earning him a stranglehold on the heat; until, in the<br />

dying seconds Alipayo found a set, took off deep and<br />

weaved through a tight tube getting spat out of the<br />

end. This got him the nod from the judges earning a<br />

near excellent 7.87. Holmes took off on the next wave<br />


Philmar Alipayo and<br />

Shane Holmes<br />

Starting to Fire<br />

but it didn’t offer enough to retain the lead and<br />

finished the event with a respectable equal 3rd place<br />

to go with his two seconds for <strong>2016</strong>.<br />

It’s annoying to go out like that in the dying seconds,”<br />

Holmes said. “Third is still a good result so I’m really<br />

happy with it but would have liked the waves to pump<br />

the whole time. The two previous days had amazing<br />

waves and today was still okay, that’s just surfing I<br />

guess. I’m turning my focus towards the Taiwan Open<br />

of Surfing now, hopefully I can get the win there.”<br />

About the World Surf League<br />

Contributed by Tom Bennett, WSL Australasia Media/<br />

Communications Officer<br />

The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association<br />

of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to<br />

celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best<br />

waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms.<br />

The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly<br />

global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa,<br />

North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.<br />

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing<br />

since 1976, running global events across the Samsung<br />

Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the<br />

Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard<br />

Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave<br />

Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for<br />

the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression,<br />

innovation and performance at the highest levels.<br />

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform<br />

at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app,<br />

the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions<br />

tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning,<br />

John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long,<br />

Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly<br />

Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most<br />

unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport<br />

in the world.<br />

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.<br />

com.<br />



<strong>2016</strong> Volvo Hong<br />

“The highs: it’s<br />

terrific to rush<br />

to sail down<br />

the waves and<br />

be out there<br />

in the open<br />

water! The<br />

biggest high<br />

was when we<br />

arrived as we<br />

had not realized<br />

we had<br />

won!”<br />

-Anthony Root<br />

Words by<br />


RHKYC<br />

Photographs by<br />

RHKYC/<br />


It was clear blue skies and a 6-7 knot north-easterly<br />

breeze for the start of the 390nm Category 1<br />

offshore Volvo Hong Kong to Hainan Race which<br />

started today, [3 November], at 1320 hours. Race<br />

Officer Simon Boyde set a committee boat start line<br />

to the north of the RHKYC main clubhouse at Kellett<br />

Island, with the warning signal sounding at 1310<br />

hours. Most boats seemed to favour the pin end of<br />

the line. It was only the 100ft super maxi Scallywag<br />

that favoured the committee boat end; possibly to<br />

make sure to keep clear of the other boats.<br />

With all boats getting away cleanly at the start, they<br />

tacked their way through Victoria Harbour. Scallywag<br />

was the first to make it through the Lei Yue Mun<br />

Gap, followed by the TP52s Standard Insurance Centennial<br />

and FreeFire. Next through the Gap was the<br />

Ker Custom 42 Black Baza with Jo Aleh on board. Jo<br />

won a gold medal and a silver medal at the London<br />

and Rio Olympics for New Zealand. Surprisingly this<br />

was Jo’s first offshore race and she said, “I am looking<br />

forward to sending her downwind, hopefully the<br />

forecast stays in so we get to Sanya quickly!”<br />

The last boat to make it through the gap was the<br />

Sun Fast 3600 Ymir which was the smallest boat in<br />

the fleet. Crew member Darren Catterall said, “We<br />

may be the smallest boat in the fleet but the boat is<br />

built for downwind, hopefully we arrive in Sanya in<br />

one piece before the beer runs out.”<br />

Once through Lei Yue Mun Gap, the fleet headed<br />

south-east towards Waglan Island then bore away<br />

towards the north-east tip of the Dangan Liedo Island<br />

rounding it to starboard, with the rest of the Lema<br />

Islands. Once past the Lema Islands the fleet headed<br />

south-west to Sanya on the southern tip of Hainan<br />

Island in China.<br />

The current race record for the Volvo Hong Kong<br />

to Hainan Race is 25h 54m 33s set in 2014 by Karl<br />

Kwok’s Beau Geste. Everyone, including FreeFire<br />

owner Sam Chan, was looking to Scallywag breaking<br />

the record. Says Chan, “If we can do it in 24 hours,<br />

they can do it in 12 … and definitely under 18.”<br />


Kong to Hainan<br />


All boats carried Yellowbrick trackers, which<br />

updated live tracking information at 30 minute<br />

intervals throughout the race, and this could have<br />

been viewed at http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/hkhainantracking.aspx.<br />

Fans could also take part in the race through www.<br />

sailonline.org who bring the virtual version of the<br />

Volvo Hong Kong to Hainan Race to armchair sailors<br />

around the world. This enabled them to pit their<br />

navigational skills against the real fleet, with the<br />

feed from the Yellowbrick tracker showing the position<br />

of the real yachts overlaid on the virtual race screen.<br />

The challenge was expected to be negotiating the<br />

conditions; Sailonline uses almost real-time weather<br />

downloaded from NOAA and the boat physics are<br />

considered to be the most life-like of any online<br />

simulation.<br />

After the arrival of Scallywag at 12:51:52 yesterday<br />

and their record breaking race with a Line Honours<br />

win of 23h 31m 52s. The next boat to arrive was<br />

Sam Chan’s TP52 FreeFire; she crossed the line at<br />

20:19:54 cementing her position as First in IRC Racer<br />

0, and Second in IRC Racer Overall.<br />

Owner Sam Chan commented on the race, “The race<br />

was fast … well, not as fast as last time but still fast.<br />

We had lighter wind to begin with but very good<br />

wind offshore. We were sailing a VMG around 12 to<br />

13 knots and a much bigger boat speed. We ended<br />

up jibing around four or five times. My top boat<br />

speed was 23.2 knots but another crew member<br />

got 23.8 knots. I think the top wind speed we saw<br />

was close to 3 knots. Yes it was a good race and<br />

I enjoyed it!”<br />

After FreeFire, and ahead of the other TP52 last<br />

night, was Anthony Roots’ Ker Custom 42 Black<br />

Baza finishing at 23:09:54; giving her the win in IRC<br />

Racer Overall and the win in her division, IRC Racer<br />

1. Black Baza has added this victory to her previous<br />

wins in IRC Overall in the <strong>2016</strong> Rolex China Sea Race<br />

and the 2015 Hong Kong to Vietnam Race!<br />

Anthony Root commented on the highs and lows<br />

of the race, “I think the lows of the race were easy,<br />

we had some troubles with various types of gear on<br />

the boat that we had to overcome; there was a point<br />

that we couldn’t get our spinnaker down. The highs;<br />

it’s a terrific to rush to sail down the waves and be<br />

out there in the open water! The biggest high was<br />

when we arrived as we had not realized we had won!<br />

Top boat speed was around 23 knots.”<br />

The last boat to arrive in the IRC Racer 0 Division was<br />

TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial at 00:23:23.<br />

Owner Ernesto ‘Judes’ Echauz said, “It was a very<br />


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good race although we got caught in some fishing<br />

