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Horizon is a trademark and Sunbrella® is a registered trademark of Glen Raven, Inc. 525319
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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Now nearly the end of September and again the magazine is nearly a
month late due to the ongoing restrictions caused by the COVID-19
pandemic. Our apologies for this, but it is beyond our control but still
managed to get your favourite magazine out, albeit a little late.
In this issue we have revisited after 6 years the region of Ilocos Norte.
This is one on the better places to visit even during the restrictions placed
on travellers. Just check with local authorities before when planning you
holiday there. There has been a lot of press lately over the handling of
the pandemic and we feel very strongly about some of the government
restrictions placed that have done nothing but cause further economic
disaster for the country, of course this is our opinion and everyone has a
right to an opinion and say they cannot restrict us for that. We only hope
that they come to their senses very quickly so we can get back to living
normal lives and enjoy the things we all enjoy the most, like enjoying a
weekend at the beach or going sailing and to be involved again in sports
on the water, like the RTV Regatta at Lake Taal, The All Souls Regatta at
Puerto Galera and regattas at the Punta Fuego Yacht Club.
Addressing The Covid-19 6
With Common Sense
Stuck At Home Because of a Pandemic? 14
Build A Boat
Cruising With Corona 3 22
The Voyage Home
Sea Tales - Fishing Terrorists 28
And The Coral Carpet
Paolo Soler: Spreading 36
The Stoke Of Surfing
Can Oarfish Predict Earthquakes? 42
Destination - ILOCOS NORTE 48
At 177kph Dubai Police Acquire World’s 68
Fastest Speed Boat To Combat Covid-19
Sailing Tips - The Development of Sailing 72
In our next edition we are hoping to be able to bring you information
on one of the most beautiful Islands in the Philippines, Siquijor with its
crystal clear waters and pure white sands. It is also noteworthy to mention
that Siquijor has had the lowest incidence of the COVID-19.
Until then stay safe and let’s hope that we can return to normal
activities sooner than later.
Barry Dawson Editor
Cover photo courtesy of RAYOMARINE
Destination - ILOCOS NORTE
Published quarterly by: ABW PUBLISHING
House 16, Madrigal Compound, 2550 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Publisher: ROSALIE M. BAIRD
Managing Editor & Production: BARRY DAWSON
Associate Editor: ROY ESPIRITU
Layout & Design: MAR SUBA
Contributing Writers: BRUCE CURRAN & JAMES WEBSTER
Contributing Photographers: TERRY DUCKHAM & JOHNNY MARTINEZ
Advertising: (046) 489-2087/ 0919-070-3751/ 0917-871-8547
Printed by: House Printers, Taytay, Rizal, Philippines
Active Boating and Watersports is a copyright© production
No part can be copied or reproduced without the express
permission of the publishers.
The views expressed and advertisements published in Active Boating & Watersports
are those of the authors and advertisers, and not ABW Publishing.
ABW Publishing does not accept any liability whatsoever for errors or omissions.
Words by BARRY DAWSON
Photographs as Credited
Go ahead, include sailing,
basketball and other
reopening of clubs and
cinemas- but, common
sense should prevail, and
always wear a mask when
large crowds are involved.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered
a “lockdown” of the entire metro Manila
region from March 15 to April 14 (which many
restrictions are still in effect 4 months on) due to
the coronavirus pandemic. Flanked by army and police
officials, the president delivered a meandering, often
contradictory address to the nation, leaving residents
scrambling to prepare for a month of potential isolation in
a region that already struggles to provide access to food,
water, and medical care to over 12 million inhabitants.
Now history will show that our Governing bodies have
grossly OVER-REACTED to this Chinese inspired virus...
to an infection that is clearly MANAGEABLE .Instead we
have NEEDLESSLY destroyed the Philippine economy with
devastating SOCIAL as well as ECONOMIC consequences.
We are now faced with these things that are not just
getting out of hand; they have well and truly got out
of hand! With suicides and bankruptcies occurring on
a daily basis. Our politicians and health bureaucrats
in particular have got to understand , and this includes
the President, that I, you, and the entire population
IMMEDIATELY expect an improving balance between
return to work and freedom of travel—and restricted
work/ lock down. Herein we are NOT making the strides
we should be making on behalf of return to work...not
by half! We know enough now to say to ‘hell with shut
downs‘, ‘to hell with autocratic Prima Donna Politicians,
Mayors and faceless public servants’ making rules which
have ALARMING and DESTRUCTIVE consequences for
hundreds of thousands of small businesses, their families
and their employees. Indeed, what we have in front of us
is a manageable and PROACTIVE return to work scenario
because we have enough information to implement this!
1. The Number one focus must be on DEATHS. What
proportion of the population is actually DYING dumdum?
Who are they?
2. How many are getting the virus...but NOT DYING?
3. What contains the spread of the virus?
4. If we go back to work much more rapidly than now
what are the likely consequences.
5. If we don’t get back to work, full time pretty soon,
what are the FURTHER SOCIAL and ECONOMIC
consequences for our economy and our MENTAL
HEALTH as a nation?
6. Looking ahead, I say there is much to be OPTIMISTIC
about viz. therapeutics (imminent) and state of the art
(akin to flu injection)
7. GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to restructure the Philippine
Allow me to answer these 7 referenced points.
(1) The people DYING from COVID are broadly those with
other pre-existing conditions. There are always going
to be exceptions, but this is the broad picture. They
amount to 0.0009 percent of the population. Get it?
Less than 1 percent!
(2) 99 percent + are NOT dying from Covid!
(3) Sensible health practices, if in doubt see a doctor
and get a check-up. Practice sensible social distancing
in heavily populated areas, Take better care of the
elderly and be aware that in some cases they are more
susceptible, especially if pre-existing conditions exist,
like heart disease, high blood pressure. Asthma.
(4) We should expect a SPIKE in virus infections. But we
shouldn’t be unduly fazed or alarmed. It’s the number
of deaths we need to focus on. Those who get the virus,
other than some elderly and other pre-existing
condition almost always recover. Some, with minimal
sickness. Health practises must continue to be enforced
at work including hands sanitation. (Recently I asked
a friend who manages a large complex in Manila.
Now, working restricted hours...as to customer induced
viral infections: apparently they have had NONE and
this has been the case since they reopened.
Go ahead, Include sailing, basketball and other sporting
spectacles, reopening of clubs and cinemas- but,
common sense should prevail, and always wear a mask
when large crowds are involved. Like major sporting
spectacles. Continuing, any person becoming sick at
work reports his/her reason as to non-work attendance
and stays home, working from there, if practical and
returns to work with a medical clearance. But here’s
where the Government does have a specific role. It
must introduce the TAIWAN model, where there have
been minuscule deaths, by enforcing a telephone app
where an infected person is contacted day and night as to
his/her whereabouts, thus containing the spread of the
virus thru his or her known and highly restricted
(5) No more shutdowns. These have driven many people
CRAZY to the point of suicide, morbidity, despair of all
kinds, and paved the way for long spells in mental
homes. How dare any politician or bureaucrat think
they have the right to take away my or your liberty!
Especially, as it is becoming clear, that lockdowns only
destroy the economy. They do not eradicate or
control the spread of the virus. And, just like the flu,
this virus is almost certainly here to stay
(6) The Imminent arrival of more effective therapeutics
and the near certainty of the flu injection equivalent
will enable us to return to normality. And therapeutics
alone combined with good health practices is enough,
right now, to ensure a safe return to work.
(7) COVID is a golden opportunity for the nation to plan
for a new economy and pave the way in which we
conduct our business. Wherever possible we need to
‘build it here’. Thus more manufacturing of our own
goods, creating more employment, more downstream
minerals processing, a national energy plan where
and make this the land of opportunity, if the
government keeps going on its current path it will
become the land of stupidity!
green energy elements are manufactured here and not
imported from China for example in the form of
finished solar, nuclear energy is depoliticized and
becomes a serious integrated energy option, we
mobilise our huge water resources as part of a national
water grid. Because the Filipino people are very
talented and inventive, maybe we can create special
economic zones, we invite the best brains in the
world to pass on their ideas in assisting this to happen.
This national plan must NOT be restricted to politicians.
But that the political circle will have to make ‘things
happen’ is an imperative. We have to work together
WHAT IF WE HAD BREAKING NEWS-300 more virus
cases reported. To handle this we have two possible
We already have a growing
number of anti vaxxers
refusing proven, tested,
well known vaccines that
have been administered
for decades but aren’t
said today that
during the past
6 months there
had been a spike
In the Covid
numbers, with an
The disaster of Duterte’s Lockdown
Aerial footage of NLEX hours before Manila lockdown due to COVID-19
‘This is very disappointing ‘he said. It means we have
to seriously consider a further lock-down’...We will try
our best to safeguard jobs and minimise time spent in
The President said today that although there had been
an inevitable ‘spike’ In COVID virus infections due to the
Government’s recent return to work policy ,the amount of
those dying have not risen as a percentage of the population,
and those who were reported as infected were under strict
surveillance due to state of the art surveillance technology.
