┬ęThe Cruising Yacht Club
of the Philippines
December 2007
All Souls Regatta 2007
All Souls Regatta 2007
Cloud Nine:
Perfect Surf,
Palms and
Paradise
Cloud Nine:
Perfect Surf,
Palms and
Paradise
National Lawin Regatta
National Lawin Regatta
Commodore’s Letter
PGYC Board of Directors
Commodore: Peter Stevens
Vice Com: Mike Tucker, Jurgen Langemeier
Treasurer: Geoffrey Cannell
Directors: Michel Bigot, Carl Broqvist,
William Moore, Owen Stull,
Andrew Wrightson
-----------------
Secretary: Carlos Garcia
PGYC
December 2007
3
Philippine Copyright © 2003 - 07 by The
Puerto Galera Yacht Club, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Contents
Commodore’s Letter 3
Seen on the Moorings 5
Nature Notes: Birding Sabah 7
A Kayak on the Mekong 9
Bye Bye Alma Jane 13
All Souls Regatta 2007 17
National Lawin Regatta 23
Cloud Nine: Perfect Surf,
Palms and Paradise 25
Discovering Siargao: The Next Boracay 29
Production
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Design: Terry Duckham/Asiapix Studios
Layout: Aira Fernando/Asiapix Studios
Hong Kong
Front Cover: Martyn Willes
Special Thanks: Martyn Willes
Cruiser News is published by
Puerto Galera Yacht Club Inc.,
P.O.Box 30450 Sto Niño,
Puerto Galera, Mindoro, Philippines
Tel / Fax : 63 (043) 442-0136
Email: info@pgyc.org
www.pgyc.org
The views expressed in Cruiser News are those of the
authors and not PGYC. No responsibility for any loss is
accepted by the authors or by PGYC
Welcome to a truly varied and international edition of the CRUISER NEWS.
Our Vice-Commodore gives a different perspective in ‘Seen on our Moorings’;
‘Nature Notes’ come from Sabah; next we’re kayaking down the Mekong River with
adventurer Marc Paillefer; then back to Sabang Bay and the story of the sinking of the
Alma Jane; next we stay closer to home for the accounts of the All Souls and Lawin
regattas; then its off surfing in Siargao. Phew, I’m exhausted already! Sit back and
enjoy the trip.
For those of us who have spent most of the year here at the club it’s time to look
back and reflect on what we did well and what might be improved.. My priority when
I assumed the mantle of Commodore was to finish what I had started last year in
replacing our fleet of dinghies to take our young sailors to the next level. It was finally
decided to stay with our basic design but to upgrade fixtures and fittings and to add
spinnakers. It took long months of tweaking and poring over chandlery catalogues to
finally come up with the shopping list and finish the project. As you will have seen
from the front cover, I think we did a pretty good job and the boats look great. Once
again many thanks to the members of ROUND TABLE 10, HONG KONG, for their
vision and support. Look out for shots with spinnakers flying in the next edition of
Cruiser News.
Next on the priority list was the food and beverage operation and land
acquisition. Just this week there have been teams of surveyors and engineers walking,
measuring and planning the construction of the access road, the carpark and
hardstanding area. The road will finally make us accessible by tricycle and car and
will, hopefully, bring more custom to the bar and restaurant. With these we have
had less success. The high hopes we all had at the beginning of the year concerning a
concession didn’t work out and we are now trying a new supervisor, with a nominated
Board Member overseeing the operation. Fingers crossed for 2008.
Other successes were the two major regattas that we held, at Easter and
Halloween, which continue to grow and set the benchmark for having fun sailing in
the Philippines.
Things we didn’t get round to resolving in a very busy year? Membership and
growth of the club will be high on the agenda of whomever is in control next year, as
will continuing to build and cultivate improved relations with the local government.
We have made a good start on this with the new administration and are actively
working on a negotiated solution to our long-running moorings dispute.
Making the PGYC the premier place of choice to come to learn to sail in the
Philippines is another objective. In terms of venue and conditions there’s not much we
need to do. Marketing, promotions and an extended fleet are the targets. To this end
we’ve employed a very experienced sail trainer and resort sports manager on a 6 month
contract and are looking forward to result in the New Year. There are Lasers in the
pipeline from Hong Kong, when we can figure out how to get them here. Anybody
from HK got deck space?
I’m sure that there are many other things that members and visitors alike would
like the new Board to address and constructive suggestions are welcome. In the
meantime I like to take this opportunity to wish all our members, friends, readers, staff
and visitors a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2008.
Peter Stevens
Commodore
PGYC
December 2007
5
We are one of five vessels moored to each other and to
the jetty in a tangle of ropes: bow ropes, breast ropes, fore
springs, aft springs, stern ropes, etc, holding us close to the
sea wall of granite boulders over which a southwesterly gale
is sending white foam high into the air. Some 60 yachts and
fishing boats are sheltering here as the storm does its best to
breach the granite shelter.
It’s a long time since I have sailed so far north
and the memory of my early cruising has paled,
perhaps that’s why I find myself as crew aboard
a Bavaria 39 so far from the warm waters of the
Philippines.
I joined the vessel at Arkosund in Sweden
a beautiful harbour of smooth granite rocks with
wooden walkways around the edges on to which
yachts lie bow-to with stern anchors.
We then sailed south from harbour to harbour.
In each we moor, plug our power cord into the shore
and fill our tanks with fresh water - so this is the way
cruising is here! The Beneteau’s, Swans, Jeaneau’s,
Hallberg Rassy’s and Najad’s with sparkling stainless
and teak covered decks are a world apart from the
cruising vessels that we usually see in Puerto Galera.
The yacht’s computer chart shows our vessels
every move on its coloured screen, the A.I.S.
(Automatic Identification System)
locates every ship giving it’s name,
type, position, course, speed and
importantly when we will be close
and our clearance in nautical
miles, these make sailing in these
busy waters a doodle compared
to the thumbed paper charts and
visually lining ships in the rigging
to see if one will clear them or
not, which I am used to in the
Philippines.
This is the land of rust
coloured buildings with white
frames and windows, of pale
blonde hair and heavily built
fishing boats, of smoked fish
and hearty meals. It seems light
years away from the black hair of
our Filipino friends and banca’s
held together with nylon fishing
line. Here rain is cold and the
temperature of the brown sea
water when spray hits one is
unreal. I go on watch with five layers of clothing!
Flags abound - Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch,
Polish, British, we are all jostling together waiting for the
weather to improve, and watching other vessels negotiate the
narrow entrance - those who come in are exhausted looking
in wet gear and dripping decks from the breaking waves.