nets at 1823 hours on the first evening out. Getting<br />

the nets off was a big challenge as we had to pull<br />

the net up on a halyard with people on the grinders<br />

and then try to cut it off. There were many fishing<br />

nets where we got caught [and] it took us quite a<br />

while to find our way out; we had to go north, then<br />

we had to go west. It was a good thing we had the<br />

Yellow Brick tracker so people knew what we were<br />

doing. Besides the nets it was fantastic sailing; the<br />

wind was very strong downwind and consistent, and<br />

I have never experienced this type of sailing before.”<br />

After the arrival of Standard Insurance Centennial,<br />

the race management team were able to get a bit<br />

of shut eye before the arrival of Fred Kinmonth and<br />

Nick Burns’ Sydney GTS 42 Mandrake III at 9:14:31<br />

next morning morning. Mandrake III went further<br />

offshore than any of the other boats in the fleet<br />

and was able to stay with a great breeze right until<br />

Luhuitou Jiao Point where it turned into a bit of a<br />

drifter for about three hours before they finished.<br />

Fred Kinmonth spoke about the race, “Overall it was<br />

great race, really windy and we had a lovely time.<br />

Everything went absolutely fine although we blew<br />

up three spinnakers, but apart from that we had<br />

great ride down, absolutely no trouble at all. There<br />

was great rapport amongst the crew; most of us<br />

have sailed together for about 14 years.”<br />

With the breeze changing direction, Mark Whitehead<br />

and Andy Lam’s Mills 40 Straight Up came into<br />

Sanya Harbour with the kite up, only changing to<br />

the headsail right before the finish as the breeze<br />

shifted. Straight Up crossed the line at 13:11:43 giving<br />

them a Third in IRC Racer 1.<br />

The final two boats still racing in the Volvo Hong<br />

Kong to Hainan Race were Outlaw and Ymir, which<br />

were estimated to arrive around 1800 hours and<br />

2300 hours respectively.<br />

All boats have now safely crossed the finish line in<br />

the 390nm Category 1 offshore Volvo Hong Kong to<br />

Hainan Race.<br />

The smallest and final boat in the fleet from the<br />

IRC Racer 2 Division to finish was Kjartan Furset’s<br />

Sunfast 3600 Ymir arriving at 23:04:00 on Saturday<br />

night. Also from IRC Racer 2, Adrian Bell’s Azuree<br />

46 Outlaw crossed the line some 5 hours 30 minutes<br />

before Ymir at 17:39:10, taking the win in their<br />

division. Outlaw had a very nice breeze coming into<br />

Sanya of 8-10 knots, unlike the earlier arrivals into Sanya.<br />

Kjartan Furset said, “The race was a bit tough in the<br />

beginning; very bumpy seas. It took a bit to get used<br />

to the boat in these conditions as it was our first real<br />

big downwind race. Surprisingly it wasn’t very wet<br />

on board — the Rolex China Sea Race was far wetter<br />

this year. The first night was a bit rough but the rest<br />

of the sail was beautiful. The highlight of our race<br />

was surfing down the waves in the big rolling swell.<br />

Our top speed was around 18 or 19 knots. One thing<br />

I wish we had done before the race was spend more<br />

time on crew training; we tore a spinnaker and it<br />

would have been good to be more prepared for this.<br />

The last two days of the race were absolutely beautiful,<br />

nice breeze, very, very nice sailing.”<br />

IRC Racer 0 was won by Sam Chan’s TP52 FreeFire<br />

on corrected time of 1d 18h 24m 21s after a fantastic<br />

run. Seng Huang Lee’s 100ft Super Maxi Scallywag<br />

came in second in IRC 0, took Line Honours and<br />

cemented themselves in the record books with a record<br />

of 25h 22m 33s after a very quick race with top<br />

speeds of 34 knots!<br />

IRC Overall and IRC Racer 1 was won by Anthony<br />

Root’s Ker Custom 42 Black Baza. After a cracking<br />

race they arrived at 23:09:5 4 on Friday night ahead<br />

of the last IRC 0 boat, Ernesto Echauz’s TP52<br />

Standard Insurance Centennial.<br />


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Uitemate Join<br />

The Society of<br />

Water Rescue<br />

and Survival<br />

Research has<br />

numerous<br />

documented<br />

examples of<br />

non-swimmers<br />

surviving using<br />

their “Uitemate”<br />

system,<br />

with a number<br />

having survived<br />

the 2011 Tsunami<br />

in Japan.<br />

Uitemate <strong>2016</strong> was conducted at the YMCA<br />

Offices in Ermita Manila on November 12 –<br />

13 and presented by The Society of Water Rescue<br />

and Survival Research from Nagaoka University of<br />

Technology, Nigata, Japan. Bestowed by professors:<br />

Hidetoshi Saitoh and Takahiko Kimura.<br />

Due to their constant commitment to water safety<br />

and drowning prevention, Mr. Roger Bound of<br />

Zambales Lifesaving Inc. was invited to attend this<br />

event, he was also requested to bring potential<br />

candidates to become “Uitemate” Instructors.<br />

Uitemate (pronounced Ui-te-ma-te) from is a<br />

composition derived from 2 Japanese words, “Uite”,<br />

meaning to “float on ones back” and “Mate” meaning<br />

“waiting for assistance to come”.<br />

In English “float and wait (to survive)”, or in Filipino<br />

“lumutang at magantay (upang manatiling buhay)”.<br />

The program was conducted over 2 days. Day one was<br />

composed of lectures and presentations including a<br />

presentation given by Mr. Bound on Water Accident<br />

prevention activities, along with the program Swim-safe<br />

held by Zambales Lifesaving Inc. His performance was<br />

based on years of experience with the lifeguard training.<br />

The Swim-safe program which was designed by them<br />

also on the “float to survive” principal is almost<br />

exactly the same as the Uitemate program.<br />

Day 2 was in water demonstrations, practical training<br />

and assessment of participants as to who would be<br />

issued with Instructor Certificates, 6 of which were<br />

from Zambales Lifesaving Inc.<br />


ins s Zambales<br />


Old Jack<br />

We asked Mr. Bound his opinion and comments on<br />

the program, --“the program is very good, in fact<br />

very similar to the program we designed and piloted<br />

this last summer for elementary school children, one<br />

of the interesting things that they did, was to let the<br />

students to use plastic bottles for floatation aids<br />

to start with, thus giving them more confidence,<br />

then to discard the floatation assistance once more<br />

comfortable.<br />

This is a very good idea and we will incorporate<br />

into our program. If a person is a complete nonswimmer,<br />

but knows how to float, they can survive<br />

an aquatic accident. The Society of Water Rescue<br />

and Survival Research has numerous documented<br />

examples of non-swimmers surviving using their<br />

“Uitemate” system, with a number having survived<br />

the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. This program has been<br />

taught to thousands of people in Japan over the last<br />

several years.<br />

26<br />

It is really encouraging to know that we are defiantly<br />

on the right track with our program, which was<br />

featured in the June Edition of your magazine, I had<br />

a copy with me that I presented to Professor Saitoh,<br />

he was quite impressed and very happy to receive it.<br />

Lastly I congratulate the Society of Water Rescue<br />

and Survival Research, that they are interested to<br />

travel to other countries, such as the Philippines<br />

which have such alarming drowning statistics and<br />

share their knowledge and information for free.

Live bait fishing<br />

The next event on the Zambales Life Saving calendar<br />

is the Standard Insurance 6th Zambales Lifeguard<br />

Challenge to be held at the Rama International Resort,<br />

Botolan Zambales on January 14th & 15th 2017. A<br />

number of teams from other parts of the Philippines<br />

will be there to compete in the challenge. Also with<br />

Zambales Lifeguard Challenge now being confirmed<br />

as an International event we can expect to see a lot<br />

more international teams competing including the<br />

confirmed entry of a Lifesaving Team from Griffith<br />

University, on Queensland’s Gold Coast in Australia.<br />

If you want further information on how to increase<br />

water safety in your area contact Roger Bound on<br />

+63918-922-2863 or email slszambales@gmail.<br />

com.<br />


<strong>2016</strong> Div<br />

The show offers<br />

the local<br />

market greater<br />

opportunities,<br />

not only to<br />

promote the<br />

Philippines as<br />

a top diving<br />

destination,<br />

but to also<br />

advertise their<br />

own business to<br />

a much wider<br />

audience.<br />

Words by<br />

BARRY<br />

DAWSON<br />

Photographs<br />

as credited<br />


e Show<br />

The Philippines, which has some of the best<br />

diving sites in the world, hosted the second<br />

Diving & Resort Travel Expo. This 3 day event was<br />

held from 9th September to the 11th September<br />

<strong>2016</strong> at the SM Megatrade Hall in Pasay, Philippines.<br />

This event showcases products from Marine & Boat,<br />

Travel & Tourism industries, and promotes the ever<br />

growing diving industry in the Philippines.<br />

The DRT Show is considered to be the largest gathering<br />

for diving enthusiasts, marine conservationists and<br />

anyone with a passion for the underwater world.<br />

The DRT Show considered to be one of the major<br />

gatherings in Asia Pacific for diving enthusiasts,<br />

marine conservationists and anyone with a passion<br />

for the underwater world, has now been met with<br />

an overwhelming response as an important regional<br />

event. And is fully supported by the Department<br />

of Tourism, top-level exhibitors and leading dive<br />

equipment manufacturers, water sport equipment<br />

manufacturers, dive resorts, tourism boards, marine<br />

conservation and diving organizations. DRT Show<br />

greatly promotes trading and export business and<br />

has become the most important and ‘MUST VISIT’<br />

diving equipment and diving destination event in<br />

the Philippines.<br />


C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

The diving industry in the Philippines is far from<br />

new, with scuba diving operators being around for<br />

more than 30 years. Experiencing a massive growth<br />

over the past six years which has been noticed and<br />

promoted by Active Boating and Watersports Magazine<br />

The Philippines was more than ready for a<br />

comprehensive Dive expo and came to the notice of<br />

the organizers and the inaugural show was held in<br />

2015 with a huge and resounding success.<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

30<br />

The show offers the local market greater opportunities,<br />

not only to promote the Philippines as a top diving<br />

destination, but to also advertise their own business to<br />

a much wider audience. There are a few facts which<br />

might come as a surprise to some people. Such as,<br />

the local middle class, even though small compared<br />

to the western world, is plentiful. The locals just<br />

need to be offered the right packages that they will<br />

find attractive. The expat community in Manila is<br />

huge as well. This community has a lot of spare time<br />

on their hands and grabs every opportunity they see<br />

to visit new and exciting places in the country. Many<br />

of the expats are here on 2 or 3 years contracts,<br />

working for big companies, and they want to make<br />

the most of it while they are here. The dive show has<br />

now given these people the opportunity to see what<br />

is on offer all under one roof.

Organized by:<br />

Supported by:<br />

Media Partners:<br />

Sponsor:<br />


32<br />

All of the exhibitors at this year’s expo were keen to<br />

get the word out and a huge amount of promotional<br />

bargains were on offer from top exhibitors such<br />

as Raid, Amundo, Scuba Gear and the many dive<br />

resorts. <strong>2016</strong> was a resounding success and we can<br />

look forward to an even bigger and better event<br />

on the 8th to 10th September 2017 featuring<br />

exhibitors such as dive equipment and manufacturers,<br />

water sport equipment and suppliers, wholesalers,<br />

exporters, retailers, dive organizations and institutions,<br />

diver training certification agencies, dive clubs,<br />

travel agencies, tourism board, hotels and dive resorts,<br />

live-aboard dive operators, underwater photography<br />

and videography and commercial diving companies.<br />

Plus much more. So be sure to put the 2017 DRT<br />

show on your must to do list. Further information<br />

and updates can be found at: http://www.philippinesdiveexpo.com/thedrtshow.php


Cruisingt<br />

Of the<br />

7,100+<br />

islands in<br />

the country<br />

4000 are<br />

inhabited by<br />

humans. By<br />

contrast, in<br />

Japan there<br />

are an estimated<br />

6,852<br />

islands, but<br />

only 400 are<br />

inhabited.<br />

Words by<br />

BRUCE<br />

CURRAN<br />

Photographs<br />

as credited<br />

Along the “Bamboo Corridor” the sailing<br />

grounds are as good as anywhere on our<br />

planet. The sea passages begin off Myanmar, continue<br />

down the west coasts of Thailand and Malaysia, then<br />

cross east through the northern tip of the Indonesian<br />

archipelago and along the north coast of Borneo with<br />

Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah as well as offshore islands<br />