‘The Government has no plans for further ‘shutdowns’, he said.
He added that the Government’s policy thrust was on
managing COVID based on targeting identified trouble
areas and computer empowerment to contain the spread
of the virus.
The President added that Philippine hospitals will have
no overcrowding issues, neither are we in a Middle Ages
Black Death Plague crisis troubled by calls of ‘Call Out The
Dead’, he added.
“It’s time for everybody to return to work irrespective
of any spike in the virus, because we have the means to
handle this”, he said.
Read and absorb this:
Please just take politics out of it and read this with an
open mind using common sense.
Is anyone out there who can tell me what our end game is
with the Covid 19?
What is the magic formula that is going to allow us to
sound the all clear?
Is it zero cases? The only way that will happen is if we just
stop testing and stop reporting.
Is it a vaccine? It took 25 years for a chicken pox vaccine
to be developed.
The smallpox inoculation was discovered in 1796 the last
known natural case was in 1977.
We have a flu vaccine that is only 40 to 60% effective
and less than half of the world population choose to get
one, and roughly 30,000 Filipinos will die of the flu or flu
Oh, you’ll mandate it, like other vaccines are mandated in
order to attend school, travel to some foreign countries, etc.
We already have a growing number of anti vaxxers
refusing proven, tested, well known vaccines that have
been administered for decades but aren’t necessarily safe!
Do you really think people will flock to get a fast tracked,
quickly tested vaccine, whose long term side effects and
overall efficacy are anyone’s best guess?
How long are we going to cancel and postpone and
reconsider? What if October’s numbers are the same as
Military joint task force
Coronavirus quarantine San Mateo
August’s? You moved football to summer? What if next
March is worse than this one was?
When do we decide quality of life outweighs the risks?
I understand Covid can be deadly or
very dangerous for SOME people,
but so are peanuts, strawberries, and
We take risks multiple times a day
without a second thought. We know
driving a car can be dangerous;
but we don’t leave it in the garage.
We speed and we don’t fasten our
seatbelts. We know the dangers of smoking, drinking and
eating fried foods, but we do it anyway. Is hugging Gran
or any other relative really more dangerous than rush hour
at MRT? Is going out with friends after work more risky
than convenience stores 4 day old
sushi? Or operating a chainsaw?
I understand I could
possibly pass it to
someone else, if I’m not
careful, but I can pass any
virus onto someone else
not just Covid-19.
When and how and why did we
so quickly lose our free will? “I
understand the risks, but I choose
a life with Hugs and Smiles, and
the Community Fair and Concerts
I understand that there is a
minuscule possibility I could die, but I will most likely end
up feeling like crap for a few days. I understand I could
possibly pass it to someone else, if I’m not careful, but I
can pass any virus onto someone else not just Covid-19.
I’m struggling to see where or how this ends.
We either get busy living or we get busy dying.
When it’s your time, you don’t get any mulligans, you die,
so I guess I would rather spend my time enjoying it and
living in the moment and not worrying about what ifs and
maybes, and I bet I’m not the only one.
Stuck at Home
Because of a
Words by ROY ESPIRITU
Photographs as Credited
Pascal’s backyard in Maasin,
Southern Leyte where he
plans to sail his boat
The World’s first boatbuilding boom happened
in the western world after world war two. Boat
designers wanted to give everyday folk access
to sailing through simple wooden boats, the
Optimist dinghy was one such boat that is still a popular
one-design racing class for young sailors. Introduced in
1947 and designed as the largest boat
that can be built from two sheets of
plywood, the Optimist was a means
for young people to get into sailing
without breaking the bank.
After the war people found themselves
with more spare time and spare
income than before, there was also
an abundance of quality materials
for boat building, such as waterproof
plywood which was perfected during
the war and was used to build PT boats as well as airplanes
such as the de Havilland Mosquito fighter/bomber. Boats
such as the Cadet, Sunfish and the International 14s were
designed using similar principles as the Optimist. In a few
years, what used to be an exclusive activity for the affluent
became a pastime for the masses.
New boats made of plywood were built from scratch or
from kits by families looking to get into this “new” sport,
and in a span of a decade hundreds of thousands of boats
were launched, and in almost every body of water saw the
establishment of yacht clubs or sailing clubs to support
these new boaters.
With the majority of the world’s population stuck at home
because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new boat-building
boom seems to be trending around the world. That, or
the world’s anxiousness has highlighted activities that
are usually taken for granted. In any case, a noticeable
increase in building boats at home seems to be the trend.
This was noticed by members of the
With the majority of the
world’s population stuck
at home because of the
COVID-19 pandemic, a
new boat-building boom
seems to be trending
around the world.
Philippine Home Boatbuilders Yacht
Club (PHBYC), a virtual yacht club
of amateur boatbuilders, the club is
an online community where amateur
boat builders share their experiences
with others and in one way or the
other help each other as a collective.
The increased activity on the PHBYC
social media page is evidence of
this increase in home boat building.
Relatively new members have posted photos showing the
progress of their current projects, and asked questions on
details they were unsure of. Questions asked were mostly on
the availability of some materials specified on their boat plans
as well as local alternatives and where they can be sourced.
Michael Storer, a Batangas based Australian small boat
designer and member of PHBYC confirmed this ramp
up of home boatbuilding, “Since the start of COVID my
income from my overseas agents has been 3 times the
normal rate. Quite a shock to be earning what would be
considered good money in Australia - very unusual for a
boat designer!” Storer said.
Paulo in Legazpi spreading epoxy fillets on the seams of his Chameleon dinghy
“There has been a huge amount of boatbuilding activity in
my internet groups as well, as clients looked at their bucket
list to find something they could do at home or those already
building progressed much more quickly than expected. A
real feeling of busy boat building on the internet is a new
phenomenon with new
projects starting almost
every day and new boats
hitting the water weekly.”
Paulo Limbaña is a new
PHBYC member from
Legazpi, Albay who
is building a nesting
Chameleon Dinghy designed by Danny Greene. Plans were
purchased online from Duckworks boat building supply.
This is Paolo’s first boat build, and he’s looking forward
to learning how to sail on his new boat and exploring the
area around Albay Gulf, his home waters. The Chameleon
nesting dinghy he is building splits in half for transport and
storage, when apart, forward section fits in the aft section,
Amazing craftsmanship of Steve Goodchild,
the three years of work was all worth it.
Pascal working on his boat in his workshop which also doubles as an ALS classroom
nesting boats are popular among big boat sailors who use
the dinghies as a tenders for their larger boats.
When asked about why he started building now he said
that “I’ve always had a fascination for sailboats, warships,
including triremes, to ships of the line, I really think they’re
cool.” Paulo said. “I chose to build now because I have
more time, and probably more capable than before of
understanding sailboat and boatbuilding mechanics and
physics, and how things work”.
A business planning analyst for a casino hotel, he is
currently on an extended unpaid vacation at home because
of the pandemic. Having minimal wood working experience
didn’t matter, information he needed was just a click away,
he found that building a boat is very meaningful, and kept
him sane, “watching boatbuilding videos online helped a
great deal in this boatbuilding journey” Paulo added.
Steve taking his family out on the week that
he launched his newly built boat.
Paulo’s build is well documented in photos and video in the
PHBYC Facebook group page. One step that got people’s
attention was when he cut his boat in half. Nesting boats are
Paulo cutting his nesting dinghy in half with a hand saw
usually built as one boat initially, both halves are separated
by bulkheads that are initially separated by cardboard
spacers. The boat is cut in half by the builder at a specific
stage of the build, a cut is made between bulkhead, cutting
through the cardboard spacers. He is currently working on
the finishing details of his boat, hoping to finish before
Amihan arrives in October.
In the UK, a retired land surveyor saw himself working 13 hours
daily for three months to finish his cedar-planked Stornoway
that he started in 2017. His launch and build got media
attention during the
pandemic because he
To get the boat out,
Steve had to remove
the door as well as
its surrounding door
had to do some minor
home demolition to
get the boat out of
from Devon ran a
joinery shop in an
earlier life and has a
background, When he originally planned the build of his
Stornoway he knew he could get it out of the patio door,
but boatbuilders being what they are couldn’t leave well
enough alone and made some modifications to the design
by adding a foredeck, this made the finished boat a few
inches wider. To get the boat out, Steve had to remove the
door as well as its surrounding door frame. Considering he
built the entire boat inside a spare room in his house, the
house remodeling job wasn’t that big of a deal.