When the weather allows we will continue on our way
to the yacht’s home port at Neustadt in Germany, Here is
a gigantic marina with every facility on hand from lifting
Words and Photos by: Mike Tucker
Seen on the Moorings
But these are rather different moorings at Klintholm Haven
on the Danish island of Mon in the Baltic Sea!
:
Yacht Charter Philippines
PGYC
December 2007
6
hoists, to sail makers, to glass fibre experts, steel fabricators,
electronics and more.
I miss the hot weather, blue seas,
sandy beaches fringed with coconut
trees and the simple facilities of Puerto
Galera.
It’s a month or two later and
here I am back in PG. It’s raining
heavily outside - the kind of weather
that finds all those small leaks you
meant to fix when the sun was out!
And on the Muelle Bay
moorings we have seen:
Starlight Express a Tom Fexas
desingned, Midnight Lace power boat
built by Cheoy Lee and owned by
member Geoffrey Cannell..
Serenity I a Beneteau 41 ft with
Australian owner Peter Mathews.
Esoterica a Martz 46 with
Australian owner Campbell Reynolds on the way to
Townsville.
Quiet Achiever a 40 foot
Seawind catamaran withAustralian
owner James Gillman.
Yela a 44 foot multihull by Dean
with Swiss owner Ruegsegger Erich.
Doramac a 46 ft. Diesel Duck
with American owner Randal and
Ruth Johnson.
Graeme Gilbert returned with
Artemis to her old mooring.
Vincent Ruais returned from his
summer lay-up with Sweet Rosie.
And for the All Souls Regatta
the moorings had many extra visitors
including:
Legs, Irresistible, Karakoa,
John B, Saipin, China Rose, Selma
Star, Punta de Uian, Raparree,
Salina, Sorcerer, Cocobolo, The
Judge.
PGYC
December 2007
7
NATURE NOTES
BIRDING SABAH
Many of our cruising visitors are either heading south, or
have come from there and have KOTA KINABALU (“KK”)
somewhere on their itinerary. For this I don’t blame them
because KK has an excellent Marina at Sutera Harbour and a
sophisticated town with an international airport, malls, coffee
shops, pubs and great restaurants. It also has numerous small
workshops and marine supply stores for all those bits and
pieces that are hard to find here. Immigration and Customs are
easy and free.
Sabah also has some of the most easily accessible primary
rainforest areas, with Orang-Utans, Proboscis monkeys and
elephants all possible within a day of KK, as well as hundreds
of fantastic birds. I’ve been going there, on and off, since the
late 1980’s and most recently in May this year. Although much
of the habitat that existed 20 years ago has been ravaged in
favour of oil-palm plantations, the few bits that remain within
protected areas are well-worth the visit and give one an inkling
of what used to be and what we’ve lost.
The most well-known site to visit is, of course, Mount
Kinabalu. An easy three hour bus-ride from town it has a
variety of accommodations, from dorms to private chalets and
is a good place to start your jungle adventure. At 3,000 feet,
the park headquarters are cold at night so take a warm jacket.
Apart from the obvious trail up the mountain (for which you
need a permit, a guide and two days) there are numerous other
well-marked trails of varying lengths and difficulty. There
aren’t many animals around but plenty of birds that are hard
Words by Peter Stevens
Photographs John and Jemi Holmes,
Hong Kong
to find elsewhere. Indeed, there are a few species that can be
found nowhere else - the Kinabalu endemics.
Next you might want to continue you journey onto
PORING hot springs. I must admit that this is the one piece
of my Sabah jigsaw that’s missing. I understand it has good
rooms, a hot spring and a jungle canopy walk for access to
those flying critters that never come below the tree-tops. Bus
back to KK and then fly over to LAHAD DATU and start
working your way back towards KK via DANUM VALLEY,
KINABATANGAN, SEPILOK and, finally, the little known
IMBAK CANYON.
DANUM VALLEY was originally set up in the early
Windsurfing Kiteboarding
PGYC
Cruiser News,
September 2006
8
PGYC
December 2007
1980’s as a scientific research centre into sustainable forestry
and its habitat. It’s now opened its doors to non-scientific
visitors. The rooms are adequate, the restaurant reasonable,
the view from the balcony terrific and the bird and animal list
awesome. It’s one of the top birding sites in Asia. The grid-
work of trails makes it very easy to get around and there are
refreshing streams along the way. Even if you’re not a birder,
it’s a great place to experience the grandeur of primary lowland
rainforest. Due to its relatively high density of warm-blooded
animals (deer, pigs etc) there’s also a high density of leeches,
so be warned.
I’ve already mentioned the balcony, where it’s possible to
lounge in leech-free
comfort and bird the
nearby trees all day
if you need a break.
Rhinoceros Hornbills
are common, as are
sunbirds and, over the
canopy, various birds
of prey. One of the
cutest little broadbills
is the Black and Yellow
variety. This pic was taken from the balcony by my pal John
Holmes, who had joined me from Hong Kong. On this visit
we also had a herd of elephants strolling down the road. The
occasional wild Orang-Utan comes to the fruiting trees near
the balcony too.
The next stop
as you make your way
back towards KK from
Lahad Datu, is the
KINABATANGAN
RIVER, home of the
famous (and endemic)
Proboscis Monkey.
These guys have a huge pot-belly, ginormous honker and a
permanent erection. (I think there’s at least a couple living
in PG!). Meet up here with my old mate Robert Chong of
the Kinabatangan Jungle Camp (labukbb@yahoo.com) for a
dude-style birding trip by small boat down the river. The rare
Storm’s Stork and a variety of hornbills are almost guaranteed,
but harder work will be needed if you’re to get a good view
of the extremely elusive Bornean Ground-Cuckoo. An
uninteresting name for a superb bird -- the size of an elongated
chicken but blue-green, purple and a bit stripy underneath.
I also had superb views of Blue-Headed Pitta. The beauty of
drifting down the river is that you make no noise and can get
really close to things. The Proboscis Monkeys love water
and swim readily. They hang out overhead and are really
amusing to watch. If you’re really lucky you’ll see Orangs
here too.
Robert will take
you down the road to
the famous SEPILOK
orang-utan reserve.
I’ll admit right now,
that I had never been
‘cos I thought it’d be
naff -- seeing captive
orangs pretending
to be wild -- in fact
it’s brilliant and very
funny. In fact many
of the animals are
the offspring of the
original rehabilitated
animals and live wild
and free in the jungle. They come in for the free grub every
day, and who can blame them? Free lunch? Go for it.