as great destinations, before the tropical magic of the<br />

Philippine islands takes you further into cruising<br />

paradise. The “Bamboo Corridor” should be on everyone’s<br />

cruising list.<br />

The cruise along the northern coastline of Sabah<br />

going east from Kota Kinabalu City is a unique<br />

experience, since you get a magnificent view of the<br />

highest mountain in South East Asia looming high and<br />

mighty inland … Mount Kinabalu especially at sunset or<br />

sunrise it is a truly soulful and spiritual encounter.<br />

It is 30 miles from the last Malaysian island to the<br />

first one in Philippine waters, with Balabac Island lying<br />

off the southern tip of the main Palawan Island.<br />

Palawan actually sports 1,780 islands in all, which<br />

makes up a ¼ of all the islands in the Philippine<br />

archipelago totalling 7,107.<br />

There is a suitable anchorage on the south eastern<br />

side of Balabac Island off Cape Melville, which has a<br />

magnificent Spanish lighthouse built in the 1890s to<br />

welcome you with its majestic and classical European<br />

light tower at the start of your visit.<br />

Then there is the choice of cruising up the Palawan<br />

Passage to the West of the main island, or to trip<br />

through some reef areas and islands off the East coast.<br />

The WEST COAST Route:<br />

The deep Palawan Passage (watch out for whale<br />

sightings) is a major shipping route.<br />

Sailing in the main passage takes you offshore and<br />

away from the continuous reefs that run all along the<br />

west coastline, but after several hours it is possible to sail<br />

closer to the shoreline and several anchorages exist that<br />

are best taken if the winds are blowing offshore.<br />

Then the perfectly sheltered long and inviting Ulugan<br />

Bay is a good resting spot.<br />

Just up the coast from here is one of the newly declared<br />

‘Wonders of the Natural World’, named the St Paul’s<br />

Underground River by a British ship Captain, since the<br />

main stalactite and stalagmite cavern reminded him of<br />

St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Now they like to call it<br />