Steve’s Stornoway now outside his house for the first time
dinghy, but I was determined to get it out and so I motioned
it out of Paignton harbour. I put the sails up and it went like
a bird,” Mr. Goodchild said. “It was absolutely wonderful. I
Over in Maasin, Southern Leyte, Pascal Canning runs a
small hotel with his wife. He is also a master carpenter who
teaches advanced woodworking to out of school youths.
Pascal is building his first boat, the boat that he chose
to build is the Tryst, a 10 foot sailing dinghy designed by
Richard Woods. Pascal also acquired the outrigger option
for the Tryst turning the boat into a trimaran called the
The details of Steve’s build are well documented and was
even featured in several boating and sailing publications,
getting his boat out of the house and launched in the
middle of a pandemic made his story newsworthy and
picked up by several media outfits, including the BBC. “I’m
essentially a fair–weather sailor,” he said. “The trouble is,
the weather doesn’t seem to know that.”
Steve’s boat called “Barnacle” was launched into Devon’s
Paignton harbour just as lockdowns were eased, and he
took Barnacle out for her maiden sail “It was blowing
probably a force five or six, which is a bit much for a sailing
Pascal’s plan is to build the boat for under $500, so far it
looks to be on budget, the plywood and lumber he was
able to source locally, but he had to go online to purchase
the epoxy and fiberglass needed for the build. With
tourism non-existent and his teaching load non-existent
because of the pandemic, he’s using his time productively,
documenting the build on his you tube channel as a means
of continued education for his students.
Pascal teaches woodworking under the Alternative
Learning System (ALS) through their local charity the Star
Apple Foundation. The quality of his work is evident in
his videos, and just like Paulo in Legazpi, Pascal is looking
forward to learning how to sail on his new boat as well as
teaching his daughter how to sail. Pascal’s you tube channel
is called Irish Chippy, where he shares woodworking and
gardening tips as well as an ongoing series on building a
The Voyage Home
They started moving
some of the ships closer
to us with small tugs,
fine in a calm day but
disastrous if the wind
Words & Photographs by
ife on our barge dragged on past one hopeful deadline
to another, until it was apparent, we needed a new
plan. The impending weather change to typhoon
and rainy season would see us in peril.
Although the yard we were in was in total lock down,
the neighboring yards started to come to life. Constant
hammering and grinding noise were deafening during the
day. They started moving some of the ships closer to us with
small tugs, fine in a calm day but disastrous if the wind blew.
So, we started to see what it would take to leave, no one had
a plan, no procedure was in place. This is all new. Private
yachts are such a small population that we were skipped over
in many regards, leaving many in “no man’s land” of you can
not stay here and you can not go anywhere else. So that left
us swimming upstream in the Filipino bureaucracy river.
We found some new friends who were an incredible help.
The Chairperson of the SBMA took a personal interest
in getting us home, it would not have happened without
her. She passed us on to the needed Port Authorities. Via
another friend we were introduced to a high-ranking Filipino
Coast Guard officer. He got things rolling in Cebu for us. We
had a visit by three CG officers who gave us a list of needed
documents and where to send them. We were on our way, or
so we thought.
The system here is bottom up government, the local
Barangays were given great authority in fighting the virus.
For the most part this worked well. We went to the local
office for our Health Certificates and Quarantine Certificates.
This was my first time off the boat in weeks. It required
hiring a special jeepney with a closed off passenger area
where Donna and I sat, isolated. It was nice to see the real
Once the local certificates were obtained, we had completed
our list. We emailed all the required documents to the
address provided by the Coast Guard. Half the addresses
bounced, and the others simply did not respond. Next move
was to send the same package, expand the email list and
state basically that I knew they were busy, so If I do not hear
ack, I assume we are cleared to go. That got one response,
of the eight emails sent, and instructions to send this to an
Admiral, which I did with no response.
It became clear the Coast Guard was not the way to go so
we went back local. Donna contacted the Mayor of our
Barangay’s office who said, come on in. Three weeks had
gone by since I received the Subic Bay Clearance and the
local certificates. After hearing my sad
tale of woe, the Mayor gave me a letter
authorizing our travel. We are going
We cleared our bill and bid farewell to
the shipyard and our “isolation Island
Barge”. Stocked up and slipped the
lines pre-dawn on a blustery Saturday.
To add to the
drama, they strung
“DANGER” red tape
all around the boat.
Now we were underway, not sure if we would be stopped
along the way. I do not like to travel at night in the
Philippines, Donna refuses so we did long days, twelve to 14
hours, leaving first light and anchoring in last light. As we
did not have clearance to enter any other area, so we had to
be a bit stealth.
First stop was Gigantes Islands, normally we spend a few fun
packed days there. This year the white sandy beaches and
fresh scallops had to be missed. Next stop was Romblon
Rombon, another of our favorite places to spend a week.
We did not enter the usual protected bay, but anchored on
the outside near a sand spit, the dead calm winds made this
Like most trawler cruisers, I am obsessed with fuel efficiency.
We normally travel right at 7 knots burning just under 2 usg
an hour, (8 liters) if we go faster the fuel usage goes up quite
fast. We left Cebu with full fuel tanks and the news that fuel
prices had dropped to half what we had paid, so I said “petal
to the mettle” and we did 8 knots all the way. Actually, that
was only a 100 rpm bump, but it felt like a rocket.
Our friends at Puerto Galera Yacht Club contacted the Coast
Guard and asked if we might be able to anchor overnight.
They agreed, no one on or off the boat, out by daylight
clearance. We pulled into the familiar anchorage just as
dark fell. It was quite crowded with other quarantine boats.
Our good friend came over in his dinghy, maintaining social
distancing we had a chat. That was the first non-Filipino I
had talked to in 2 months, I did not realize that until he left,
and I went “wow that was nice”.
The last leg is a familiar one, Puerto Galera to Subic Bay.
We departed under a quarter moon at 3
am to insure a daylight arrival. This is was
done to facilitate the people that would
have to clear us in.
I had emailed the port, the yacht club,
and the coast guard four hours out with a
solid ETA. As is protocol we then radioed
the Port Authority as we entered the
bay. They responded, “we are expecting
you, cleared to the yacht club”
We entered the yacht club marina and were greeted by
staff in a small work boat. I had hoped to go right to our
berth, but they took me to an isolated dock across from the
marina. The staff and quarantine officers came to the boat,
inspected us, and took body temperatures. We supplied all
the paperwork needed.
At this point we all realized, we were the first boat to return
to Subic Bay from the lock down. The quarantine doctor was
quite frank, they had no idea what to do with us, this was
all new. I quickly discovered there was no water or power
at this unused dock so the idea of spending 14 days there
was unacceptable. We were assured a better solution would
come tomorrow and it did.
A cooperative effort of the Quarantine office and the yacht
club came up with a unique solution. We needed to be
isolated and unable to leave the boat, but we need access
to water, and preferably power. We were instructed to go to
our normal berthing area where we were greeted by a large
group. As both side of the berth were open, they suspended
us between the two fingers, so we could not leave the boat.
To add to the drama, they strung “DANGER” red tape all
around the boat.
Donna had kept photo records of her daily ritual taking our
body temps. This was a life saver as it showed our travel days
counted off our Q time. So we sat 9 days off the dock with
our DANGER tape. Friends came by to chat at a distance.
We were able to order take out, first time in 2 months Donna
was relieved from cooking. I used an old gaff hook to grab
delivery bags from the dock.
So we sat, clicking off the days until we got the notice via
email, “your Q time ends tonight at midnight” not sure why
midnight? But I told them, “if the security cameras spot an
old guy running up and down the dock at 12:05, it is just me!
Once back to near normal life, we then passed our experiences
on to other boats arriving. There have been four boats
now. Last night we had a “free at last” dinner with our new
neighbor whose Q time was up.
As cumbersome and often frustrating as the experience was,
I must say that everyone we dealt with was sincerely trying
to help. They all have my heart felt appreciation. I want to
personally thank a few of the many who helped us, without
these wonderful people we would not be Home:
SBMA Chairwoman Wilma T. Eisma, Subic Bay Port Authority
Jerome Martinez and John S Quervedo. Quarantine office,
Dr. Joseph Macaraeg, Colorado Shipyard manager Stephanie
Chua, and her staff. PCG Captain Rosario and many others
who helped us wade through the bureaucratic maze.
Most of all I want to thank my family for enduring so well.
Donna was a marvel, cooked interesting meals every day,
participated in all my “celebrations’ with glee, managed
our shopping as I could
But I told them, “if
the security cameras
spot an old guy
running up and down
the dock at 12:05,
it is just me!
not go out at all, (too old
)and kept a positive loving
attitude with both her
playful “boys”. Priam was
incredible, went 2 months
without seeing another
kid, managed to entertain
himself “on the barge”
every day. He became a
wizard poker player as well.
With out the two of them being so wonderful this could have
really been miserable, it was not. I have a extraordinary family,
always knew this but more so now.