From
Sepilok it’s
possible to ?y
back to KK from
SANDAKAN,
or hop on an
airconned luxury
coach. If you’re
up for a bit more
adventure and
truly exploratory
birding and
trekking then get off at TELUPID and head to IMBAK
CANYON. The last and largest area of lowland dipterocarp
rainforest to be designated (almost) a reserve. Even as I write
the chainsaws are busy hacking away at the edges. I spent a
few days there earlier this year and will save it for a future
edition of Nature Notes.
PGYC
December 2007
9
Continued on page 11
That was my first trip to Laos and my
intention was to travel along the Mekong,
using public or commercial transport. I had
done long river journeys in the past -- on
the Nile and the Yangtze; these great rivers
seem to have a soul of their own if one
spends enough time on them. The Mekong,
another of the World’s great rivers, had
appealed to me because of the lands it flows
through and especially because it is still, for the most part, a
wild river. There are dams, but they are in its upper reaches,
in China, and downstream there is very little in the way of
heavy industry. For most of the Mekong’s 3,000 kilometres it
is traditional, rural South East Asia.
Travel on the Mekong is problematic because of the
inconsistency of transport: some stretches have a regular
service, most do not. Politics and security issues are to blame
in some areas, navigational hazards restrict shipping in others.
Rapids, although not big by white-water standards, are
still fast enough to make transit a challenge for large boats,
especially when traveling downstream and at the mercy of the
current.
But the right kayak would have no problem negotiating
A KAYAK ON THE MEKONG
Words & photos by Marc Paillefer
I came up with idea
to paddle the Mekong
about a year ago while
sitting on its banks in
Savannakhet – a small
provincial capital in
southern Laos. To my
amazement, out of the twilight came a K1
kayak, being paddled silently and effortlessly,
moving very swiftly on the current. A K1 is a
very Hi Tech, very sleek design, a class of it’s
own in International competition, and anyone
who has been to Savannakhet will appreciate
how out of place this craft would be in that
sleepy little town. Where it came from is
beyond me, but the light went on.
Main Photo: It spills out on to a broad plain and lazily meanders
Inset: An endless choice of sandbars to haul out on and camp
Asia Divers El Galleon Beach Resort Puerto Galera Portofino Beach Resort Puerto Galera
PGYC
December 2007
11
A Kayak.. continued from page 9
these skinny bits, Fast and efficient on the ?ats,
transportable, and able to carry enough gear to
sustain an individual paddler. The Mekong, at
low water, provides an endless choice of sandbars
to haul out on and camp. I had my plan.
Searching the internet for information,
I found Mick O’Shea’s trip from source to sea
in 1999, done with considerable support, but
an epic journey none-the-less. I also saw that
another paddler had gone from Luang Prabang
to Vientiane. I wanted to start my trip as far
upstream as possible. The stretch that forms the
border between Laos and Myanmar seemed a bit
too dodgy for security reasons. My start was to be
somewhere in the Golden Triangle.
How far downstream I went was up to
me. Several friends expressed an interest in
going but as always, talk is cheap. Kayaking
down the Mekong sounds well and fine;
committing to be three months away from
work or family is another matter all together.
I had the Kayak chosen before I left the
river bank that first night in Savanakhet. A
very unique “sit atop” touring boat designed
by a well known outfitter in Vancouver,
Canada. She has 15’6” of waterline, with a
200-kilogram payload, that can be collapsed into a package
the size of a golfbag and weighs just 15-kilograms. The rest of
the kit included water purification systems, tent, stove, etc, all
chosen with lowest-weight in mind. I considered sponsorship
but then thought otherwise. Not wanting to be committed to
others and more importantly, I’ve never been able to sell much
of anything to anyone, and would prefer to stay that way.
In January I spent a couple of very enjoyable weeks in
the forgiving waters of Puerto
Galera, getting use to my new
boat and learning how best to
stow the gear. It also gave me
a chance to toughen up my
skin under a tropical sun. This
would be important in a South
East Asian dry season. A lot
of time and energy went into
choosing the right gear, and I
had grown tired of the process,
but was happy with the final
weight. My kit weighed in at
just under 40-kilograms -- boat and all. Most importantly, it
was a chance to wrap my head around the coming venture.
Focus and motivation are very fragile elements when one is
alone.
By the first week of February I was boarding an aircraft
in Ho Chi Minh City, bound for Vientiane. Now there were
other things to look after. Thinking I might need a permit of
some kind (the Mekong being the border with Thailand for
much of its course through Laos) I enquired at the National
Tourism Office – a sleepy, subdued place, as everywhere in
Vientiane seems to be. After several desks and several kindly
bureaucrats latter, I decided to let that sleeping dog lie.
No one seemed to
understand what I was
after or, if they did,
they didn’t care. Right
then; fine with me . . .
no permit required.
At Vientiane the
Mekong changes its
character. Upstream,
the river cuts through
the mountains of
northwest Laos, steep
sided and relatively
fast running. As it
approaches the capital, it spills out on to a broad plain and
lazily meanders its way for several hundred kilometres before it
picks up steam again in southern Laos. I had to see first hand
what I could, what I was up against, and so needed a boat
heading up river. I was able to find a regular service, a so called
“slow boat”, which took me to Pak Lai, a logging town in the
very obscure province of Sainyabuli. The 180-kilometres of
Mekong that I saw along the way was much as I’d imagined
Top to Bottom: It picks up steam
again in southern Laos; Much of the
Mekong 3000 km. is traditional, rural
South East Asia; Fast, tight water,
fishermen lining the rocks with dip
nets
Badladz adventure resort puerto galera
it would: there was a 10-kilomtre stretch of fast, tight water,
fishermen lining the rocks with dip nets; parts were going to
be exciting, but nothing lethal. Reality was setting in . . . this
was really going to happen.
There were boats in Pak Lai, big ?at-bottomed brutes
plying general cargo or logs.
However, no slow-boat to
Luang Prabang . . . my next
stop. Enquiries along the river
bank got me nowhere -- no one
spoke English and I don’t speak
much Lao . . . if that was what
they were speaking. One crew
member waved his arm upriver
and said, “Luang Prabang”;
another on the same vessel
waved his arm in the opposite
direction and said “Vientiane”.
The impression I got was that
these large boats might do that
run when the river was running
higher, but not now. So it
would have to be Luang Prabang by road. Perhaps there I
could learn about that 280-kilomtre stretch of Mekong I
was missing.