the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Either way it<br />

is an essential visit, with a possible anchorage off the<br />

beach near the entrance, where the river runs several<br />

kilometres under the mountain and can be accessed with<br />


Coral<br />

Carpet<br />

the<br />


guides by paddle boats, after you have passed the area<br />

where wild monkeys and large monitor lizards hang out<br />

and will enhance your experience in this amazing area of<br />

the “Bamboo Corridor”.<br />

To the north lies a set of islands surrounding Port Barton,<br />

worthy of a stop with some protected anchorage areas<br />

and a number of restaurants and bars in a resort or three.<br />

Further up lies the longest single beach in the entire<br />

country on the edge of Imuran Bay, with many good<br />

anchorage spots and all with the beautiful backdrop of<br />

the main Palawan Island riddled with mountainous and<br />

forested scenery.<br />

Next comes the Malampaya Sound, being brackish<br />

water due to being fed by umpteen rivers and streams,<br />

and is home to the only pod of Irrawaddy Dolphins<br />

that live in the country.<br />

Then begins some real magic, with the cruise into the<br />

endless scenic attractions fuelled by mountainous limestone<br />

cliffs on a multitude of islands in the area known<br />

as El Nido, which is a true cruising paradise. There are<br />

anchorages galore, island and mainland resorts to suit all<br />

pockets, and the whole area has a magic all of its own.<br />

Paradise doesn’t stop here, and after a scenic cruise<br />

to the northern tip of the main Palawan island, you<br />

enter a group of 128 islands known as the Calamian<br />

Islands, which I have named “the Jewel in the Crown”<br />

of the Philippine Islands in my cruising guide book<br />

titled ‘Combing the Coral Carpet’.<br />

Besides having ¼ of all the islands in the Philippines,<br />

Palawan is inhabited by only 1% of the total population<br />



SEPT. 9-11, <strong>2016</strong> SM MEGAMALL<br />


in the country estimated at just over 100,000,000. Of<br />

the 7,100+ islands in the country 4000 are inhabited by<br />

humans. By contrast, in Japan there are an estimated<br />

6,852 islands, but only 400 are inhabited.<br />

There are a plethora of all sorts of exotic anchorages,<br />

as well as many resorts on islands big and small in this<br />

veritable cruising ground. Near the coast off the south<br />

eastern end of Busuanga Island there are hot volcanic<br />

springs which are an ideal place to rest weary cruising<br />

limbs before taking off on the next session of water<br />

cruising.<br />

To the NE of Busuanga Island lies the famed and well<br />

protected Apo Reef, preserved for nature for many many<br />

moons already, where the coral and the underwater life<br />

has a chance to thrive provided responsible shipping<br />

does not run aground.<br />

Best to hire a dive boat to go there, available from<br />

several resorts and dive operations in Busuanga, and<br />

even from Mindoro Island in and around Pandan Island.<br />

Pandan Island has a neat resort, ‘foreign’ owned. They<br />

know the area intimately if you need the inside edge!<br />

Paluan Bay on the NW tip of Mindoro island is a pleasant<br />

anchorage surrounded by nature and just the locals.<br />

Through the Calavite Channel brings you to the ancient<br />

Spanish favoured anchorage of Puerto Galera on the NE<br />

tip of Mindoro. The welcoming Puerto Galera Yacht Club<br />

is the focus for the cruising fraternity wishing to glean<br />

more about where to go to experience more and more<br />

of this endless paradise.<br />

•Going north from here you head towards Manila, or<br />

further north still to Subic Bay.<br />

•Going East and south you start to explore the magic<br />

islands within the Sibuyan Sea.<br />

This end of the “Bamboo Corridor” is truly a pleasure<br />

and a rich treasure for all those who are willing and able<br />

and committed to experience sail cruising at its very best.<br />

The advice is …. Go close those doors on land and raise<br />

those sails at sea … and tune in to nature at its finest!<br />









Words by<br />

BARRY<br />

DAWSON<br />

Photographs<br />

as credited<br />

Many visitors to the Philippines will be<br />

familiar with the main islands of the<br />

Eastern Visayas — Samar, Leyte and the much<br />

smaller Biliran — without actually having been<br />

there. Known in local government parlance as<br />

Region VIII it faces the Philippine Sea to the east<br />

and further east lies the Pacific Ocean, source of<br />

a great deal of anguish during the typhoon season.<br />

For most of the year, however, the weather is<br />

benign with bright, sunny skies of a vibrant<br />

blue, occasionally broken by a few clouds, scudding<br />

playfully before a gentle breeze.<br />

Samar itself is the easternmost island in the Visayas,<br />

and the third largest island in the Philippines.<br />

It is separated from Leyte by the San Juanico<br />

Strait, which at its narrowest point is only about<br />

two km across. This strait, with its whirlpools<br />

and a smattering of islets offering magnificent<br />

views is crossed by the San Juanico Bridge, the<br />

country’s longest. For the geographically challenged,<br />

Samar is southeast of Luzon’s Bicol Peninsula<br />

and is separated from the country’s largest island<br />

by the San Bernadino Strait.<br />

Take an exciting<br />

river ride in a<br />

dug-out boat at<br />

the Ulot Watershed<br />

Ecotourism<br />

Loop in Paranas.<br />

Or be thrilled as<br />

expert boatmen<br />

maneuver a<br />

torpedo boat<br />

between imposing<br />

rocks as they<br />

progress up and<br />

down stream on<br />

the Ulot River.<br />



Calbayog Zipline<br />

To the south of Samar is the Leyte Gulf, the site of<br />

the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the most decisive<br />

Pacific theater naval battles during the Second<br />

World War. The gulf opens into the Philippine Sea.<br />

As the commercial and cultural center of Eastern<br />

Visayas, Tacloban City on Leyte provides easy<br />

access to several of the island’s magnificent whitesand<br />

beaches, which lure growing number of local<br />

and overseas tourists each year without ever seeming<br />

to be crowded.<br />

Samar province, too, has her share of nature’s<br />

bounty. Among the jewels which entice visitors<br />

and locals are the unexplored mountains and caves<br />

with their exotic wildlife, pristine shores rimmed<br />

by unspoiled coral reefs, cloud-hidden lakes of<br />

blue surrounded by multi-colored flowers and<br />

beautiful beaches and waterfalls nestled beside a<br />

mountain.<br />

Malajog Zip Line<br />

The Malajog Ridge Zipline and Nature Park, is<br />

Calbayog City’s newest tourist attraction. The<br />

Nature Park was opened to the public on March<br />

27th, <strong>2016</strong>, and the zipline adventure ride was<br />

opened not long after. Zip from Malajog Ridge<br />

Point across the ocean to Daraga Islet, one of<br />

those harmless little specks of land which serves<br />

no purpose other than the amusement of man,<br />

(although I dare say the flora and the marine life<br />

may not agree), opposite Malajog Beach.<br />

As splendid as all that seems, there is a bit of work<br />

to be done to reach the zip line starting point.<br />

There’s no avoiding the trek along the Malajog<br />

Ridge nature trail which crosses volcanic and<br />

limestone formations and passes through dense<br />

jungle that conceals many crevices, hidden caves<br />

and some simply stunning views along the way.<br />

The length of the eco-trail is about 1,850 meters<br />

and there are over 830 steps to be clambered up<br />

before reaching the zip line summit, where the<br />

line begins. It is hot and tiring work and visitors<br />

are urged to bring plenty of water, apply a liberal<br />

coat of sunscreen and be sensible enough not<br />

to undertake this trek without being certain of<br />

finishing it in one piece. It may be hard work to<br />

reach the zip line but the ride back down is simply<br />

exhilarating.<br />

The zip line, which costs about P200, covers a<br />

distance of some 850 meters and is considered<br />

the country’s first “mountain to island” zip line<br />

by local experts: it is also one of the longest in<br />

the country. The zip trip lasts nearly 1 minute and<br />

10 seconds. The zip line and nature trail are part<br />

of the Malajog Tourism Development Project. The<br />

nature trail provides four separate areas along the<br />

trail for picnics, to rest, or for shelter from the<br />

elements should the weather suddenly turn nasty.<br />

It is sure to be fun for the entire family, but there<br />

is a cautionary note. The Zip line is not available<br />

to persons under the age of 15 years old.<br />



VI-<br />

Lo-ok Beach in<br />

Calbayog<br />

Ulot RiverEASTERN<br />

On the western side of Samar, nature-lovers will<br />

find unusual landscapes and a whole lot of spelunking<br />

sites; after all they don’t call Samar the “Caving<br />

Center of the Philippines” for nothing!<br />

The more adventurous traveller will become giddy<br />

at the thought of Samar’s numerous cave systems<br />

and the chance to get up close ad personal with<br />

them. Among its most famous are the Sohoton<br />

Caves, a two-hour trip from the town of Basey.<br />

The 840-hectare park, which surrounds the cave<br />

system, features limestone walls, a natural rock<br />

bridge, underground rivers, lush forests and caves<br />

with stunning and expansive interiors. There’s<br />

also the Langun-Gobingub Cave in Calbiga, one<br />

of the largest karst caves in Southeast Asia.<br />

Swimming spots, too, are generously spread<br />

throughout the area. The biggest problem most<br />

newcomers face is deciding where to go first,<br />

which isn’t a bad problem to have. Lo-ok Beach<br />

in Calbayog City boasts icy blue waters facing the<br />

Samar Sea and natural rock formations that present<br />

a more rugged beach-going experience.<br />

Remember to pick up a ticog mat, (they’re<br />

surprisingly cheap, comfortable and are generally<br />

quite durable), to place over the sand for those<br />

seaside picnics; ticog is made from a local weed<br />

that, when woven, makes smooth and supple<br />

mats, tote bags, and home and office furnishings.<br />

Take an exciting river ride in a dug-out boat at<br />

the Ulot Watershed Ecotourism Loop in Paranas.<br />

Or be thrilled as expert boatmen maneuver a<br />

torpedo boat between imposing rocks as they<br />

progress up and down stream on the Ulot River.<br />

And dare to plunge into the waters by leaping<br />

from one of the huge boulders.<br />

46<br />

Bahandi 700/Wikimedia Commons

Lawrence Ruiz/Wikimedia Commons<br />

Those in the mood for something with more<br />

kick should check out Samar’s waterfalls. The<br />

Bangon-Bugtong Falls cascade elegantly into a<br />

large circular pool, while the fun Mawacat Slide<br />

lets all comers zoom down a mossy passageway<br />

into the sparkling waters below. A highlight of<br />

the Lulugayan Falls and Rapids is the strong and<br />

thundering current that feeds into the Calbiga<br />

River and makes for thrillingly enjoyable white<br />

water rafting.<br />

And while here, make sure not to bypass the quiet<br />

towns of Marabut and Daram. Marabut rewards its<br />

visitors with islets fit for snorkelling and diving, as<br />

well as the rock islands that artfully jut out from<br />

the sea, as if carefully placed by an unseen sculptor.<br />

Have a close encounter of the best kind with<br />

colourful fish and rare giant clams while snorkelling<br />

at Agutay Island in Daram.<br />

Sohoton Caves<br />

The Sohoton Caves, located within the Sohoton<br />

National Park, is a cathedral-like dome with an<br />

entrance that’s almost a parabolic arch about fiftymeters<br />

high. There is a flat, open area near the<br />

entrance, about twenty meters wide and fiftymeters<br />

long. Spike-shaped crystalline stalactites<br />

reach languorously down from the ceiling and<br />

the rustic and cavernous walls while stalagmites<br />

jut up perkily from the cave floor. At the far end<br />

of the cave are a Juliet-like window cum balcony<br />

overlooking the natural swimming pool below.<br />

Experiencing Sohoton Caves is like a flashback to<br />

a very distant time, or being marooned in a galaxy<br />

far, far away.<br />

Sohoton Caves, or more accurately, (to give it<br />

its correct title), the Sohoton Natural Bridge<br />

National Park, can be found at Rawis near Basey,<br />

Samar. Within the 840 hectare park, fascinating<br />

geological features such as caves, limestone<br />

boulders, rock-holes, weathered formation rocks<br />

and underground rivers form an uneasy alliance<br />

with nature. The National Park is reached by<br />

chartering a boat in Tacloban or, more cheaply, in<br />

Basey, Samar.<br />

Basey is about 45 minutes by car from Tacloban.<br />

Tours to the National Park start at the Basey pier,<br />

where a pump boat, tour guide, and light men<br />

Entrance to<br />

Sohoton Cave<br />

Stalactites inside<br />

Sohoton Cave<br />





Sto. Niño Shrine and<br />

Heritage Museum<br />

Langun-Gobingub Cave<br />

50<br />

are rented, before the 45-minute ride by boat up<br />

a winding river, passing through small villages;<br />

gracefully swaying nipa palms line the banks as a<br />

motley parade of river craft ply their trade up and<br />

down the river. Nearer to the park, the scenery<br />

changes rather dramatically as river banks with<br />

magnificent limestone walls and overhangs come<br />

into view.<br />

Tacloban<br />

Known as the pearl of Leyte, Tacloban was nearly<br />

destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013,<br />

when pictures of the devastation were beamed<br />

live around the world by news hungry media eager<br />

to capitalise on the suffering and heartbreak of<br />

the local residents. Today, however, when walking<br />

through the center of Tacloban, it is almost<br />

impossible to imagine the extent of the destruction<br />

that greeted the citizens on that fateful morning.<br />

Since then, the city center has largely been rebuilt<br />

and re-building continues still. Hotels have been<br />

repaired or rebuilt; the bars are finally filling up<br />

with locals and tourists instead of just the relief<br />

workers from many parts of the globe, who<br />

generously offered their assistance in rebuilding<br />

what remained of the city. And, with credit to the<br />

local citizens, Tacloban has now resumed its role<br />

as the commercial heart of both Leyte and Samar.<br />

Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum<br />

The shrine is actually a mansion located in Real<br />

Street, Tacloban, and is one of the mansions the<br />

late president, Ferdinand Marcos, built for his<br />

wife, Imelda Romualdez Marcos, during his sometimes<br />

turbulent, and often controversial, regime. While<br />

Super Typhoon Yolanda caused some damage to<br />

the shrine, the grandeur and extravagance of the<br />

mansion can still be seen by the many visitors<br />

who flock here each day. There is an entrance fee<br />

to the site that is valid for three people, where<br />

sightseers can explore the mansion at a gentle<br />

pace, and bask in the reflected luxury of a bygone<br />

presidential era. Take photos of the decor and listen<br />

to stories — some of which may even be true —<br />

about the Marcoses and the Romualdez family<br />

from the guide/escort on a progress through the<br />

various state and family rooms, the grand ballroom,<br />

past expensive furniture, antiques and other<br />

collections assembled by the Marcos family during<br />

their time in power. For more than a few years<br />

many of those visiting the heritage museum<br />

have been struck by just how much kitsch can be<br />

assembled in one place by those who have the<br />

money to acquire it and the room to house it: a<br />

sort of tasteless conspicuous consumption run rampant.