I have a newfound appreciation for things I took for granted:
ability to go for a long run, a simple dinner out, shopping.
Most of all, being around friends, chatting on the dock or
sundowners on the deck, these things are now so precious
to me. With an unpredictable future, I hold these things as
and the Coral Carpet
Words by BRUCE CURRAN
Photographs as Credited
Nature has mixed a blend of plenty in this
archipelago. Wild life in the Philippines is often
endemic on the larger islands with unique birds
being the most visible, although these are not
easily seen. In the north east of Luzon, there is one of the
ten best preserved lowland forests on earth. There are vast
stretches of mountainous land, which are almost inaccessible
to the trappings of the modern world.
The World Wildlife Organization has
designated 200 special eco-systems
on our earth, and three of these are
in the Philippines. All in all a veritable
pot potpourri of natural wonder.
But in the count of things, nothing
quite compares to the diversity and
complexity of the sea life in Philippine
The gigantic humpback whales use the deep and fast
flowing waters around the Batanes islands (northern tip
of the country) as playgrounds. At least eleven species of
whales have been sighted in these waters, with both baleen
and toothed whales in evidence. Six types of dolphins and
one species of porpoise have been counted, with the playful
Spinner dolphin being the most entertaining to watch, as
they excel with airborne antics.
At least eleven species
of whales have been
sighted in these
waters, with both
baleen and toothed
whales in evidence.
Herman Melville in his famous book Moby Dick talks about
Captain Ahab searching for the white whale in Philippine
waters. It was only in the recent past of the last millennium
that whaler from the Bohol area (Southern Visayas) used
to leap on to the back of whales with large metal hooks
and plunge them deep into the hard leathery hides, and
claim the nutritious meat for the community table. Even
today, there are one or two old men
with twisted limbs that bear testament
to their whaling sorties of yesteryear, to
times when the whale took the upper
hand and flicked men from their backs
as they made good their escape.
In Palawan there is archeological
evidence that shows where whole
communities depended on the dugongs
for their livelihood. These sea cows were
their main diet in the far off years when these mammals
lived in large herds and large numbers. Even recently on
the east Luzon coast, a dugong was found being grazed
like a cow on the end of a soft rope bound carefully around
its tale flukes and tethered to a stake. In spiritual folk law
with some southern islanders, the soul of the dead was
transported by dugongs to the next world far away in the
deep blue sea, and gravestones were often built with an
effigy of the dugong.
Today, divers will be able to see dugong grazing around the
Calamian Islands off northern Palawan. Palawan province is
the heartland of natural diversity, and claims one quarter of
all islands in the Philippines.
In the pristine waters of the Sulu Sea and around the islands
surrounding Palawan, oysters thrive, which need to filter
some 40 liters of purest seawater through their systems daily.
At least six major pearl farms operate around here, with five
of them Japanese- and one French-owned. The Frenchbased
‘Jewelmer’ is a trade name synonymous with diversely
‘Jewelmer’ is a trade
with diversely shaped
natural pearls of
subtle complex colors.
shaped natural pearls
of subtle complex
colors. Quite unlike
the cultured pearls
preferred by the
who choose to farm
mainly by cloning for
sameness. ‘The Pearl
Road’ is a book worth
checking, with the magic of many photos to weave a tale of
Chinese shipwreck in pearling waters.
Tuna fisherman taking his catch to
The splendor of the whale sharks can be viewed by
snorkeling off the coast off Donsol town in the Sorsogon
area of south west Luzon. This is seasonal. The whale sharks
appear with the northeast monsoon winds from October
to May, which sweep in with the plankton from out of the
vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Whale watching is popular
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Dynamite fishing in the Philippines
around Bohol and in the Tanon Strait between Cebu and
Negros. Around Panay, from the deck of a ferry, you will
often see pilot whales close to groups of dolphins.
Beauty of the Philippines
Off the East coast of Luzon, from inside a small plane,
observers have counted pods of pilot whales with as many
as 200 individuals in a single pod. Sailing through the
Balabac Islands, I have seen whale mother and calf on a
number of occasions, and off Busuanga Island, a single
whale, identified by an eight year old on board our sailing
boat as a Minke Whale, using Lory Tan’s book on Philippine
Whales and Dolphins. Mr. Tan says that a lot of new light has
come to bear on these mammals in Philippine Waters, and
the next version of his book will be quite different, with a lot
more observations and many more accuracies.
Around Panay, from
the deck of a ferry,
you will often see pilot
whales close to groups
books, there is a
of Philippine Birds
and a new book
Fishes. These are
and beautifully illustrated works of major proportions. There
are some 2,700 commercial fish species in these waters,
and the most classic photos are of the tuna fishermen in
Mindanao carrying these enormous fish over their shoulders
from boat to market. The main tuna runs are down the east
coastline of Mindanao, Leyte, Samar and Luzon.
Eighty percent of the fisher folk are from the Visayas,
the group of islands in the middle of the archipelago.
Thousands of bancas are out at night, sometimes far from
land, towed there by mother ships. Most are motorized and
all of them lie there at night in a show of bright lights, like a
thousand candles prancing over the waters. Often they are
unlit, and fish patiently in the darkness
of the night, or below the carpet of
stars which we often forget about when
going about our humdrum urban living
routines. Some of these fisher folk are
migratory, and spend fishing seasons in
different parts of the country.
Jewel in the Crown
Then there is the carpet of coral
throughout these islands, lying in resplendent colors just
below the sea surface.
In the Caribbean there are a total of 50 coral species, but in
these teeming, vibrant and complex waters there are 490
This is the jewel in the crown of Philippine biodiversity.
Coral is the nursery of life, and umpteen fish and many
other forms of sea life live, breed and thrive in the living
coral reefs. Together with the mangrove forests around the
coastlines of these islands, the coral carpet is the heart and
soul of the living water environment.
Sailing out of Subic Bay, it is possible to anchor on sand
between coral reefs, and the scenery above the water is
In the Caribbean there
are a total of 50 coral
species, but in these
teeming, vibrant and
complex waters there
are 490 species.
spectacular. A light breeze cools the air and a swim around
the boat is a pleasing experience in an idyllic setting.
Then all of a sudden, there is a loud muffled sound and
a shockwave reverberates through the peaceful turquoise
About half a mile along the coast over the coral reef is a
small banca throwing Molotov cocktails as dynamite into
the once pristine waters. The coral is killed together with
a few fish. The dynamite will be here
tomorrow, but the coral will have
The minority of fishermen have
become fishing terrorists and are
bombing the coral carpet for their
short term gain. But in the long run,
the fishing terrorists are shooting
themselves in the foot and cutting
their own nose to spite their face.
Someone, somewhere, is doing something about it. I
know of one incident when fishing bombers were tracked
down, and on being approached, all but one dived into
the water and swam away to shore. The one remaining lay
crouched and out of sight. The trackers fired their rifles
to sink the boat, and were shocked to see a limp blooded
body floating as the banca sank from site. This was a tragic
ending to a good cause.
Education, determined effort, and local enforcement are
important weapons for combatting this type of malpractice.
The choice is plain to see, either the fishing terrorists are
annihilated, metaphorically speaking, or the coral carpet will
be gone forever.
In the late 90’s surfing in the Philippines was virtually
non-existent, or rather Surfing in the Philippines was
more like a closely guarded secret of hardcore surfers
from Australia and the Americas. The Philippines’ first
claim to fame in surfing was in the 70’s when renowned
director Francis Ford Copolla shot the film “Apocalypse Now”
in Baler, Aurora. In the movie there were several references
to surfing and a few shots of servicemen enjoying the surf.
“Charlie does not surf!” was a famous line from that movie
by the same guy who said “I love the smell of Napalm in the
Paolo Soler grew up loving the waves, his dad managed a
resort in La Union and while growing up the beach was his
playground, there were even times when they’d borrow the
hotel’s body boards and frolicked on the waves.
In 1997, as college student Paolo picked up a flyer on
surfing lessons from the Hiroshi Yokohama surfing school,
this piqued his curiosity. That very same weekend he went
to La Union and had his first surfing lesson, and from then
on, like thousands of other surfers before him, Paolo was
His love for surfing grew over the years and he was able
to try known surf spots such as San Juan, La Union; Baler,
Aurora; Real, Quezon; Eastern Samar and Zambales where
American G.I.’s used to surf when they occupied Subic
Naval Base. Surfing became so ingrained in his life that it
was even the subject of his college thesis. His original plan
for a business was organizing surf tours, the major flaw of
this plan was that it would cater mostly to visiting surfers,
because back then, in the Philippines, surfers were few and
Paolo doing what he loves
Words by ROY ESPIRITU
PHILIPPINE SURFING ACADEMY
Surfing became so
ingrained in his life
that it was even
the subject of his
far between. So it made a lot of sense to set up a surfing
school. The surfing tours can come later.