The next two days where perhaps the dustiest miles
I have covered in almost thirty years of travel. Dust the
consistency of ?our, and feet-thick at times, and the
ever present logging trucks. I don’t know where the logs
were coming from; from the vantage point of my various
rides everything seemed to be already clear cut. Villages
had sprung up, perhaps of displaced indigenous people
or migrants from somewhere else,
expecting a better life. They must
be sight in the wet season, but at
least the dust would be kept at bay.
Particularly pitiful where a group of
elephants I saw trudging along the
road. These were working animals.
They had not seen a bath for some
time, and given this creature’s
affinity to water they were giving
their Mahouts a lot of trouble . . .
perhaps understandably. No photos I
have do justice to these days.
Luang Prabang: former capitol;
UNESCO World Heritage Site; and,
presently a major hub for travel in
South East Asia. Wats, monks, and
French cuisine, served under colonial
architecture, all on the banks of the
PGYC
Cruiser News,
September 2006
12
PGYC
December 2007
Mekong . . . beautiful stuff, but bursting at the seams with
excursion “travellers”. I’ll save my opinions of this town for my
return on the way down, but suffice to say that Luang Prabang
is a magical place. Not a spot to linger -- days can turn to
weeks here, as they did for me the year before.
Travel up river the last 300-kilomtres to Huay Xai,
my put-in point, was a straight forward affair. This is a well
established “must do” amongst the backpackers. Boats leave
daily, if not more often, are crowded; aboard they sell pringles
and beer, and do the run in two days with an “overnight”
along the way. The trip is pleasand; the crowded boats are
not. Anyway, enough has been written about this in the guide
books. I was in Huay Xai. I needed one more day to buy food
and fuel, and assemble the boat. It was exactly a year since
that first night in Savannakhet.
Left:Savannakhet: the light went on
Below: Still fast enough to make transit a challenge for large boats
Ab Wonderdive Puerto Galera
PGYC
December 2007
13
Built in 1961 in Japan
as a freighter, the MV Alma
Jane Express is 33-metres
long, 7-metres wide and
15-metres high; she had a
wooded cabin and sleeping
quarters. I asked Beyong how
much he wanted for the boat: a cool Php450,000.
“Wow that’s a lot . . . Why are you selling it?” I asked him.
Beyong said, “That’s how much I have spent on
refurbishing her and I now realize that it will cost that again
to finish the job . . . I don’t have that much left”.
I let all the dive shops know about the Alma Jane and
it was finally agreed that we would buy her. The money came
partly from funds in the Dive Association’s bank account
and the rest we cajoled out of the Korean dive shops, since
none of them were Dive Association members and could not
contribute in any other way.
It took nearly two months to clean the Alma Jane – we
wanted to be sure that we were not polluting other nearby
dive sites. We cut some extra holes in her hull to help sink
faster and in a controlled manner.
The date was set for the sinking: 3rd March 2003 at
3pm. We thought that three pee-em on the third day of the
third month of the third year into the third millennia should
be auspicious. I went to bed on the evening of the second
thinking everything was set for MV Rags 1 (Lalaguna Beach
Club’s banca) to tow the Alma Jane from her temporary
mooring in Dalaruan Bay at some civilised hour the following
morning.
Words by Chuck Driver
Photos by Ricky Kui
Back in January
2003 I was sitting up in
Capt’nGreggs restaurant
when a Filipino
gentleman by the name
of Beyong rolled up the
stairs. He asked if the
Puerto Galera dive shops
collectively wanted to
BYE BYE ALMA JANE
Something went wrong with that idea as Frank Doyle
from Lalaguna Beach Club called me on my mobile phone at
5am saying “let’s go!”
“Ok” I thought, “might as well get the ball rolling early”.
We arrived at the Alma Jane by 5.30am and with the
good weather we were able to bring her around to a position
Continued on page 15
Lighthouse Marina Resort Subic Bay
just to the North of El Galleon’s pier; we had
dropped both the stern and bow anchors by
6.00am. Our depth gauge said we were right smack
on 30-metres as planned; Alma Jane’s bow was
facing West.
“OK” called Frank, “time to pull the plugs”.
We pulled the prop shaft housing plug and
the sea cocks, and then stood off, waiting for a
picturesque movie style sinking. Things went slow;
real slow . . . it was like watching paint dry. It
actually took three hours before she settled on the
bottom at 30-metres with bow facing West, just the
Alma Jane.. continued from page 13
way we had planned -- so that the current would run down
the entire length of the boat and continuously feed the corals.
Unfortunately some of the wooden super structure had
?oated away during sinking but there are still lots of steel
trusses up to the original three levels making her a great Nitrox
and penetration dive experience. Now, four years later the MV
Alma Jane Express is home to an overabundance of fish species
and corals.
If anyone else out there has a steel boat you would like to
sink, just call me . . . but don’t expect Php450,000.
PGYC
December 2007
15
PGYC
December 2007
17
The kamikaze jetski was piloted by a
young woman who undoubtedly believed
that her sacrifice would allow her to join
her ancestors with the honour of having
struck an anarchistic blow -- (a) she
tried to sink The Judge, and (b) she was
illegally racing a jetski in a protected
and speed-controlled area. Knocked
unconscious by the impact and in
danger of drowning, a crewman
off the following yacht, Sorcerer,
jumped in to foil her attempts at
martyrdom and keep her in the
present World for reeducation.
The last we heard she was seen
being bundled off to Manila,
destined for a brain scan . .
. we are not sure if they are
looking for pre- or post-
impact programming
errors.
ALL SOULS REGATTA 2007
Words by Martyn Willes
Photos by Chris Cragg and Maricel Narcisso
Kamikaze jetskis, broken
rigging and tattered sails
only added colour to the best
sailing event on the planet at
Halloween: the Royal/Heavylift
All Souls Regatta in Puerto
Galera, Philippines
Sandoway catching Salina for a close finish
Hopefully,
before next too
long the MARINA
department and
the Coastguard
can get together
and introduce that
long promised
legislation that
will (a) recognize
pleasure vessels
(small craft up
to 17 meters, operated for the purpose of pleasure, albeit
sometimes with payment) distinct from commercial vessels
(big hulking monsters with little or no respect for people
operating pleasure vessels for the purpose of pleasure) and
(b) introduce a basic day-skipper/boat-master course and
qualification that will be required before anyone else can attain
ascendance to divinity as a modern-day kamikaze.
During the week preceding, nary a puff of breeze could
be encouraged to ruffle the expanse of the Verde Island
Passage. But the determination of hundreds of sailors, arriving
from all corners of the archipelago, to enjoy their sport atop
cobalt tides, should never be underestimated. With such
motivation amongst their faithful the Weather Gods could
only applaud and accede to (and sometimes exceed) the simple
yachtsmen’s prayers for “10 to 15 knots of breeze, please”.