The long and winding<br />

San Juanico Bridge<br />

52<br />

Sto. Niño de<br />

Leyte Fiesta<br />

San Juanico Bridge<br />

With a length of 2.16 km it is the longest bridge<br />

in the Philippines, connecting the islands of Samar<br />

and Leyte. The bridge can be reached from downtown<br />

Tacloban in 10-15 minutes by bus, passenger<br />

jeepney, multi-cab or private vehicle. Those who<br />

are reasonably fit can enjoy a walk across the<br />

bridge from end to end and experience the vibrations<br />

when a bus or truck passes by. The bridge has a<br />

lane for walkers, joggers and runners on either<br />

side, so pedestrians can enjoy the walk and the<br />

views without being unduly troubled by the passing<br />

traffic. But road traffic in the Philippines is always<br />

a little chaotic, so it’s best to take extra care when<br />

setting up a selfie. The best times to cross the<br />

San Juanico Bridge are in the early morning or<br />

late afternoon when the heat of the sun is not as<br />

excruciating as it is when at its peak.<br />

The Grand Festival of Festivals<br />

Tacloban doesn’t only celebrate its fiesta (Sto.<br />

Niño de Leyte Fiesta: June 30) in a single day,<br />

but Taclobañons and their visitors enjoy several<br />

events related to it throughout June. During<br />

these days, the city becomes just that bit livelier:<br />

parks are transformed into dining outlets and live<br />

performances from various local artists and rock<br />

bands reverberate through the evening, as many<br />

tourists flock to the city to witness the colorful<br />

festivals. A few days before the grand fiesta, tourists<br />

can enjoy the Sangyaw Festival. The grand event<br />

of the Sangyaw Festival is a parade held on the<br />

streets of Tacloban attended by various local<br />

tribes, and participated in by local women and girls<br />

dancing in the streets, wearing colorful costumes and<br />

accessories. There are contests for street dancing<br />

and awards are given for those best in costume,



54<br />

McArthur<br />

Landing<br />

Memorial<br />

Park<br />

Original<br />

photo of the<br />

supposed A<br />

Day Landing<br />

best in music and of course for the Sangyaw<br />

Festival Grand Champion.<br />

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals is<br />

organized by the province of Leyte. Delegates<br />

from other famous Philippine festivals, specifically<br />

the Maskara Festival of Bacolod, the Sinulog Festival<br />

of Cebu and the Buyogan Festival of Abuyog also<br />

participate and perform during the Festival of<br />

Festivals to make the event more spectacular. The<br />

Sangyaw Festival and the Pintados Kasadyaan are<br />

just two of the festivals celebrated in Tacloban<br />

that showcase the talent of the residents in terms<br />

of dancing and costumes. These festivals also<br />

provide onlookers with an experience straight<br />

from the pages of history and a chance, however<br />

fleetingly, to experience the culture of Visayas.<br />

MacArthur Landing Memorial Park<br />

The MacArthur Landing Memorial Park is located<br />

in the town of Palo. The memorial park commemorates<br />

one of the most important sea battles of all time<br />

and, also, the legendary words of General Douglas<br />

MacArthur, who famously proclaimed, “I shall return”,<br />

as he was ordered to leave Corregidor to board a<br />

waiting submarine bound for Australia. The Battle<br />

of Leyte Gulf, (October 23–26, 1944), is generally<br />

considered to be the largest naval battle of World<br />

War II and the largest naval battle in history in<br />

terms of the total tonnage of the participating<br />

ships. The monuments of General Douglas<br />

MacArthur, President Sergio Osmeña, Brigadier<br />

General Carlos P. Romulo and others mark the<br />

spot where they landed, with the American<br />

Liberation Forces, on 20 October 1944, to begin<br />

the Battle of Leyte Gulf and thence to liberate the<br />

Philippines from Japanese forces.<br />

The memorial is not only one of the most famous<br />

in country, but also in the world, as it symbolizes<br />

the beginning of the end of World War II in the<br />

Pacific. Leyteños and veterans from all over the<br />

world annually celebrate the Leyte Landing<br />

Anniversary. The government of Leyte organize<br />

various activities throughout October, including<br />

a re-enactment of the Leyte Gulf Landing,<br />

commemorative awards for the surviving veterans,<br />

a memorial ceremony for Japanese veterans,<br />

and other observance programs. There’s also a<br />

marathon or fun run, but that’s for the more<br />

sprightly. To witness the annual re-enactment of<br />

the Leyte Landing, go to Palo in October. Visitors<br />

can, of course, spend some quiet, reflection<br />

time at the monuments and the memorial park<br />

throughout the year.<br />

Kananga<br />

Kananga is a first class municipality in the province<br />

of Leyte. The majority of Kananga’s economic<br />

activity has historically been concentrated in<br />

agriculture. Some are engaged in commerce and

trade since the town is geographically close to<br />

the commercially progressive nearby city of Ormoc<br />

and coastal town of Palompon, Leyte. The town’s<br />

main crops are coconut and rice.<br />

Palompon, Leyte<br />

Palompon is a port city serving the region of north<br />

western Leyte. The port itself has undergone some<br />

much needed modernisation recently, making it<br />

busier, more relevant to shippers and a leading<br />

generator of employment in the area. Available<br />

figures point to there being a net outflow of<br />

citizens, i.e. emigration to Cebu and Manila, or<br />

even abroad, as there is simply insufficient local<br />

employment to meet demand, which is something<br />

of a problem throughout Region VIII.<br />

The education programs offered by the highly<br />

acclaimed Palompon Institute of Technology,<br />

(PIT), which focus on marine transportation and<br />

engineering are, unintentionally, contributing to<br />

this trend by producing highly trained and qualified<br />

graduates with little prospect of work close to<br />

home. Chronic underemployment is, however,<br />

a nation wide problem and arguably the single<br />

most significant factor preventing the country<br />

from achieving its full economic potential.<br />

The city is easy to get around and local residents<br />

go about their business without undue haste<br />

or concern in the rather colorful and attractive<br />

business center.<br />

There is not a lot to do in Palompon. Some of the<br />

older ‘historic’ sites around the city were sacrificed<br />

to the gods of modernization in an era when<br />

preserving history for posterity was seriously out<br />

of favor with swaggering politicians and unscrupulous<br />

developers. The Palompon Liberty Park remains<br />

largely unscathed and is a favorite spot for residents<br />

and visitors to relax and spend time in quiet<br />

contemplation as others stride purposefully by,<br />

barking into their cellular phones.<br />

While the Justinians may have been the first of<br />

the Spanish to land here some time around 1737,<br />

it wasn’t long before they were supplanted by<br />

the Augustinians, although it’s unlikely the local<br />

tribes noticed much in the way of improvement in<br />

their daily life. A useful legacy of the Augustinians<br />

is what is now Leyte’s oldest church, completed<br />

here in 1784 after 44 years of hard labor.<br />

There is also a canon in the town plaza to<br />

commemorate the week long battle between the<br />

local townspeople, who sought shelter in the<br />

recently completed church, and Moro raiders,<br />

which took place in the late 17th century.<br />

Try to visit in early November so and be part<br />

of the exciting Abre Grande Festival. Activities<br />

Kayak Racing in<br />

Palompon<br />

Kalanggaman<br />

Island in Palompon<br />



56<br />

Kalanggaman<br />

Sandbar<br />

included in the festival are two tri-sport events,<br />

and a 15km kayak marathon. Abre Grande marks<br />

the beginning of a series of festivities that lead<br />

up to the Palompon Lawig Festival in <strong>Dec</strong>ember.<br />

There are environmental, cultural and social<br />

activities such as a coastal clean-up, an iron-man<br />

triathlon race where competitors swim a set<br />

distance before a lengthy bicycle ride, which in<br />

turn is followed by a rather gruelling run. There’s<br />

the somewhat less taxing ‘fun for all combo race’<br />

including kayaks and SUP’s, a single boat race,<br />

a pedicab race and, of course, culminating with<br />

a lively concert. This festival presents a fantastic<br />

opportunity to enjoy a variety of competitive<br />

sports on the pristine beaches and picturesque<br />

hills of this beautiful part of Leyte.<br />

Kalanggaman Island<br />

Kalanggaman has been described as the ‘quintessential<br />

tropical island’ with its sweeping sandbar and<br />

clear water. The island is an escapists dream<br />

as there are no hotels. Most visitors prefer to<br />

pitch a tent and camp on the beach and let<br />

nature’s soothing spirit and rather stunning<br />

sea views by day and by night surround them.<br />

The island is about an hour’s boat ride from<br />

Palompon. It is important for visitors to check<br />

details, costs and facilities at the Palompon<br />

Office for Eco-Tourism, which is found near the<br />

Municipal Hall, adjacent to Liberty Park. Summer<br />

visitors should wear appropriate clothing against<br />

the sun, sun screen, and to prepare both mentally<br />

and physically for the relentless heat. Then be<br />

enchanted by the beauty that this island has to<br />

offer.<br />

Lantaw<br />

This is the ideal spot for a perfect view of the<br />

sunset over Palompon. Lantaw, with its viewing<br />

platform, is built on a hill beside the road from<br />

Palompon to Isabel. There’s a walk of 100m from<br />

the road, but when this majestic place is reached<br />

there is a perfect, unobstructed view over Palompon<br />

and the sea. There is a pleasant terrace with tables<br />

and chairs for rent, with food and drinks available<br />

for the peckish and the thirsty. Simply sit back<br />

and enjoy delicious satē and cold beer while basking<br />

in the glorious sunset.<br />

Ormoc, Leyte<br />

The coastal City of Ormoc, more generally<br />

referred to as simply Ormoc, is the center of<br />

commerce and industry of western Leyte. It is a<br />

showcase of progress and development despite<br />

its somewhat turbulent past as a ‘whipping boy’<br />

for Moro pirates keen to plunder the sea trade<br />

local residents had steadily built with Malay and<br />

Chinese merchants.<br />

From its unimposing beginnings as a small town of<br />

mainly dirt roads interspersed with a few asphalt<br />

streets in the center of town during the 1950s,



Queen pineapple<br />

plantation in<br />

Kanaga-Ormoc<br />

58<br />

Ormoc has metamorphosed into a modern, urban<br />

environment replete with concrete and glass<br />

buildings and some much needed and meaningful<br />

infrastructure. Wide, well maintained roads and<br />

bridges mean that Ormoc has, for the most<br />

part, avoided the frustrating rush-hour delays<br />

that plague most of the country’s leading cities.<br />

There are well-equipped government and private<br />

hospitals and clinics to cater for the sick, a more<br />

than serviceable airport, banking and financing<br />

institutions, commercial organisations, housing<br />

projects, factories and industrial plants … ample<br />

evidence of what a provincial city can achieve<br />

when people work together to get things done,<br />

rather than bicker endlessly over how the revenue<br />

pie will be distributed. Ormoc is now fast becoming<br />

a regional development hub. With its strategic<br />

geographical location, it serves as a gateway to<br />

the Eastern Visayas, and this has led to further<br />

economic growth and opportunity. Although the<br />

city’s initial early and rapid development was<br />

largely attributed to the many peripheral activities<br />

spawned by the PNOC Geothermal Power production<br />

project in Tongonan, few will argue against that<br />

development, which was necessary to accommodate<br />

the rising number of people and businesses<br />

in the area.<br />

Today, Ormoc City is a picture of steady progress<br />

and stability. Each year more and more investors<br />

are coming to the city, and the vast majority of<br />

them like what they see, which contributed to Ormoc<br />