In 2007 Paolo founded the Philippine Surfing Academy
(PSA) and just like his mentor Hiroshi, Paolo’s plan was
to bring students to his favorite surfing destinations. The
first official surf camp he organized was at ABCD beach in
Calicoan island all the way in Eastern Samar. In those days
all known surf spots were just too far
away from Metro Manila and this proved
to be too costly for tours so he decided
to explore the closest beaches to the city
like Real, Quezon where he discovered
Magra beach and setup camp there in
2008. As luck would have it, Paolo also
discovered a hotel resort development
in Taytay, Rizal called Club Manila East,
and one of its key amenities was a large
wave pool. Paolo checked it out and immediately saw its
potential. So he told the owners his idea of teaching surfing
there, they were shocked by the idea initially, but decided
to give it a go.
how to surf first
before learning how
surf with PSA at Club Manila East (CME). “Generally, one
of the requirements before learning how to surf is knowing
how to swim, our training sessions at CME do not have that
requirement. It’s a shallow pool with lifeguards all around,
making it perfectly safe, although we do require that
before surfing in the sea, they need to know how to swim.
Interestingly, we encourage non-swimmers to learn how
to surf first before learning how to swim, as with surfing,
they understand firsthand the science of
buoyancy and lose their fear of the water,
surfing is such a fun and exhilarating
activity, allowing them to gain confidence
faster.” Paolo said.
One of the great things about wave pool
surfing is that the waves are really consistent
and are the perfect size for beginners. “Surf
coaches look for these exact types of waves
when they teach new surfers.” Mr. Soler added. To date
more than 10,000 surfers have trained with PSA. Some of
whom have gone on to win surfing tournaments as well as
becoming surf coaches themselves.
Surfing purists would scoff at the idea of surfing in a
swimming pool, but Paolo has this to say about learning to
The PSA Coaches and
The surf tours that Paolo originally wanted to do are
now regular events of PSA, they’re called Surfari surf
PSA Coaches posing with a batch of surfing students
Skwala’s finishing room, showing
boards ready for customers
One of PSA’s students learning at Club Manila East
Kenny Tilton in
camps they’re open to beginners and Surfcuit camps for
intermediate surfers. In an archipelago like the Philippines
there are literally hundreds of surf spots and Surfari surf
camps go to several of them. At each location PSA taps
locals as instructors and support staff growing the surf
industry one town at a time.
One hurdle that Paolo had to overcome was the availability
of gear, so in 2010 he founded Skwala Surf Industries
along with board shapers from Surigao. The company built
surfboards in their shop in Taytay Rizal. Kenny Tilton, a
legendary board shaper from Hawaii even went to Skwala’s
shop and shared his decades of knowledge and experience,
elevating the quality of the shop’s output. Skwala in Filipino
slang means a power slide with a car or half donuts in
motoring parlance. Similar to a snap or a cutback maneuver
done by surfers. Skwala’s boards are made by surfers for
With coaching and surf tours from PSA and surf boards from
Skwala the surfing ecosystem was more or less complete,
with the Philippine surfing industry growing, Paolo wanted
to take it to the next level and bring the Philippines to the
same class as Hawaii and Bali, places synonymous with
Surf Tourism. One essential key aspect the Philippines did
not have was instructor accreditation. Paolo holds a level
2 Surf Coach accreditation from the Academy of Surfing
Instructors (ASI) holding surf rescue and senior first aid
qualifications, This paved the way for PSA to become the
first ASI accredited surf school in the Philippines.
Paolo Surfing in Siargao
Accredited surfing instructors deliver lessons at the highest
levels of safety using the best training methodologies,
together with surf rescue and first aid qualifications,
accreditation adds a level of professionalism required for the
industry to grow. It also ensures that surfing is sustainable
by sharing with students how to care for the environment
and minimise social and natural impact
on shore and in the surf. Surf instructor
accreditation is in some ways similar to
scuba instructor accreditation.
Surfing after all is a
and being physically
distant from the
other surfers is the
norm if not the rule.
To make surf coaching accreditation
happen, PSA interfaced with the Office
of Tourism Standards and Regulations of
the Department of Tourism and acted as
a conduit between ASI and DOT crafting
surf coaching standards and designing an accreditation
process for surf instructors to help ensure the safety of
learners and new surfers.. The accreditation process was
recently finalized during the pandemic lockdown and once
everything is figured out for the new normal the accreditation
process can begin.
With everything put on pause, surfing took a big hit. These
past few months is probably the longest time Paolo was
stuck in Manila. PSA and Skwala had to close and his newly
established surf camp in San Felipe Zambales
called the Liwalize it Surf Camp had to be put
on hold. But Paolo is hopeful that everything
will become normal or close to it eventually,
Surfing after all is a non-contact sport and
being physically distant from the other surfers
is the norm if not the rule.
Meanwhile, to keep himself productive Paolo
serves up his own brand of roast chicken called
Tito Paolo’s Inasal. Besides surfing Paolo also has a passion
for cooking, this dish was one of the hits served at Liwalize
it Surf Camp along with their brick oven pizza. You can find
Tito Paolo’s Inasal on Facebook and even order online.
1948 to 2020
A Tribute to Bruce Curran, a Sailing and Biking Mate.
“Combing the Coral Carpet- Revised Edition”
Sailing tales and the Cruising Guide to the Philippine Islands.
A comprehensive coffee table book with over one hundred spectacular photos of the
Philippines that includes maritime history, seafaring tales, anchorages and facts & facilities
available along the water ways of the fantastic tropical islands of the Philippines with their
wealth of friendly people.
The new “Revised Edition” that updates the previous edition with new pages of updated and
extra information is intended to be available for delivery October 2020.
All proceeds from the book sales will go to Bruce’s three children; Edward Swayn, Shauna Indra
Salina and Edward Bali.
Bruce Malcolm Curran was born in Edinburgh Scotland on the 26 th of November 1948 and sadly
passed due to cancer related complications on the 17 th of April 2020 at the age of 71. Bruce will
be missed by many, but his memory, legend and legacy to everyone he’s shared the magic of
his time with, especially his children, will live on through his many books and writings.
Pre-purchase your copy of
“COMBING THE CORAL
CARPET-REVISED EDITION” via:
PAYMENTS CAN BE
Bruce had three main phases in his life’s Grand Journey:
‘Land Journeys’ that have taken him to 16 countries from England to Pakistan, Europe, the
Middle East and Africa on his Norton Commando 750cc motorcycle he named “Demeter”, the
Greek “Goddess of Life” which he first purchased brand new in the United Kingdom in 1971.
‘Water Journeys’ by sailing some 35,000 miles on a 40 year old - 37 foot wooden ketch which
was rebuilt in Sydney, Australia. Bruce sailed in this ketch for two and a half years starting from
Sydney sailing up to Darwin, then six and a half weeks non-stop to Mauritius Island, on to South
Africa, then to St Helena Island in the South Atlantic, and finally to Brazil.
This amazing adventure continued on into the Philippines when he first arrived in 1988. It was
love at first sight. Bruce often set sail from Hong Kong, where he was based for 10 years, to
explore the Philippines by water. He finally decided to move to Manila in 1997.
Bruce quickly realised that the only real way to experience the Philippines was by boat, and
he did so by sailing some 8,000 miles around his much treasured Philippines Islands. His
unquenchable thirst for adventure and learning never stopped as he was driven by the beauty,
diversity and people of the Islands of the Philippines which inspired him to write the best seller
“Combing the Coral Carpet” and the 2020 sequel “Combing the Coral Carpet-Revised Edition”
He then progressed to what he called his ‘Head Journeys’ writing about his travels, adventures
and experiences of this magnificent thing called life.
“I like to see myself as having developed a keen ‘third’ eye that embroils me in life at all its
vibrant levels. My passion is writing about what I see and how I see. I aim to leave a legacy of
books, and one way or another see this as stamping my mark on the world as a legend!”
Active Boating and Watersports, courtesy of Mr. Barry Dawson, are generously supporting
“Combing the Coral Carpet-Revised Edition” through this article and advertisement free-ofcharge
in memory of Bruce.
The first publication of Active Boating and Watersports was in September 2010. One of the
most amazing characters involved was Bruce Curran who they’ve known as an author, a sailor,
biker, adventurer and philanthropist.
ORDER YOUR COPY
NOW FOR ONLY
As an avid supporter of Active Boating and Watersports, he was a regular contributor of
stories about the many amazing water adventures around the beautiful Islands and places of
Thank you for your support to keep Bruce’s memory alive.
We trust you will enjoy exploring the exotic waters of the Philippines whilst being guided by
your copy of “Combing the Coral Carpet-Revised Edition”.