One of the unique challenges of the Verde Island
Passage is the tidal flow. If you do not have an appreciation
for navigating tidal flows then you will be disadvantaged
in the racing here. One of the phenomenon of tidal flows
around promontories and islands is the “tide-rip”, which can
turn an otherwise glassy surface into maelstrom (from the
original Dutch word, not from Edgar Allan Poe) . . . take
away the glass and add 15-knots of conflicting wind and you
have swirling, splash-happy, slap-happy ridges and troughs
capable of dismasting any unfortunate passing Hobie 16. And
so it was that, previous All Souls Regatta champion, Luigi
PGYC
December 2007
18
Clockwise from Top Left: Shiboo-shiboo-Shibumi!; Kalayaan II : focused
on Shibumi; The Judge after surviving the jet ski attack; Punta de Uian:
enjoying their first campaign at All Souls; Irresistible: the top competitor
from the Coron Yacht Club
PGYC
December 2007
19
Manzi was left floundering with his rig collapsed just beyond
the leeward end of Bonito Island. All who followed offered
to assist but Luigi gallantly waved us away with a cheery
thumbs-up (nobody actually recorded his foredeck crew with a
cheery thumbs-up -- she was too busy clinging to the bucking
trampoline), awaiting rescue from a cellphone-dispatched
banka.
And for those who think that racing in the Philippines
lacks drama or challenge should note that Selma Star managed
to break her spinnaker pole during the event and Rags tore the
clew out of her number one.
When it comes to excellent sailing breezes there is no
doubt that Puerto Galera, like Boracay, consistently delivers
quality and quantity sufficient to test a yacht’s equipment to
the full.
Continued on page 21
In all, twenty nine boats set out to master the challenges
set by the handicappers in a series of pursuit races, calculated
to test the mettle and the ego of skippers and crew. From
the outset the racing was designed to set new standards of
entertainment: from the challenges of rounding the windward
mark (secured in 30 metres of water in a picturesque setting
off the western tip of Verde Island), to the squeezing of almost
the entire fleet simultaneously around the leeward end of
Bonito Island. The boat-to-boat competitiveness galvanized
the enthusiastic attendance at post-race parties and doubled
the applause for the awards.
The Weather Gods added their own challenge in the
final race by not only offering up an unexpected strong breeze
Karakoa leads them home
Sorcerer’s gallant crew saved the kamikaze;
Ray Ordeveza & Karakoa top
dogs in IRC;
Karakoa in third place overall with Ray Ordeveza in
command;
The fleet came together at Bonito
Jelle Mann
& Saipin
overall regatta
champions
Broadwater Marine Subic Manila Cebu Philippines
big apple dive resort sabang beach puerto galera
but by blowing it in from the West . . . the first time at such
an event.
The westerly caused many to balk at the dare of a
spinnaker gybe at the congested Sabang Beach mark leaving
PGYC
December 2007
21
All Souls. continued from page 19
the courageous to steal a march on the ?eet ahead: Harry
Taylor aboard, Manila-Boracay Race-winner, Irresistible,
executed the manoeuvre ?awlessly, as did Alan Burrell with
Sandoway, but most dropped their kites before the mark and
struggled out around Escarceo Point using number ones.
As last year, Encenada Beach was forsaken as a mark in
favour of the more remote Dulangan Beach for the setting
of the (sort of) leeward mark of the course; unlike last year,
instead of the expected soft breezes, there were 18-20 knot
armfuls funnelling across from the saddle where sits Puerto
Galera town.
But it was Jeremy Simpson’s Shibumi who stole the
show, with his crew decked-out in coordinated, white bikini-
tops and choreographed, shiboo-shiboo-shibumi musical
accompaniment that climaxed at the prize giving.
In the end All Souls 2007 was definitely a big-boat
regatta: with a 43-footer (Saipin) followed by a 39 (Legs
Eleven) and a 53 (Karakoa) taking the overall honours. The
36s struggled to compete on waterline length and their
superior pointing ability was negated by the un-seasonal
variation in the wind direction.
Regrettably our usual photographers – Bernadette Willes
and Terry Duckham – were not able to be at the event so
we thank volunteer – Chris Cragg (photo-journalist retired)
-- and bystanders – Maricel and Eric – for there assistance in
pixel-piecing together the event for this issue of the Cruiser
News.
Our sincere thanks go out to the main sponsors: Royal
Cargo, Heavylift Manila. And to the supporters: Illig Far East,
The Mansion at Puerto Galera, Petron (Puerto Galera), L.A.
Café and others. With your continued support, the All Souls
Regatta will be bigger and better next year and our tiny corner
of paradise will echo with the sounds of triumph, frivolity and
camaraderie towards the next millennium.
Hobies reveled in the stiff breezes
Als Marine Manila Philippines
 
PGYC
December 2007
23
After a blessing
on the Sandbar
beach by Father
Marlon for the new
boats, the racing
got underway. For
the morning series
we decided to stick
with the old boats
as these were what
the youngsters were
most familiar with.
Indeed the Puerto
Princesa crowd had
arrived two days early just to practice.
The conditions were perfect, with a
steady 10kts of onshore breeze. Racing
was close and hotly contested. Four
back-to-back races around the cans were
held, with windward/leeward; triangles
and combinations of both. None of the
courses were very long, which made good
starts essential. The honours on day-1
went to our own DJ and Darnell, with
the top PSA boys close behind and with two more of our lads
in 3rd place.
The next day the youngsters were on the water early,
with perfect winds. After some more practice, racing started
again. The PSA boys had used their time well and Ruben and
Marjorie took full advantage to sail into an early lead, which
Words by Peter Stevens Photos by Eric Luigi
This year saw teams from the Abinico Yacht Club in Puerto Princesa, the Philippine Sailing
Association (“PSA”), Subic Bay Yacht Club and our local lads and lasses competing for honours
in the Under-18 Class. The Open Class (one crew 18yrs or over) was a little light due to other
commitments of our normal Wet Wednesday crowd. We were delighted to again welcome two
friends from Sailability Philippines - Cherrie and Eleen. We were likewise delighted to welcome
three of the members of Round Table 10, Hong Kong, headed by Matthew Adams. They were
here to witness the launch of the new dinghies for which they had so generously provided
funds.
they never relinquished.
A slow-motion,
downwind capsize
didn’t help DJ’s cause at
all when he was a close
second in one race.