being judged some years ago as the ‘2005 Most<br />

Business-Friendly City in the Visayas’ by the<br />

prestigious Philippine Chamber of Commerce and<br />

Industry. And although the city has embarked on a<br />

programme of planned modernization, it has also<br />

kept in tune with its environmentally responsible<br />

protection programs. To this end Ormoc has been<br />

a consistent ‘Cleanest and Greenest City’ awardee<br />

in Region VIII and one of the Cleanest and Greenest<br />

Cities in the country. This prestigious award is a<br />

leading tribute to showcase Ormoc as a “beauty<br />

by the bay”, a wonderful place to visit for business<br />

or pleasure.<br />

Hang out at local watering holes like cozy cafés,<br />

restobars, snackbars, and restaurants at the Ormoc<br />

City Plaza, near Ormoc City Superdome and the<br />

old Executive Building — or head to the public<br />

market and try native fare like pacdol, (a clear

oth with carabao knee meat), at Doro’s<br />

carinderia. And for the most mouthwatering BBQ<br />

in the Philippines, a visit to the Ormoc Bus<br />

Terminal any evening is de rigeur. There are two<br />

terminals and after 6pm terminal one closes and<br />

becomes the venue for what is, by any standard,<br />

a pretty good BBQ.<br />

Lake Danao<br />

The violin-shaped Lake Danao, a pristine<br />

148-hectare inland lake is surrounded by the<br />

verdant mountains and invigorating cool air of a<br />

Natural Park and just a thirty minute drive from<br />

the city. Enjoy a picnic and banca ride or go<br />

biking and examine local flora and fauna, all<br />

the while soaking up the area’s hard-to-beat<br />

tranquility. The lake is also quite popular for boating,<br />

kayaking and a spot of fishing, although visiting<br />

fishermen should release any fish they catch in<br />

the lake.<br />

Lakes Kasudsuran and Janagdan complete the<br />

three beautiful lakes of Ormoc. The 5-hectare<br />

Lake Kasudsuran is located 27 kms northeast of<br />

Ormoc City on the fringe of virgin forest around<br />

barangay Ga-as. Lake Kasudsuran is also a place<br />

to explore for visitors to Ormoc. The lake is a<br />

Pintados<br />

Kasadyaan<br />

Festival<br />

Aerial view of Tacloban<br />



Lake Kasudsuran<br />

Lake DanaoEASTERN<br />

beauty to behold with surrounding fresh green<br />

trees and vegetation, and a calm and serene<br />

atmosphere.The lake is only accessible by foot.<br />

Mt. Janagdan, sits rather majestically atop a plateau<br />

1,000 m. above sea level.<br />

Queen Pineapple<br />

The ‘Queen’ pineapple was, apparently, named<br />

in honor of Queen Victoria. This seems unlikely<br />

as many experts have described the queen<br />

pineapple as ‘small and juicy’ and it has been a<br />

long time since either adjective sat comfortably with<br />

modern images of the queen … perhaps when<br />

she was younger. The name, like the pineapple<br />

itself, was imported and both have remained firm<br />

favorites within the Philippines.<br />

The Queen Pineapple is Ormoc’s most famous<br />

product and an essential purchase for pasalubong,<br />

(gifts for friends at home). Savor its unparalleled<br />

sweetness with juicy slices fresh from the pineapple<br />

plantations north of the city in Kananga, which<br />

can be visited providing arrangements are made<br />

beforehand.<br />

Important commercial varieties of pineapple include<br />

“Smooth Cayenne”, which is the most popular<br />

pineapple used in the canning industry, the yellow<br />

“Queen”, which is cultivated for eating fresh, as<br />

well as those varieties in the Spanish group, “Red<br />

Spanish” likewise being suitable for eating fresh.<br />

Baybay City, Leyte<br />

Baybay City is a major port on the central west<br />

coast of the province of Leyte. Fondly known<br />

as, “A Place of Discovery, Beauty, and Serenity”,<br />

Baybay is one of the major transportation hubs<br />

for the region, as the port has ferries running to<br />

Cebu and to other islands in the Visayas. For those<br />

who want to see more of the countryside they’re<br />

passing through, air-conditioned buses regularly<br />

depart the main terminal and then spread like<br />

veins through the Eastern Visayas to Tacloban,<br />

Ormoc, Southern Leyte, north to Manila, and as<br />

far south as Davao.<br />

Baybay is an easy 93km drive from Tacloban, and<br />

proudly displays its many beautiful, historic, cultural,<br />

and natural attractions for those who take the<br />

time to come here. The Seaside Promenade is one<br />

of Baybays’ historical landmarks, and one of the<br />

best places on Leyte to see the magnificent Visayan<br />

sunsets, with many locals and tourists gathering<br />

on the promenade to pay homage. While walking<br />

around the city, the Veterans’ Memorial, the<br />

park, the church, and the heritage houses which<br />

are within the central district of the city are quite<br />

noticeable.<br />

Baybay literally means beach, so it stands to reason<br />

that its major tourist magnet is a stretch of beach<br />

that would shame some of the country’s better<br />

known beaches. Baybay may not be as wellknown<br />

as other popular white sand island beaches<br />




Mt. Pangasugan<br />

62<br />

in a country somewhat over endowed with<br />

spectacular beaches coated in fine, powder-like<br />

sand, but what it offers is its natural charm and<br />

privacy far from the madding crowd.<br />

Mt. Pangasugan<br />

Is one of the recognized mountains in Leyte. Mt.<br />

Pangasugan stands approximately 1,150m tall<br />

and is considered as “the last forest frontier in<br />

Eastern Visayas.” Many years ago, this mountain<br />

was the venue of the Visayas Mountain Festival<br />

organized by the Mountaineering Federation of the<br />

Philippines, Inc. Those who are fit and experienced<br />

can trek to the summit of Mt. Pangasungan, but<br />

its somewhat isolated location means it is not a<br />

recommended trek for beginners.<br />

Bakwitan River and Falls<br />

Is for the more adventurous, those who wish to<br />

explore the cavernous chambers of Lintaon Cave,<br />

take a refreshing dip in the rejuvenating waters<br />

of the Bakwitan Falls, or paddle down Ambacan<br />

River.<br />

Visayas State University<br />

VSU-Isabel is located in the progressive town of<br />

Isabel, Leyte, which is 76 km northwest of the<br />

VSU main campus which is sited in Baybay.<br />

The Visayas State University (VSU) is a premier<br />

university of science and technology in the Visayas.<br />

It has qualified for Level IV Reaccreditation from<br />

the Accrediting Agency for Chartered Colleges<br />

and Universities in the Philippines, Inc. (AACCUP)<br />

in its eight academic programs including Bachelor<br />

of Animal Science, Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness,<br />

Bachelor of Elementary Education, Bachelor of<br />

Secondary Education, Masters of Science in Agriculture,<br />

and in Education, Masters of Agricultural<br />

Development in Agriculture, and in Education.<br />

It was established in June 20, 1971 as Isabel Rural High<br />

School by virtue of Republic Act 4583. Seven<br />

years after its inception, the school was converted<br />

into Isabel National Agricultural and Vocational<br />

School (INAVS). The establishment of the Leyte<br />

Industrial Development Estate, a Special Economic<br />

Zone that has the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Inc.<br />

(PhilPhos) and the Philippine Associated Smelting<br />

and Refining Corporation (PASAR) has spurred<br />

the flourishing of the industries in the locality.<br />

Based within the campus are several agricultural<br />

research and training centers: the Philippine Root<br />

Crop Research and Training Center, (PhilRootcrops);<br />

National Abaca Research Center (NARC);<br />

National Coconut Research Center (NCRC) -<br />

Visayas; Farm and Resource Management Institute<br />

(FARMI); Philippine Carabao Center (PCC); and<br />

Agricultural Training Institute - National Training<br />

Center (ATI-NTC) - Visayas.<br />

Maasin<br />

Legend has it that navigator and explorer<br />

Ferdinand Magellan, on his way from Limasawa<br />

to Cebu, dropped anchor in the Canturing River<br />

in 1521 to replenish his dwindling stock of fresh<br />

water. His men found the taste of the water salty,<br />

which led to the name Maasin.<br />

The Jesuits founded the Maasin Settlement in<br />

1700; and once again the Augustinians then took<br />

over from 1848-1896. Ancient Maasin soon<br />

became the hub of business and government<br />

activity from Palompon to Hinunangan after<br />

becoming a town in 1755. A fiscal’s office, a court<br />

of First Instance, (“Administrador de Hacienda”),<br />

which is equivalent to the office of Treasurer today<br />

was then established in the newly minted town.<br />

When Southern Leyte became a province, Maasin<br />

was made the provincial capital and seat of the<br />

lone congressional district. The municipality was<br />

elevated to city status on August 10, 2000.

Now, a budding city discovering its potential<br />

and many advantages, Maasin City is opening<br />

its doors with the promise of a memorable<br />

experience for tourists, travellers, and entrepreneurs.<br />

Some of the city’s more interesting spots are: the<br />

City Forest Park, which is currently being groomed<br />

to be the city’s convention capital; the Cacao<br />

Mountain Resort; the beach resorts dotting the<br />

coastline from Barangay Pugaling to Ma. Clara;<br />

the country’s tallest shrine of the Assumption of<br />

Mary on Jalleca Hills in Barangay Mantahan; and<br />

of course, the triple eco-treat of Cagnituan —<br />

a huge subterranean cave, cool waterfall, and a<br />

refreshing lagoon. This wonderfully impressive<br />

grotto can be found in Barangay Cagnituan,<br />

15 km from the city and 276m above sea level;<br />

it’s a bit of a climb but well worth the effort.<br />

Entrepreneurs might also appreciate the current<br />

construction of an integrated public market — an<br />

addition to the city’s developing economic zones.<br />

Visayas State University<br />



Cagnituan<br />

subterranian river<br />

64<br />

Sogod<br />

Sogod (pronounced “suɡud”), officially the<br />

municipality of Sogod, is a municipality in the<br />

province of Southern Leyte, Philippines. The<br />

name has its origins in the Cebuano word, sogod,<br />

meaning “to start.” Founded as a Catholic mission<br />

station by the Society of Jesus in 1601, Sogod<br />

became a regular municipality on June 10, 1853.<br />

According to the 2015 National Statistics Office<br />

(NSO) census, it has a population of 44,986<br />

inhabitants.<br />

Sogod is to be found on the Southern Leyte<br />

section of the Pan-Philippine Highway, 126 km<br />

south of Tacloban City. Rugged mountains envelop<br />

most of the town’s northern terrain with many rivers<br />

winding through the southern lowlands. These<br />

rivers sustain the production of rice, corn,<br />

coconuts, tobacco, abaca and root crops. Quarrying<br />

firms in the river of Subangdaku greatly affect the<br />

economic performance of Sogod.<br />

The municipality is home to Southern Leyte State<br />

University (SLSU) Main Campus and Saint Thomas<br />

Aquinas College (STAC), one of the oldest parochial<br />

schools in the province, established in 1946.<br />

Sogod is becoming increasingly popular with divers<br />

for the range and diversity of its marine life.<br />

Diving in Sogod<br />

Sogod Bay is an underwater paradise. These gentle<br />

waters host a profusion of beautiful marine life —<br />

all waiting to be explored in uncrowded dive sites.<br />

With exceptional reefs, divers revel in gardens of<br />

coral, steep drop-offs, shelves and walls, as well as<br />

black sand teeming with macro life.<br />

With dedication to marine conservation, the Sogod<br />

Bay Scuba Resort has sponsored various Marine<br />

Protected Areas throughout Sogod Bay. The<br />

bio-diversity of the marine ecosystem offers visitors<br />

an unforgettable experience. In addition to a<br />

vast array of both soft and hard coral, Sogod Bay<br />

supports aquatic life from tiny pygmy seahorses,<br />

nudi-branches and pipefish to turtles, frogfish,<br />

napoleon wrasse, and even, at the right time of<br />

year, whale sharks. All responsible water sports<br />

enthusiasts are invited and welcome to discover<br />

the pristine waters, virgin reefs and abundant marine<br />

life of Sogod Bay, a place most visitors want to<br />

return to again and again.