Bruce's Ad layout.indd 39
6/15/2020 12:20:05 P
he Oarfish are a large, elongated, pelagic fish found
in temperate and tropical waters around the world
but rarely seen by human eyes. They can grow up
to 18 feet in length, with some reports of them
reaching 35 and 50 feet, and reside in waters up to 1,000
feet deep. Oarfish are likely to be the source of many sea
serpent myths such as the Lochness Monster, as specimens
that have been seen on the sea
surface swim with their head and
ornate crown out of the water.
The Japanese are in total belief
that the appearance of an
Oarfish washed up on a beach is
a forewarning of an impending
earthquake and tsunami. In Japan
The Japanese are in total belief
that the appearance of an
Oarfish washed up on a beach is
a forewarning of an impending
earthquake and tsunami.
the Oarfish is known as ryugu no tsukai or “Messenger from
the Sea God’s Palace”. In the days preceding the 2011
Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which claimed more than
15,500 lives, 20 oarfish were found stranded on beaches in
Japan, however, is not the only location in the world that
has witnessed this phenomena
before a major earthquake.
On the 13th of October, 2013,
what was considered a once in a
lifetime discovery of an 18 foot
oarfish on Catalina Island of the
coast of California was followed
5 days later by a second 14 foot
Words by JAMES WEBSTER
Photographs as Credited
giant being discovered on a beach in San Diego County.
Researchers believe that this was a premonition for an earth
tremor that hit further north of the island a day later.
On April 20, 2013, a never seen before, giant oarfish was
washed up on a beach in New Zealand preceding a 7.8
earthquake that shook the area on the 28th of April. In
March 2010 dozens of oarfish were discovered by fisherman
just before an 8.8 magnitude quake shook Chile.
We here in the Philippines are not without instances of this
phenomena with two previously unseen examples of Oarfish
being washed up on beaches before an earthquake. A 12
foot and 14 foot oarfish in apparent good health were found
on beaches a day before a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit
Luzon on August 18, 2017.
On February 9th, 2017 a 10 foot oarfish was found beached
in Carmen, Del Norte the day before a 6.7 quake struck of
the coast of Surigao del Norte. Oarfish were again found on
beaches in the same area in 2019 before a series of quakes,
beginning with a 5.5 on April 26th.
that this was a
premonition for an
earth tremor that hit
further north of the
island a day later.
Oarfish in Albay
Surigao del Norte
Scientists are divided over whether these and many more
are just coincidences or does the oarfish really detect
differences in the earth’s behavior which influences their
own behavior. Some say that there are many earthquakes
that aren’t preceded by the appearance of these fish. That
maybe because they only live in temperate waters but there
is enough evidence to create an interest.
A further minute or so
and we were shook to
our foundations that
almost split our new
home in half.
proven that animal
behavior is altered
and I have my own
leaves me in no
doubt. I purchased my first house in a rural location in Albion
Park, South of Sydney, Australia. It was the first house in an
estate about 400 meters form the mountain surrounded by
dairy farms My wife and I were put to sleep every night by
the mooing of cows which actually became quite soothing
until we were woken in the early hours of a morning in 1972
by a deathly silence. We went to out front verandah and the
silence was eerie. Not a moo could be heard. After a minute
or so it seemed a signal went up and every dog in the area
began barking all at once. A further minute or so and we
were shook to our foundations that almost split our new
home in half.
Oarfish believed to predict earthquakes
So do oarfish really sense an earthquake? I guess it is still up
for debate but if they started appearing on beaches near me
I would certainly be taking precautions.
efore Spanish colonization of the Philippine
islands, on the north western tip of Luzon there
existed a region renowned for its gold. Traders
from China, Vietnam and Japan often visited
the area to trade textiles, ceramic wares and beads for
gold. The inhabitants of the region called their part of
the world “samtoy”, from “sao mi ditoy”, which literally
meant “our language”.
When the Spanish conquistadors headed north to seek
new lands to occupy, they travelled by sea from Manila.
On 13 June 1572, Juan de Salcedo, grandson of Spanish
Conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi landed in presentday
Vigan and then proceeded towards Laoag, Currimao and
Badoc. As they sailed along the coast, they found several
sheltered coves (lo-oc) with local peaceful communities. As
such, they named the region Ylocos and its people Ylocanos.
As they sailed along
the coast, they found
several sheltered coves
(looc) with local peaceful
communities. As such, they
named the region Ylocos
and its people Ylocanos.
With the Spanish occupation christianity spread throughout
the Ilocos region large churches were built with tall bell
towers that also served as watchtowers for Spanish garrisons
at the peak of occupation. Uprisings were common,
stemming usually from abusive colonial masters, in fact, the
Iglesia Filipina Independiente or Philippine Independent
Church has its roots in Ilocos, when Ilocano priest Gregorio
Aglipay was excommunicated because of refusing to cut
ties with revolutionary forces of Emilio Aguinaldo.
The widespread conflict throughout the
region led to the division of the old Provincia
de Ilocos through Royal Decree on 2 February
1818. The old Ilocos was divided into two,
Words by ROY ESPIRITU
CHAD TAMAYO, KEN GO &
ILOCOS TOURISM OFFICE
Ilocos Norte and Ilocos sur, soon after the provinces of Abra
and La Union which was part of the province were also
split off. Its most abundant agricultural
output is Tobacco, and it is also known for
processed meats that are known delicacies
from the region, such as different kinds of
longanissa (sausages) as well as bagnet, a
crispy slab of pork similar to pork rind but
with the meat included .
One of the recent developments in the
region is the establishment of wind
turbines or wind farms in several areas around the region
providing a significant source of power. Ilocos Norte
pioneered wind power in the country, wind farms are also
a popular tourist destinations in the region. So much so
that there are even souvenirs featuring
power in the country,
wind farms are also
a popular tourist
The province of Ilocos Norte is 477
kilometers north of Manila, or about an
8 hour drive if traffic isn’t too bad. If
going by road, stop by the town of Vigan,
Ilocos Sur to see classic Spanish style
architecture preserved through the ages. One can also fly
to Ilocos using the Laoag Domestic Airport and like most
Aurora Park, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
places in the Philippines it’s just an hour more or less by
If going by boat or cruising yacht, one can utilize numerous
sheltered coves that province was named after, check
your charts to find out which one is a suitable anchorage
for your vessel. Traditional places are Port of Salomague
in the neighboring
province of Ilocos
Bangui where one of
the first wind farms
in Ilocos is located,
has Bangui Bay which
faces north west is
Sur, it has a jetty
and a coast guard
station, a little up
north is Pog Os
Beach in Cabugao
the first town of
Ilocos Norte, one
sheltered area is
and Pinget Island
between Salomague and Pog Os. The town of Currimao
also has a port where one can drop anchor, they also have
a jetty. Another potential anchorage is Pasuquin cove
near a place called Virgin beach. Bangui where one of the
first wind farms in Ilocos is located, has Bangui Bay which
faces north west is relatively sheltered, the peninsula
beside Bangui bay is Pagudpud, it has a windward and
leeward side depending on the season and is one of the
places to visit in the province.
Saint William’s Cathedral (Laoag Cathedral)
Ilocos Norte provincial capitol
If going by plane or by car, the start of your Ilocos
adventure will most likely be the provincial capitol, Laoag,
the hub of everything Ilocano. A good starting point is
Museo Ilocos Norte, right next to
the province’s main government
offices and universities. A visit to the
provincial tourism office will give you
access to pamphlets and brochures
of tourist destinations as well as a
schedule of events happening around
the province during your stay. Should
you require a guide, they can arrange
that for you as well.
While in the city drop by Museo Ilocos Norte the province’s
official museum to know the history of the region and
see artifacts unique to the area. Near the museum is the
Sinking Bell Tower, one of several bell towers that also
doubled as observation posts for Spanish garrisons. Built
by Augustinians in 1612 it was once
The tower is slowly
sinking because of its
sheer weight, it was built
on sandy foundations
and is slowly sinking.
Sinking Bell Tower
said to be the tallest bell tower in the
country. The tower is slowly sinking
because of its sheer weight, it was
built on sandy foundations and is
slowly sinking. When it was newly
built, a person on horseback could
enter through its entrance, these
days one person of average height
will have to crouch to make it through
Laoag - Museo Ilocos Norte
Imee Marcos at the opening
of Taoid Museum
the door. If Pisa has its leaning tower, Laoag has a sinking
A new attraction in Laoag is the
Taoid, A Museum on the culture of
the Cordilleras. “Taoid” is an Iluko
(native ilocano) word meaning shared
heritage. The museum is divided into
seven sections, which feature various
aspects in the culture and lifestyle
of the Cordillerans. Taoid Museum
The San Agustin Church
or the Paoay church is a
UNESCO world heritage
sight and was declared a
located at La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center. Ilocos and the
Cordilleras are neighbors that have been co-existing in
peace for centuries. Some of the most notable items in the
collection are human skulls, coffins
for storing the bones of ancestors and
replicas of the indigenous people of
the region. Other artefacts to be seen
here are traditional clothing, wooden
utensils, and carved figures that
are usually displayed in Cordilleran
A short drive away from the provincial capitol is Paoay,
expect to stay a whole day here because of the various
places to see and things to do. The San Agustin Church or
the Paoay church is a UNESCO world heritage sight and
was declared a national treasure. Completed in 1710, the
church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted
by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the
building. San Agustin Church is a popular tourist destination
with several good restaurants in the vicinity, best to drop
by the area around lunch time or late afternoon before
dinner to treat yourself to a great meal.