Perhaps it was a good
thing that we weren’t
close enough to hear
what the skipper had to
say to the crew about that! His 3rd place
overall for the day wasn’t quite enough
to take top honours. 2nd place for the
day was, however, good enough to help
PGYC’s Gabby and Tony retain their 3rd
overall.
In the afternoon we got the new
boats out on the water for the first
time, and great they looked too. The
Roundtable lads were supposed to sail
them but were hijacked by Kim Barnaby on M/Y Isla and went
out to watch the big boys in the Verde Passage. As it was, the
wind was dropping quickly anyway so the day was shortened
to just four races. Eralin and Jason, two of our graduates, won
the day and overall Open-class trophy, with the Sailability girls
chasing them all the way to a close second place.
NATIONAL LAWIN REGATTA
Left:While the dinghies race
the Hobies wait
Bottom:Rylee and Rena Jane
(PSA) not completely happy
with 4th place
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PGYC
December 2007
24
After reviewing the photographs of the event I note with
interest that the overall winners of the main event were sailing boat
#1, i.e. the first ever built. A fitting tribute to the durability of the
build, the quality of the
sails and, of course, the
skill of the young men
sailing her. I’m sure
that hulls 11 – 20 will
last just as long (and
longer) and provide
many hours of fun for
the children of our
community. Thanks
again to the guys of
ROUND TABLE 10,
HONG KONG.
Clockwise from Above: Joshua and Ernesto (Abanico Yacht Club)
enjoying the competition; New dinghies donated by the Round
Table 10, Hong Kong; Stiff competition for the best start;
Different styles downwind – next year spinnakers!
CLOUD NINE: PERFECT SURF, PALMS &
PARADISE
PGYC
December 2007
25
Throughout the wet season and into the dry, every year
the faithful come to pay homage to the forces of nature at this
very spot . . . at the break that defines Cloud 9 as one of the
top ten in the World.
It is a place where mist-laden sunrises greet surfers as
they push their boards out across the storm-smoothed-coral
shallows and where the air is fringed with a chorus of forest
birds celebrating their survival, heralding a new day full of
opportunity
for feasting and
procreation.
At the end
of September
each year the
World’s-best
surfers arrive to
do battle in the
barrel and to
imbibe the peace
and tranquility
of Siargao
Island. The denizens of this island paradise welcome
all with open arms and great humour; supporting the
visitors more completely each year with an increased
understanding of how and why the way of life that is
surfing has brought fame to this tiny outcrop of coral .
. . an outcrop that historically had no value except as a
place to search for shells in the aftermath a storm.
To celebrate this year’s gathering, the twelfth
international event at Cloud 9, the Dapa National
High School appealed to the spirits of earth, fire,
CLOUD NINE: PERFECT SURF, PALMS &
PARADISE
Words by John Smart
Photographs by John Smart
and courtesy of Billabong
Uttered to any surfer, anywhere on the
planet, Cloud 9 means barrels -- endless barrels
swelled by the vast Pacific Ocean’s relentless pulse
and focus . . . exhausting finally, dramatically
atop the tiniest of coral ridges on the eastern edge
of the tiny island of Siargao.
water and air for good surfing and fair competition
in an especially colourful dance borne of millennia
of communing with a myriad of
Gods (some of whom were plainly
enthused by the vibrant spectacle
and infused themselves into the
dancers). Following the divine
appeal, a more modern tradition
was performed and the ceremonial
surfboard was broken yet again.
Municipal and tourism chieftains
replaced the mock-Moro forebears
and leapt forward to bask in the
flash bulb frenzy and right on cue,
as the magic seaweed had predicted,
Above: They emulate on-water heroes & crushes to become surf
instructors themselves; Left:Wade Goodall on his first visit to
Siargao averaged nine or better to win overall; Bottom:Surf shop
Siagao style
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the barrels started to form and foam. This year, for the first
time, the event is sponsored by the Australian surf equipment
and apparel manufacturer: Billabong.
The wind Gods added their resources to the pool of
divinity in the late afternoon, with a building offshore breeze,
and the scene was set for the best surfing competition of 2007
so far.
From Hawaii, California and Australia, from Indonesia,
Puerto Rico and from Japan they hand-carried their
surfboards along crushed coral roads to enjoin with
Filipino surfers outside the break, temporarily confining
their countrymen faithful, and others from Israel and
France, to the “other breaks” (for which Siargao can also
be proud) to the North.
The locale for competition defined. Former
champions Ryan Hipwood (Australia) and Ryan
Augustein (USA) bowed out of competition early at
the hands of a new breed of local and international
challengers. Chargers came in the form of Luke
Dorrington (Australia) and local Philippine surfers
Carlito Nagallo, Martin Taniegra and Edmond Mendoza.
The Hawaiian contingent of surfers also dominated
the epic afternoon’s “Hawaiian Style” conditions with
Dustin Cuizon, Makua Rothman, Kamalei Alexander,
Rico Jiminez, Jason Shibata and Stephen Koehne all
progressing through to the knockout rounds. Top ranked
Japanese charger Shinpei Huriguchi and Alejandro
Moreda (Puerto Rico) traded barrels with Genelo Nagalo
(Philippines). Sunshine Coast surfer Wade Goodall,
on his first visit to the Philippines, celebrated with a
storming brace of top qualifying tube-rides.
Away from the competition the surfers relaxed and
mingled with compatriots and friends amongst the shady,
palm-laden beaches & gardens. With a Lahaina indolence
some watched the orange, pinks and purples of the sunset
while the older (slightly) reposed in front of big screens to
PGYC
December 2007
26
reminisce themselves or others in competitions past.
Nothing about surfing is ever hurried and even the
pause between waking and the arrival of Mylene -- the famous
bread-lady of Cloud 9 – her basket bulging with fresh-baked
delicacies (and the only real bread on the whole island), is time
to be savoured: to discourse with new arrivals, to learn of new
breaks discovered somewhere around the World and to review
Top: The Billabong International Surfing Competition Cloud 9
Left:Board Breaking: Gerry Deagan, Mayor Espejon, Gov. Robert Barbers, Peter
Thew and Andrew Stark
it is difficult to see where the “Philippines” ends and “Foreign”
starts. Some find the similarities so
close that they choose to emulate their
on-water heroes & crushes to become
surf instructors themselves and to
expand the creed through enterprise
and marriage.