Where to Stay<br />

Where ever your travels take you in Samar and<br />

Leyte there are numerous resorts and hotels all<br />

offering an array of services to fit your taste and<br />

budget and very easily located.<br />

Where to Eat<br />

Each Barangay or township has restaurants and<br />

cafes catering for all types of cuisine. Our advice<br />

is to look where the locals go, as usually the food<br />

is delicious and inexpensive. One of the best local<br />

places we encountered in Leyte was the evening<br />

BBQ at Ormoc bus terminal.<br />

towns the bus passes through en-route through<br />

Samar, Tacloban, Ormoc, Baybay and Maasin.<br />

Another way of reaching Maasin is to fly into Tacloban<br />

and hop onto an air-conditioned bus to Maasin.<br />

Then again, Philippine Airlines have a daily flight<br />

to Surigao Mindanao, where you can connect<br />

with a ferry to Maasin.<br />

Whichever mode of transport is preferred to<br />

reach these magnificent islands, the end result<br />

will be the same: a memorable holiday among<br />

friendly locals, largely unspoilt scenery, abundant<br />

water sports and spectacular views that will remain<br />

engraved in ‘the little grey cells’ forever.<br />

How to Get There<br />

Depending on the first port of call in the Eastern<br />

Visayas there are a variety of ways to reach Samar<br />

and Leyte, with a number of flights daily to the<br />

islands.<br />

To Samar: Philippine Airlines have 6 flights a week<br />

to Calbayog. For those who want to take in more<br />

of the country and can tolerate a long-ish road<br />

journey, a number of bus operators such as Philtranco<br />

run a daily service.<br />

To get to Tacloban: Cebu Pacific, Air Asia and<br />

Philippine Airlines fly there daily, and with over<br />

9 flights a day getting there is not a problem.<br />

Alternatively the bus trip is long and sometimes<br />

beomes a bit tiring, but well worth it to take in<br />

some of the Philippine scenery en-route.<br />

When catching a bus from Manila destined for<br />

Davao, travellers can select any of the cities and<br />


Fishing<br />

Is More Fun In<br />

the Philippines<br />

Fishing in the<br />

Philippines is<br />

just as enjoyable<br />

here in<br />

the Philippines<br />

as it is<br />

back home<br />

and you can<br />

use the same<br />

techniques<br />

as you have<br />

become used<br />

to at home.<br />

Words by<br />

JAMES<br />


Photographs<br />

as credited<br />

If you loved fishing in your native country<br />

and have retired to the Philippines, don’t<br />

despair. The Philippines waters are abundant in<br />

most of the species you are used to with a few<br />

more thrown in.<br />

Its 7,107 islands with almost 11,000 miles of<br />

coastline provide a limitless diversity of fishing<br />

possibilities. Species such as Marlin. Barracuda<br />

and Mackerel can be found from deep oceans and<br />

reefs to inland lakes and rivers. In many cases,<br />

species such as Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish or Darado)<br />

and Snapper that you had to hit the open waters to<br />

catch back home, can be hooked from the shore<br />

here in the Philippines. March and April are the<br />

best months at most sites for good results, however<br />

there are many all year prospects.<br />

If Manila was your choice of abode when moving<br />

to the Philippines, then just 57 mile away is<br />

Calatagan, Batangas, an excellent fishing spot.<br />

The tepid waters and coral reefs of Balayan Bay<br />

and the Verde Island Passage offer a great locale<br />

for huge Giant Trevally and a species you may not<br />

have heard of, the African Pompano which can<br />

grow to 20 kilo.<br />

100 mile from Manila is Subic Bay where sports’<br />

fishing has grown at a great rate in recent years.<br />

Designated fishing areas along the banks of Subic<br />

Bay offer an extensive variety of bottom fish<br />

including Grouper and Snapper and even pelagic<br />

species such as Dorado. By hiring a boat, which<br />

incidentally comes with your own captain, you<br />

are able to venture into open sea and tackle the<br />

66<br />

Lake Caliraya fishing


likes of the larger Sail Fish, Blue Marlin, Dorado<br />

and Spanish Mackerel. By asking the operators of<br />

the hotel you are staying or local fisherman for<br />

advice, you will quickly be pointed in the right<br />

direction of endeavor.<br />

Those of you in and around Cebu are in luck<br />

as Cebu is a fisherman’s paradise. Because of a<br />

constant year round water temperature of 27°C-<br />

29°C, no fish species are seasonal with only some<br />

of the smaller fish affected by the slight change<br />

in water temperatures. A 20 kilometer trip from<br />

Cebu City will take you to Naga Baywalk, an<br />

excellent destination for most species of fish,<br />

including Spanish Mackerel, Barracuda and<br />

Dorado. Mactan Island, just a few kilometers off<br />

the coast of Cebu City is one of the Philippines<br />

chief draw cards for both recreational and commercial<br />

fisherman. Bounded by reefs, channels and open<br />

waters, Mactan is home to the most assorted collection<br />

of game fish in the Philippines. It would be no<br />

surprise to venture home with good sized Trevally,<br />

Mackerel, Dorado, Wahoo or Tuna in your bag.<br />

Fishing under the moon is especially fruitful with<br />

reef species such as Grouper feeding more prolifically<br />

during nocturnal hours.<br />

The inland, neighboring freshwater lakes of<br />

Caliraya and Lumot in Cavinti on Luzon provide<br />

a fishing experience unique to Asia. While both<br />

lakes are manmade they harbor prolific numbers<br />

of introduced American Large Mouth Bass with<br />

catches of up to 5 kilos being taken. Both lakes<br />

are wide and deep with yearly Bass Fishing contest<br />

Malabar<br />

Grouper<br />

caught off<br />

Mactan Island<br />


Fishing in<br />

Subic Bay<br />


eing held on Lake Lumot. They both will provide<br />

an abundance of Tilapia for your dinner table.<br />

Another highly sought after fish species that<br />

are delectable to the palate is the Barramundi<br />

(Apahap in Philippines). They can also be found<br />

in most coastal Philippines waters, estuaries and<br />

rivers. So, the fishing in the Philippines is just<br />

as enjoyable here in the Philippines as it is back<br />

home and you can use the same techniques as<br />

you have become used to at home. No need<br />

to retire from your pastimes because you have<br />

retired to the Philippines.<br />

For the best fishing spots close to your area, and<br />

the spots mentioned here are just the tip of the<br />

iceberg, contact your local fishing club and they<br />

will gladly provide you with all the information you<br />

need including the best places to acquire your fishing<br />

tackle. Most fishing locales have hotels and resorts<br />

nearby and they also will provide information on<br />

best areas for a successful days fishing.<br />

fishingthephilippines.files.wordpress.com<br />


Sailing Tips<br />

There should<br />

be a strong<br />

fastening<br />

point near the<br />

hatchway so<br />

that harness<br />

lines can be<br />

slipped on<br />

before the<br />

crew leaves<br />

the cabin.<br />

You’ve always been interested to sail, but you know little about boat parts, the confusing technobabble,<br />

and what little you know is making your head spin in four different directions! Worry no<br />

more. This continuing series of articles is for you: it covers tips regarding hardware present on most boats,<br />

as well as common sailing techniques, terms and definitions, the names of the different pieces of hardware,<br />

and much more. This will keep you informed about most things you will need before you begin your own<br />

sailing excursion. Be sure to consult with an experienced sailor and someone knowlegeable about boats.<br />

Article<br />

excerpts<br />

reprinted<br />

from<br />

the book<br />



by BOB BOND<br />

& STEVE<br />


A boat correctly<br />

secured in alongside<br />

berth with the warps<br />

rigged both bow<br />

and stern<br />

72<br />

Fender types<br />

Equipment for Berthing<br />

Your boat is probably going to have to spend a good<br />

deal of its life berthed alongside a quay or pontoon.<br />

It is therefore crucial to know how to secure it properly<br />

to prevent it from moving around and damaging<br />

both itself and other craft. You will also need the<br />

proper equipment with which to secure it – good<br />

quality rope warps fenders of a suitable size and<br />

shape for your boat that are strong enough to withstand<br />

chafe on rough walls, and cleats and fairleads<br />

fixed to your boat, sturdily made and securely bolted<br />

on. All the equipment should be checked regularly<br />

for signs of wear and tear, if you do not wish to<br />

find yourself adrift one night in the middle of a<br />

gale. In normal circumstances, you would choose a<br />

berth which is sheltered from the full force of wind<br />

and waves, but now and again you may have no<br />

alternative. Any equipment must be strong enough<br />

to withstand considerable pressure. Make sure that<br />

any knots you tie will not come undone.