For those looking for some adventure there’s the Paoay
Suba Sand Dunes, 88 sq. km of parched earth that has
been turned into a popular tourist site by enterprising
Ilocanos, it is one of two such locations in Ilocos Norte, the
other one being in La Paz, Laoag. One of the attractions
in the area is a 4 x 4 Jeep ride over and around the dunes,
a thrilling ride some visitors compare to being on a roller
coaster without a seatbelt. The variable sandy terrain has
Sand Surfing at the Sugba Sand Dunes
Paoay Sand Dunes
4 x 4 Jeep ride
a Jeep trail developed by the operators to excite anyone,
just make sure to hang on. Another activity one can try
out in the area is sand boarding, think of it as the tropical
equivalent of snowboarding. You can ride the board sitting
down or upright, just try not to wipe out or else you’ll
have sand everywhere. The Suba sand dunes face the West
Philippine Sea and is a picturesque setting to catch the
Ilocos is the hometown of the deposed dictator Ferdinand
Marcos, his residence whenever he was in Ilocos is in
Paoay, and is now a tourist attraction, the place is called
Paoay - Malacañan of the North
Malacañang of the north. Built by the Philippine Tourism
Authority in 1977 for Marcos’s 60th birthday. It is a twostory
mansion overlooking Paoay lake. The Sandiganbayan
anti-graft court stripped the Marcoses of the property in
2014, after it voided a 1978 agreement between Marcos
and the then PTA, deciding that since it is a national
Make sure to try out the Ilocos Empanada
Paoay Lake National Park
park, Marcos had no legal rights over it since national
parks are “inalienable public domain”. It is currently being
administered by the local government of Ilocos Norte. The
place commands a great view of Paoay lake, a great place
for watersports although it is currently limited, we saw a
few paddle boarders but that’s about it.
One of the things Ilocos is famous for is the cuisine.
Fresh and seasonal vegetables and quality produce add a
degree of Ilocano freshness. Ilocos empanada is popular
street food originating from the region, fresh vegetables
chopped sausages called longanissa and a fresh egg
wrapped in dough
Fresh and seasonal
quality produce add
a degree of IIocano
and deep fried in
front of the customer
is the best way to
enjoy this delicacy. A
popular place to try
this authentic Ilocano
delicacy is located
in the town of Batac
near Paoay. The Batac
Riverside Empanadaan is visited by locals and tourists
alike, the empanada is hit but also try out the miki (noodle
20 kilometers north from Laoag is the municipality of
Burgos, for those who love nature and do not mind a
short hike through the forest with the possibility of a
cool swim at the end, please do visit Kaangrian falls. It
was discovered in 1998 when the local government was
looking for a water source. It’s a beautiful place, layered
waterfalls with big clear pools, nature, showing off what
it can do best. Best to go there during Habagat or rainy
season to see the falls in all their glory.
Miki ng Ilocos another local delicacy
One establishment gaining acclaim as an ecotourism
destination is the Refmad Dragon Fruit Plantation, visitors
can see how the fruits are planted and can even pick them.
While there you can try out several delicacies made from
dragon fruits such as; ice cream, spring rolls, candies and
cookies. The farm readily shares its secrets to other growers
and visitors on how to maximize their crop by using all
organic methods and minimizing wastage through value
added product development.
Cape Bojeador lighthouse also known as Burgos lighthouse
was first lit in 1892 set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill
overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador, until this day it still
Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos
Kapurpurawan rock formations
Cape Bojeador lighthouse
provides guidance to boats and ship passing through the
area, the lighthouse marks the northwestern-most point of
Luzon island. It was declared a National Historical Landmark
in 2004 and is one
Limestone cliffs eroded
by nature and time to
form some of the most
amazing natural sights
in the area.
of the few Spanish
era lighthouses in
the country still in
Down the road
from the lighthouse
is another nature
lovers’ favorite, the
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. Limestone cliffs eroded by
nature and time to form some of the most amazing natural
sights in the area. The term Kapurpurawan is from the
Ilocano word “puraw“, which means white, describing the
color of the rock formations, on a bright sunny day they
can be seen from far away. The best way to experience the
sights is being up close, there is some trekking over rugged
terrain to get to the area, but there are also horses tourists
can hire if they prefer that.
The Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is right on the western
side of Bangui bay and if you look to the east you will
see your next destination, the Bangui Windmills. In 1996
National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducted a wind
resource analysis of the Philippines and determined Bangui
and Burgos Towns in Ilocos Norte to be two of several ideal
locations to have wind power generation facilities, other
sites identified were in the Visayas, Palawan, Eastern
Mindanao and Batanes. The Bangui wind farm was
established in 2005, there are a total of 20 70-meter high
wind turbines generating a total of 33 megawatts of power,
together with the larger Burgos wind farm that generates
100+MW, they supply 40% of Ilocos Norte’s energy needs.
After Bangui is the northernmost point of Luzon island, a
place famous for its white sand beaches and burgeoning
watersports activities. Pagudpud is a great place to be
if you like the wind, the waves and the beach. There are
dozens of resorts to cater to your every whim, all sorts of
board sports are available in the area from surfing, to stand
up paddling, sailing, kite surfing as well as the newest
water sport gaining popularity, wing boarding.
Pagudpud is becoming a kiteboarding haven, especially
since Australian kiter and kite designer Dano Sy uses the
area as his base of operations. His company DSD Mfg.
designs and builds kites and boards and product testing
is done at the Kingfisher
Pagudpud is a great
place to be if you like
the wind, the waves
and the beach.
resort. If you want to
learn to kite surf Dano’s
kite center also provides
lessons. Other than
board sports, Kingfisher
also has a couple of
Hobie sailboats for rent
for guests who want to try out sailing. The Amihan season
or north east monsoon season provides constant kiting
and sailing weather between the months of October and
On the eastern side of the Pagudpud peninsula is the
famous Blue Lagoon beach, a place considered by visitors
as the “Boracay of the north”, the fine white sand, crystal
clear turquoise blue waters in a protected cove makes
it picture perfect spot to have picnic on the beach.
Development in the area is booming and it’s starting to
get busy in the area just like Boracay.
Just like La Union, there are several surf spots in the
province from Badoc near Paoay, all the way to Pagudpud.
Popular ones are in the area around Blue Lagoon and a few
places around Balaoi, If you’re a surfer you’ll know where
to look and are bound to find some amazing gems.
One relatively new destination in Pagudpud is Kabigan
falls, it is also in the barangay of Balaoi, a short 30 minute
trek to the forest will reveal the breathtaking scenery that
will invite you to take a dip in the cool fresh water pool
under the falls.
One instagrammable spot on the eastern side of the
Pagudpud peninsula in the barangay of Balaoi is the
Patapat Viaduct or the Patapat bridge. It’s a 1.3 kilometer
stretch of elevated road that connects the Maharlika
highway in the Ilocos region to Cagayan valley. The bridge
rises from the coast and leans on the north Cordillera
mountain range, it offers a great view of the west
Philippine sea and Pasaleng Bay, along this bridge you’ll
pass Kalbario-Patapat national park and a shipwreck dating
from the World War 2. It is the fourth longest bridge in the
Philippines. Just make sure that when you park to take
selfies that you are in an area visible to oncoming traffic.
Likewise, when driving down this stretch to drive carefully
because there might be tourists posting on instagram.
The Pandemic has put everything on hold, this includes
tourism and everything else, if you do plan to go
somewhere, but if you come from somewhere where
COVID-19 is prevalent, chances are, the province or the
town will not let you in. We are looking forward to the time
where travel and leisure activities can resume again. Until
then, keep safe.
L U Z O N
Apart from catching criminals, the boat is also
designed for rescue operations. The police
converted the two-seater to accommodate four
At At 177kph Dubai Pol
Fastest Speed Boatt
The Dubai Police have a drool worthy fleet of cars
and now, they’ve added a super boat to this list!
Yes, you read that right. The world’s fastest police
boat is now in Dubai. Costing a whopping $400,000
the speedster was gifted to the Dubai Police by the Dubai
Crown Prince- Sheikh Hamdan. The 700-horsepower HP
2014 XCAT boasts a light carbon fibre body, a material used
to make racing vehicles.