By the end of the competition
it was Wade Goodall from Australia,
defeating fellow countryman Nick
Vasicek with a consistent average of
nine out of ten, who took away the big
money (well, US$7,500). But it was
watching Mylene walk the morning
beach, casting her ever-hopeful eye towards the horizon -- still
waiting for her departed lover’s promise of return -- that gave
me so much reason
to put Cloud
9 on my travel
itinerary again for
2008. In Siargao,
the spirit of the
surf redefines a
Philippines I fell in
love with, a quarter
century ago.
old war-wounds from less surf-friendly locations such as Bali
(where the stag-horn coral can tear
your back to shreds).
The way of life of surfing is
complimented everywhere here in
Siargao – it dovetails so perfectly
with a tropical island lifestyle that,
as where the sky meets the sea at
the horizon on a blissful afternoon,
PGYC
December 2007
27
Clockwise from Top: Mark Viser caught the
best barrel of the day; The Dapa National
High School dance troop; The judging gallery
and spectator stand at Cloud 9; Mylene: The
famous bread-lady of Cloud 9 . . . waiting
for her lover’s return; The especially colourful
dance borne of millennia of communing with
a myriad of Gods
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PGYC
December 2007
29
Our Asian Spirit BAe 146 took off half-an-hour late
from Manila’s Domestic Airport; the approximately one-hour
?ight to Surigao City -- the capitol of Surigao Del Norte
province that includes the island of Siargao -- provides an ever-
changing Google Earth vista and traverses a large percentage of
the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippine archipelago.
Surigao airport is small: heavy braking brought the
aeroplane to a standstill just a score of metres from the end
of the runway. The terminal is manual: steps down from the
plane, a short walk to the arrivals area, luggage (bags, roosters
and wedding paraphernalia mixed up with surf boards and
regular air-cargoes) covered the fifty metres from the aeroplane
to the carousel at less than walking pace.
Nobody in the building seemed to know the schedule
of ferries from the port; airline representatives had already
evaporated. The tricycle drivers outside the terminal know
and are happy to report that the last ferry is at noon; it is now
11:10.
Surf boards, cameras and tripods recovered from the
carousel are loaded into a jeep and the bustling, dirty city
of Surigao is navigated, direct to the port; the driver shouts
above the noise, “you need money?” and then points, “last
ATM”. At the port a tall, sun tanned man in his 50s tells us
that the M/V Fortune Angel is the “fastest boat to Dapa”
-- the main port of Siargao Island -- “and is leaving now”:
11:30. There being no more first-class (air-conditioned) seats
available our surfing group opts for the upper-deck, naturally
Words and photographs by Martyn Willes
The ultimate destination on the
2008 Philippine Hobie Challenge;
within ten years Siargao (pronounced
“shar-gow” (“gow” as in “cow”))
could be the next Boracay of Asia. It
has white sand beaches, very friendly
people and a barrier reef that protects
its long and picturesque shoreline
-- creating a vast expanse of shallow,
warm water to play in. The only reason
that it is not more popular today is that
it is apparently so challenging to reach;
actually it’s not.
Past lush mangroves we approach the port of Dapa
DISCOVERING SIARGAO:
THE NEXT BORACAY?
PGYC
December 2007
30
air-conditioned, Economy-A (as distinct
from lower-deck, Economy-B). The
view from here is better than in all other
classes and, as we cast-off from the pier,
the surprisingly clean and clear (to a
depth of at least ten metres) waters swirl
and eddy around the hull until we are
able to head seaward and set course for
Dapa.
The passages between the
numerous islands sustain the relentless
push of the Pacific Ocean as it surges
through the relatively narrow Surigao
Strait just to the North. The currents
reach speeds of eight knots and every
promontory and reef is tortured by huge
upwellings and maelstroms. Our old,
heavy, steel passenger ferry is nudged
and tugged continually and its wake,
our mark of visible progress, is segmented and torn by the
erratic currents, as soon as it leaves the stern.
On we push. Past islands raped by greed for the
chromate that can be cheaply extracted and sold to the
Japanese and others; the vegetation and top-soil torn away,
gapping wounds like blooded tissue, exposed forever to
the elements, fester in the midday sun.
Finally, after passing by large expanses of luscious
mangroves, we turn the corner and enter the shallow,
sheltered waters of Dapa port on the West side of Siargao
Island; we dock at 15:00.
Transport on Siargao is 95% motorcycle. Everything
here travels by motorcycle at some point and people,
chickens, rice and surfboards are loaded or carried as the
little engines strain to gain momentum, along surprisingly
well maintained concrete roads, up the hill out of Dapa,
towards the beaches. Fortunately, unlike other towns and
cities around the country, 99% of all the motorcycles are
4-stroke (as opposed to 2-stroke) so the air is relatively
clean and bright.
With tripod & cameras hanging around necks and
luggage clamped under arms, the thirteen kilometres to
the town of General Luna (pronounced “G.L.”) passes
remarkably quickly and smoothly on the back of the
“habal-habal” (= Honda TMX 155 or similar, modified
with footrests and extended seats to carry up to eight
people!). Only two non-motorcycles were spied along the
entire route and, unlike in Puerto Galera or Manila, they
pay great respect to the motorcycles that in turn proceed
everywhere at a predictable 60kmph. For those yearning
for the freedom born of dispensing with crash helmets,
this is the place to ride – clean air, almost empty roads
and no “crocodiles” (except a few remaining Cayman
Left to Right: Endless white coral sand beaches and overhanging
coconut palms; Why do they travel from around the world?; The
graded, coral dust and gravel from GL to Cloud 9
Page 32: The golden Pacific-O beach to the North
PGYC
December 2007
31
inhabiting the mangroves in the northwest of the island). In
fact, during five days, not a single crash helmet I observed.
GL appears before us, fully decorated with bunting and
banners, not only for the surfing festival but also because
Saturday is the town fiesta; we pass through it in a minute,
leaving a blaze of yellow, red and white in our rear-view
mirror. The road from the town to our destination -- Cloud
9 -- is a couple of kilometres of graded, coral dust and
gravel; with arms still full of luggage it is impossible to cover
the mouth and nostrils as the dust swirls behind passing
transports . . . holding your breath is the only option. Finally
we arrive.
First impressions of Cloud 9: What is all the fuss
about? Why would people travel here from all over the
World? Bigger surf can be seen off Talipanan Beach. There is
nowhere to swim at Cloud 9 because it’s all coral rock. But
. . . gazing eastward, beyond the narrow line of surf, the sea
is cobalt and the sky is infinitely blue as the sun descends
behind us . . . I sense a hint of something special . . .
The next morning I walk along the beach back to GL.
Stopping at any resort or house that will allow casual access
– some are too private. This is when I discovered why Siargao
can rival Boracay.