Fenders<br />

Fenders are usually made of plastic, although<br />

you do get rope ones occasionally. They are hung<br />

over the side of the boat, tied to stanchions or<br />

grabrails, and are carefully positioned to prevent the<br />

boat from rubbing against the sides of the berth, or<br />

another boat. They come in a variety of shapes and<br />

sizes to suit the needs of different boats and berthing<br />

situations. You will need at least four large fenders on<br />

board, preferably more, they are however bulky and<br />

take up a lot of space. Since only the widest part of<br />

the boat normally touches the side of the berth, you<br />

need only to position them where the side of<br />

the boat and berth meet. If you are berthed up<br />

alongside an uneven quay wall, you may find it best<br />

to hang a fender board (a wooden plank) outside<br />

the fenders, to spread the load correctly and protect<br />

the boat.<br />

Cleats and fairleads<br />

The cleats on your boat should be as large as possible,<br />

since the larger the cleat the less wear this is on the<br />

warp. There should be no sharp edges to it, and every<br />

boat should be equipped with at least four deck<br />

cleats which can be used for mooring. Bigger boats<br />

will need more. If the warps are under great strain,<br />

you should have a Sampson post. Your boat should<br />

have a fairlead on either side, at the bow and stern,<br />

so that the warps do not rub against the stanchions<br />

or the rigging. The fairleads can be open or closed<br />

at the top, although the closed type are safer since<br />

the warp cannot slip out accidently.<br />

coming alongside. The bow and the stern lines have<br />

to be strong enough to carry the main load of the<br />

boat and long enough to allow for any rise and fall<br />

of the tide, roughly three times the tidal range. Two<br />

other warps, rigged as springs, prevent the boat from<br />

moving backwards and forwards, and from rubbing<br />

against the side of the berth. These don’t need to<br />

be as long as the bow and stern lines; one and a half<br />

times the tidal range is sufficient. The bow and stern<br />

lines and the springs need adjusting as the tide rises<br />

and falls. The bow and stern lines, provided they are<br />

long enough, need only be adjusted at half tide; the<br />

springs may need more adjustment. If you are going<br />

to leave your boat unattended for some time, you<br />

must make sure you have left enough length on the<br />

lines to allow for the tidal range. When lying alongside<br />

a quay or wall do not lead the springs through or<br />

under the rails, but take them instead through the<br />

fairleads and then outside the rigging.<br />

Preventing chafe<br />

No matter how strong your warps, you will find<br />

that they chafe against the sides of the boat and<br />

berth unless adequately protected. Since warps are<br />

expensive to replace, make sure you cover the parts<br />

likely to get worn with plastic tubing. Although the<br />

tension on the line should keep the tubing in place,<br />

you can lash it in place with a light line if you prefer.<br />

Warps<br />

The warps used for berthing a boat serve different<br />

functions. Two warps, which form the bow and stern<br />

lines, position the boat correctly in the berth, and<br />

are used by the crew to control the boats sped when<br />

Use plastic tubing to<br />

prevent chafing<br />

Left: <strong>Dec</strong>k layout<br />

with cleats and<br />

sampson post<br />

Lower left: A fender<br />

board positioned<br />

correctly outside the<br />

fenders<br />

Inset: Use at least<br />

three fenders<br />




Round Taal Vol<br />

There should<br />

be a strong<br />

fastening<br />

point near the<br />

hatchway so<br />

that harness<br />

lines can be<br />

slipped on<br />

before the<br />

crew leaves<br />

the cabin.<br />

Words by<br />

BARRY<br />

DAWSON<br />

Photographs<br />

as credited:<br />

76<br />

Sixteen years ago, Peter Capotosto and members<br />

had to decide which weekend to choose, for<br />

Taal Lake Yacht Club’s most important event. They<br />

picked the 3rd weekend in November. The Northeast<br />

monsoon is past its fickle entry stage, decidedly<br />

overpowering the Southwest Monsoon, but it’s still<br />

in its early, weaker stage. Winds will be 8-15 knots,<br />

rather than the overpowering 25 knot winds that we<br />

often see in late <strong>Dec</strong>ember thru February. This year<br />

was no exception, with ten Hobies, one multihull<br />

and eight oz goose from home-builts competing<br />

made for a good competitive weekend. There were<br />

seven races, over two days, for the Hobie 16s, and 6<br />

for the other boats, with everyone getting one drop.

lcano Regatta<br />

It is a particularly important event for the Hobies,<br />

because the RTV counts for points in the PHINSAF<br />

Travellers Series.<br />

With perfect sailing conditions for the ‘Round Taal<br />

Volcano Regatta. The first day got off to a great<br />

start and featured two special races, with awards<br />

that would be presented at the first awards dinner,<br />

at Balai Isabel, a successful growing resort community,<br />

that has been the Regatta’s sponsor for the past<br />

decade.<br />


The Governors Cup:<br />

The Governor’s Cup, which is for the Hobie 16 class,<br />

a race around Volcano Island, is the main trophy up<br />

for grabs.<br />

The club promotes other classes too. Many of them<br />

are too small to go around the island and still make<br />

it to Balai Isabel for lunch, so their “Governors Cup”<br />

course is a bit shorter. This year embedded in the<br />

other classes, was a group of sailors from “Sailability”,<br />

a group representing the sport of disabled sailing.<br />

They sailed surprisingly well, with one sailor even<br />

coming second in the OZ Goose class, the class<br />

that this year, even outnumbered the Hobie 16s, in<br />

number of boats.<br />

By far the most exciting part of the RTV was the<br />

huge jump in the capability of the Oz Goose sailors.<br />

The amazing thing was in the six races; even though<br />

many skippers were either relatively new or sailing<br />

the Oz Goose practically for the first time, there<br />

were only two capsizes. Both recovered quickly and<br />

finished their races.<br />

The new racers were visibly improving race by race<br />

in the rough conditions, graduating from dashing<br />

about during countdown to confidently sitting<br />

relaxed and depowered near the start line, keeping<br />

their places despite the rising winds. Starts improved<br />

with everyone crossing on time, better course<br />

understanding and just about everyone had a good<br />

race result or two.<br />



A large part of this was due to the good work done<br />

the week before in the regular club race, with Roy<br />

Espiritu having rounded up recreational sailors<br />

to show up. November’s 2nd Sunday race for the<br />

PY fleet became a brilliant Goose fleet coaching<br />

session, thanks to TLYC Commodore Peter Capotosto.<br />

He ran short back to back races to hone everyone on<br />

critically needed skills - timing starts, mark rounding,<br />

efficiently getting their Geese upwind at speed, plus<br />

an impromptu lunchtime lecture on a bunch of basic<br />

racing stuff.<br />

Some of which I had to work on too! I was having real<br />

problems remembering how many laps I had done in<br />

the RTV and getting the details of the course right.<br />

In this particularly trying conditions we noted the<br />

well-sailed two-crew Oz Geese were quite capable<br />

of mixing it with singlehanded Geese. A two-hander<br />

sailed by Paralympic sailor Cherrie Pinpin with crew<br />

Cholo Espritu ended coming in second overall while<br />

para sailors Clytie Bernardo and Joy Habana gamely<br />

sailed with adventurous crew before sailing together<br />

on Sunday to take 5th place out of 9 boats.<br />

80<br />

That evening after the first day’s events the<br />

traditional awards dinner was hosted by Sponsors of<br />

the RTV Balai Isabel, where again a sumptuous feast<br />

was enjoyed by all and major awards given out for<br />

the day’s events. Like the Governor’s cup and the<br />

Noel Lim Cup. The winners were in the Hobie 16 class<br />

the ever popular and regular winner again showing


his expertise with the Hobies was Michael Ngu with<br />

Boyet Magsanay, with another regular crew on the<br />

awards podium was Maria and Joe Hagedorn taking<br />

second place while avid supporter and Hobie dealer<br />

Monchu Garcia took out third place with the<br />

assistance of his daughter Bianca. The same three<br />

teams took out the Masters with Monchu & Bianca<br />

in first place, Maria & Joe Hagedorn kept the average<br />

going with another second with Michael and Boyet<br />

in third place. In the B fleet section the winner was<br />

Jose Gonzales and Sara Black coming first in both<br />

Governors cup and over winners for the weekend,<br />

while Jolada Pablo and Noki Jarvata came in second,<br />

there were only two placings in this division because<br />

of the diminished numbers of entrants.<br />

In the Oz Goose and handicap there was a huge<br />

increase in entrants with Michael Storer taking out<br />

first place while Job Ferranco secured secon spot<br />

and the ever present Cherrie Pinpin representing<br />

the handicapped sailors came in third with crew<br />

Cholo Espiritu.<br />

The ‘Round Taal Volcano Regatta” (RTV) is the only<br />

event during the year that considers handicap racing.<br />

Although the courses are not the same for all classes,<br />

there is one part of the course for each class, that<br />

overlaps the courses of everyone else, and they all<br />

race on it, at approximately the same time. The time<br />

over that section is calculated, and the Noel Lim Cup<br />

is awarded for that “all Classes” section of the course.<br />

After the awards were over it was back to party time<br />

where everyone enjoyed the hospitality of the Balai<br />

Isabel, and basking in the comradeship of all present<br />

at this year’s event.<br />

The second day’s racing also got off to a good start<br />

with ideal sailing conditions, with 5 races being<br />

completed, again with the traditional delicious BBQ<br />

luncheon sponsored again by Broadwater Marine.<br />

After the days racing was completed awards were<br />

presented to the overall winners before enjoying a<br />

few cold ones then heading home and looking forward<br />

to an even bigger and better RTV in 2017.<br />




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