The Police boats definitely need to be faster than the normal
private boats and this speedster does not disappoint! The
HP 2014 XCAT slices through the water at a speed of 177
kmph, (90knots) Two outboard four-stroke 350-horsepower
engines power the boat, helping it achieve the speed. So, if
someone tries to get away from the police, one phone call
and you’ll have the world’s fastest boat chasing you.
Apart from catching criminals, the boat is also designed
for rescue operations. The police converted the two-seater
to accommodate four occupants. And on occasion, they
have used it in celebrity promotions. Simply put the XCAT
is a Multi-Hull made of advanced carbon technology and
accommodates two engines up to 6000cc of horsepower
and is capable of speeds up to 180KPH. On that note
Dubai Police hit the Guinness World Records for having the
world’s fastest police car in service. The Bugatti Veyron, can
reach speeds of 407km/h which is just one of its 14-strong
fleet of supercars. The fleet also includes a bespoke Aston
Martin One-77, of which only 77 were ever built, a Bentley
Continental GT, three hybrid Porsche Panameras and two
BMW i8s. A fleet of luxury supercars may sound outlandish,
but it fits perfectly with the ethos of Dubai.
lice Acquire World’s
o to Combat Covid-19
Over the past few months, Dubai Police have been doing
the very best to ensure we stay safe. From supporting the
massive sterilization drive, to patrolling in streets to ensure
residents stay indoors- our heroes have got it all bang on.
While we’ve seen the swanky fleet that our cops boast on
the roads, but during the pandemic, the Dubai Police upped
their transportation game and how!
This time, it wasn’t a simple four-wheeled vehicle! The
video kicks off with a Dubai Police driving a Lamborghini.
After this is the icing- he then gets out, walks towards a
gyrocopter, and takes off in true James Bond-style.
Wait, there’s more! What follows next is something like a
race-sequence in a Hollywood movie. The chopper flies
parallel to more police cars driving on the road below.
Lastly, they all follow a speed boat zooming along JBR.
Flying over the JBR beach, the chopper is seen alerting
messages, asking residents to stay indoors.
excerpts reprinted from the book
by BOB BOND & STEVE SLEIGHT
You’ve always been interested to sail, but you know little about boat parts, the confusing techno-babble, and what
little you know is making your head spin in four different directions! Worry no more. This continuing series of articles
is for you: it covers tips regarding hardware present on most boats, as well as common sailing techniques, terms and
definitions, the names of the different pieces of hardware, and much more. This will keep you informed about most
things you will need before you begin your own sailing excursion. Be sure to consult with an experienced sailor and someone
knowledgeable about boats.
Sailing is a rapidly growing sport with enthusiasts in most
parts of the world. Its development as a sport, however, is
relatively recent. What had formerly
been the province, in the 18th and 19th
centuries, of the rich alone was brought
to the bulk of the population with the
mass production of fibreglass boats
after the Second World War.
The sea has, of course, fascinated
man for many thousands of years and
from the very earliest times he found
ways of turning it to his advantage.
With considerable ingenuity, using
whatever materials were at hand, he fashioned boats to suit
his own needs and those of the local conditions. Rivers and
lakes provided not only a rich source of food, but also the
opportunity to move around from one place to another in a
country which was often both thickly wooded and hostile.
It is almost certain therefore, that the very first boats were
whatever materials were
at hand, he fashioned
boats to suit his own
needs and those of the
produced for use on inland rivers and waters rather than the
open sea, since man had no knowledge of navigation, and
the limitless expanse of the oceans was
regarded with fear and awe.
These very early types of boat were
probably simple logs which were
propelled by the current. Gradually man
began to lash theses together to make
rafts, paddled with a roughly shaped
piece of wood, in areas where wood was
not available, he used bundles of reeds
instead, and reed boats were of the same
simple construction are still to be found
today on the Nile and on Lake Titicaca, high up in the Andes
in South America. With the advent of flints, man began to
hollow out tree trunks to form dug-out canoes, powering
them with wooden paddles. They are still to be found today
in parts of Africa, in South America and the Solomon Islands.
By the time of the Bronze Age, ships were being made of
planks nailed together, and the concept of the sail had been
introduced. The first sailing boats are thought to be on the
lines of the model ship discovered in a tomb in Egypt in 1906.
Dating from 2400BC, and rigged with
a single square-sail mounted on a
short central mast, the boat was
steered by a large paddle shaped oar
strapped to the stern of the boat.
The Egyptians retained this form of
ship for some time, and the Egyptian
square-sail rig spread eastward – it
is still seen today around the waters
of Malaya. The Lateen sail was also,
presumably, an Egyptian invention.
A trapezoidal with a short luff. It was
bent to a yard arm, set obliquely to
the mast. The design was revolutionary in that it enabled the
boat to sail towards the wind to some extent, as well as away
from it. The precursor of the fore-and-aft rig adopted by
most modern cruising boats, the lateen sail is still used today
by Arabian dhows. A slightly different, squarer form, known
as the lugsail, was developed by the Chinese. It consisted of
a single sail, made up in sections, stiffened by bamboos and
is also still in use, known as the junk rig. Like the lateen, it
is bent to q yard, but then slung towards the leeward of the
mast when hoisted and set, with its tack forward of the mast.
The lugsail is practical in that it can be easily handled and
and ketches all plied the coastlines of Europe, each designed
for a particular purpose – the type of cargo carried or the type
of waters sailed in.
By the 19th century, the large cargo boats had been much
modified and streamlined.
Competition on the trade routes
to the Far East and to Australia
inspired the boat designers to
find important rigs to increase
speed and efficiency. One of
the most revolutionary was the
clipper design originating in the
states, of which the Rainbow, built
in 1845, was a prime example.
“The vessel will never be built to
beat her,” declared the skipper.
His confidence although proved
wrong some half a century later, was not surprising. The
clippers could cut the sailing time of other vessels down
by half. Their design was based on that of the Chesapeake
working boats, with a very narrow bow, a streamlined hull and
a combination of the fore-and-aft and square rig. With the
Early boatbuilders realized
that the efficiency of
the sail was directly
proportional to its size
and the larger the sail a
boat could carry the faster
it would travel.
To understand the design of modern sailing craft, it helps
to know something of the development of the original hull
constructions and types of rig, as many of these aspects of
these ancient forms have been incorporated in modern designs.
Then, as now, one of the main concerns of boat builders was
for speed. Early boatbuilders realized that the efficiency of the
sail was directly proportional to its size and the larger the sail
a boat could carry the faster it would travel. However, large
sails were both unwieldy and uneconomical to use, except in
parts of the world where labour was cheap. Boat builders in the
Western World in Particular, resolved the problem by splitting
the canvas area into several smaller sails carried on more than
one mast. This square rig, with a beamy, sturdy hull and a high
freeboard, was for many centuries in Europe, the preferred boat
design for large cargo boats. As new oceans were discovered
and mapped they were built in ever-increasing numbers to take
advantage of the new markets.
Around the coastlines of the northern countries of Europe,
however, different considerations applied, and the variety
of rigs which developed to meet specific local needs were
numerous. Although the square-rigged ships, were suited
to sailing downwind, could exploit the steady breezes of the
trade winds, the craft plying coastal waters needed a more
adaptable rig. A combination of the square rig with a foreand-aft
one (a modification of the lateen sail) was developed
which allowed the boats to sail well toward windward. Barques
and barquentines, brigs and brigantines, snows, schooners
advent of the industrial revolution, the first experiments with
powering ships with steam engines were to be made. These
early vessels were unreliable and much scorned by the sailing
masters, but by the turn of the century, steam had overtaken
sail for many of the large cargo and passenger boats, and in
the years that followed only small fishing and working boats
still operated under sail power alone.
By the early part of the 20th century, engine power had
virtually eclipsed the use of sail. However, people were
beginning to turn to sailing for recreation and pleasure,
and the now redundant sail-powered working boats were
occasionally converted into cruising boats. Since those times
the art of sailing has been kept alive by enthusiastic amateurs.
Thanks to the increase in popularity of various forms of racing
boat design has been modified and improved to make boats
not only safer and faster, but easier to handle. The double
advantage of both adventure and a sense of freedom has
spurred many thousands of people to take to small boats, and
to cruising in particular, all over the world.
PHILIPPINE YACHT CLUB DIRECTORY
PHILIPPINE YACHT CLUB DIRECTORY
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• Manila 0918-963-8148
• Cebu 0939-902-0494
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• Auto acquistion tracks up to 50 targets
• Overlay radar image and AIS on the chart
• With PIP Zoom capability of zooming in
to emphasize small target on screen
15 INCH PROFESSIONAL COLOR FISHFINDER
• Built-in 1kW output power sonar module
(50/77/200 kHz & dual-channel CHIRP)
• Built-in 500W CHIRP ClearVü and SideVü
scanning sonar module
• Side by side quad frequencies display mode
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