Cloud 9 is only for surfers (see separate story this
issue) but almost all of the remainder of the coastline is
simply waiting for tropical pleasure seekers: white-coral-sand
beaches, overhanging coconut palms, acres of warm shallow
water, few sea urchins but a handful of picturesque fishing
bankas, lazy after a night’s fishing beyond the reef.
Along the way I met the newly installed town mayor
-- Felipe ‘Ping’ Espejon – who invited us to join him and his
colleagues for lunch and who is enthusiastic about the area’s
potential for tourism because, as he pointed out, it is the
best bet to replace the once profitable fishing
industry -- largely depleted by short-term-
thinking dynamite and cyanide fishing.
The mayor also sees the development of
kayak-tourism along the kilometres of passages
amongst the mangroves that line the West of
the island and where a few Cayman still survive,
having eluded the handbag manufacturers,
waiting their moment to be pixel-immortalised
by determined photographers.
The barrier reef, that protects the beaches
North and South of Port Pilar, is between half-
and one-kilometre distant; the expanse between
contains deliciously warm and clean water,
between one and two metres deep. For kayak,
dinghy and windsurfing enthusiasts this would
be something close to paradise. Numerous small,
uninhabited islands are attached to the edge of
the barrier reef, offering excellent destinations for
snorkeling, picnicking and romancing.
Beyond the reef the seabed rapidly falls away to a
depth of more than 10,500 metres, to the bottom of the
Philippine Trench (a.k.a. Philippine Deep, Mindanao Deep)
– first plumbed by the German ship Emden in 1927. It is
Hobie kayaks sailboats parts accessories philippines
PGYC
December 2007
32
a place where the inexorable subduction of the Philippine
Plate below the Eurasian Plate gives visitors the thrill, almost
daily, of tiny earthquakes. The combination of the Pacific
Ocean circulations along the Trench and the warm tropical
waters above create a fantastic opportunity for game fishing
within a few minutes’ boat-ride from the shore. Scuba diving
along the reef takes one into almost completely uncharted
territory – there is only one easily accessible dive-shop in
existence today – and yet, with such a long Pacific coastline
and its close proximity to the
Galleon-Trade Route (through
the Surigao Strait), the reef is
certain to have seen the end
of numerous storm-chased
treasure ships.
The following day I
traveled North to Pacific-O
beach -- an hour distant by
habal-habal or fifteen minutes
in a banka (note to readers:
take the banka option).
Distinct from the brilliant
white beaches near GL, the
sand here is rich and golden
along the shore and inside the
reef. Less developed than in the South and with no resorts to
speak of, it is nevertheless equally delightful as a destination
for water sports fun.
There is a waterfall at the North of the island, that
looked very special in the small tourist-guide pamphlet I
found in one of the resorts, but the prospect of sitting for
another two-hour-round-trip on a crowded habal-habal
convinced me to stay put and seek out some culinary
delicacies.
Everywhere I went I was told, “sorry, we have nothing
that is Siargao” and after two days of hunting and sampling
I agreed: culinarily, Siargao relies on everywhere else for
inspiration. I did however find a thousand friendly people
who all insisted that: the best non-resort restaurant in GL
is the American in?uenced Daupa; and, the best bar is the
Swedish owned Nine Bar.
The dearth of culinary identity has encouraged one
resort to experiment with locally available seafoods. Andreas
Mikoleiczik, of Patrick’s On The Beach resort, attempts to
infuse some memorable uniqueness by offering such items as
jellyfish, harvested and corralled in pens out near the reef . . .
and then attempts to remove the memory by serving a multi-
gender-appealing, locally brewed mango rhum.
Finally, I did find one thing that is unique to Siargao: for
those traveling on a budget, there is a tiny, take-away burger
store on the waterfront at GL, where they serve a burger in a
bun complete with cheese and a fried egg for Php23 (about
US$0.50). Eat your heart out Ronald!
As I said at the beginning, getting to Siargao is the
perceived challenge – it is currently less challenging than it was
twenty years ago to get to Boracay -- and the biggest problem
is finding a reliable and up-to-date source of information.
Surprisingly the airlines are not that helpful; the Internet
contains little in an accurate, unbiased and comprehensively
digestible form; and, the surfing fanatics seem to publish
everything six months past its sell-by date. So if you want
to go, just send me an email
(cruisernews@pgyc.org)
describing your requirements
and I will direct you to the best
choices currently available.
Mark my words, Siargao
will be as popular as Boracay
within ten years from now,
as a water sports playground
and more. Let us hope that it
will grow in harmony with,
and with great respect for,
the natural beauty that exists
everywhere here today.
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PGYC
December 2007
33
Airlines – SEAir flies to Siargao twice a week from Cebu;
Asian Spirit flies to Surigao City five times a week, leaving
Manila at 09:00 or 10:00 (choose the 09:00 flight if you
want to be sure to catch the ferry the same day). Note:
work is ongoing at Siargao’s airport to extend the runway,
so maybe next year more frequent flights by larger aircraft
will be available.
Ferries from Surigao – there are two and they leave
within 30 minutes of each other at 11:30 and 12:00-
noon; miss them and you will have to spend a night in
Surigao City (a complete waste of time).
Ferries from Siargao (Dapa) – the ferries returning to
Surigao leave at 05:45 and 06:00, so you will need to get
up early and pre-arrange transport to Dapa; both ferries
arrive in time for flights from Surigao to Manila.
Resorts near GL and Cloud 9 – how much do you want
to pay? From Php500 to Php5,000 per night, walk-in
without reservation is possible almost everywhere except
when there is a surfing competition in progress or at
Easter . . . pay at least Php1,000 if you want a good
night’s sleep.
Land Transport – most resorts have a pick-up and tour
service but they charge a large premium for the comfort
and convenience; you can go anywhere on a “habal-habal”
and there is always one available, even at 04:00 in the
morning (to take you to the ferry), but if a habal-habal is
your plan then travel light . . . very light; if you are there
to explore, hire a motorbike for the duration.
Best surfing months – May through December
Best source of surf forecasts – www.magicseaweed.com
Next surfing event – Women’s Nationals (probably) May 2008
Next non-surfing event – 2008 Philippine Hobie Challenge
will finish at GL, Siargao, 22/23 February
Nearest ATM – Surigao City
Internet – broadband available at some resorts
Cellphone coverage – pervasive
Public Telephones – couldn’t find one
Brownouts – few, short
Tap Water – brackish in some resorts
Drinking water – PET bottled, everywhere, Php60 for 4-litres
Cost of eating and drinking – generally low
Personal Safety – very low risk for tourists & residents
The “habal-habal” motorcycle transports up to eight passengers and
baggage
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