©The Cruising Yacht Club
of the Philippines
September 2007
Achieving Independence
and Beauty
Achieving Independence
and Beauty
Hobie Heaven
Inside the Volcano
Hobie Heaven
Inside the Volcano
Nokia and Siemen’s
Brave PG Waters
Nokia and Siemen’s
Brave PG Waters
ocean kayak, for sale, Broadwater Marine Chandlery, subic bay, cebu, manila, philippines
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
September 2007
Philippine Copyright © 2003 - 07 by The
Puerto Galera Yacht Club, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Commodore’s Letter 3
Seen on our Moorings 5
Nature News: Snakes Alive Part III 6
Head Winds and No Bear 8
Build it and they will come 13
Cloud 9 Beach Babes and Surf 15
Achieving Independence and Beauty 16
Hobie Heaven Inside the Volcano 22
Nokia and Siemen’s Brave PG waters 28
Yacht Friendly Moorings
- Romblon Town 31
Sales & Distribution: DeBe Enterprise &
Service (+63 917 846 3388)
Design: Terry Duckham/Asiapix Studios
Layout: Aira Fernando/Asiapix Studios
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
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
It seems ages since I wrote the last of these letters for Cruiser News back in
June. At that time we were looking back at a very successful Easter Regatta. This
time we’re looking forward to an even bigger ROYAL/HEAVYLIFT ALL SOULS
REGATTA in just a few weeks time. You will guess from the title that, once again,
our members LUKAS MARQUART and MICHAEL RAEUBER have stepped up
with the main sponsorship, with our good friend and neighbour Bill LUTT (The
Mansion, Puerto Galera) and Mr.Klaus KOPPENHOEFER from Illig Far East
each contributing to the cause as sub-sponsors. Thanks guys. We couldn’t do it
without you.
At the time of writing we are expecting at least 15 visiting yachts (probably
closer to 20), plus a fleet of hobies from Lake Taal for the main event; with a
regatta-within-a-regatta taking place in the bay involving the LAWIN fleet. For this
we’re expecting teams from Puerto Princessa, Manila, Subic and SAILABILITY
PHILIPPINES to come and compete against our local lads and lasses. There will be
two classes - under 18s and 18+ so there’s room for everybody to have fun. The main
regatta will feature the normal PGY pursuit races, plus a more traditional windward/
leeward course for the out and out racing IRC class. It looks like a very competitive
fleet this year so should be great fun. Look for the ad in this edition of CN.
The town-folk are planning to turn the regatta Saturday into a fiesta on the
pier so that more local people can enjoy the atmosphere. When you visit you will
certainly notice the improvement in that atmosphere on a day to day basis since
the new Mayor has made good his promise to stop all vehicles from driving along
the pier. No more annoying, noisy, smelly tricycles and shoving drivers and porters
spoiling your pizza and cold beer.
As for the LAWINS, the great news is that our friends in the ROUNDTABLE
10 in Hong Kong liked the youth sailing program that we have so much that they
have committed funds to build 10 brand new boats, with proper fittings and gear,
plus spinnakers! This is fantastic news and will enable us to take the program to the
next level in terms of sailing skills for the students. Watch for future CN articles on
the antics on the water.
The acquisition of the adjacent land which I confidently pronounced in June
as being ‘just about finalised’ is now, as I write, just about finalised! By the time
you read this we will have full and clear title, fully paid up, annotated, assigned,
notarised and whatever else has to be done. As soon as this is ready, we will start the
urgent work of constructing the access road from the National Highway in time for
the ASR weekend.
Finally, enjoy this interest-packed edition of Cruiser News. You’ll be carousing
with me and the snakes for the last in the series about the reptile zoo; joining Sea
Feather and her new owner on their trip to Mindanao; constructing artificial reefs off
local beaches here; surfing in Siargao; sailing with sweeties in Subic; touring TAAL
and, finally, relaxing in Romblon.
Puerto Galera Yacht Club, Mindoro, Philippines
Yacht Charter Philippines, Puerto Galera, Mindoro
September 2007
Michael Raeuber’s Celestial 49 China Rose slipped in
from Manila for a couple of days.
Puerto Galera visited Puerto Galera with six of the
Pace clan aboard, led by Grant and Susan. She (the boat, not
Susan) is a Formosa 50 and was en route to Subic after visiting
Tequila Mike in Coron/Busuanga.
Ali Baba, a French 33-footer, with Guy Falletti at the
helm, passed through on its way from Cebu to Manila.
My old friend Benoit Lesaffre breezed in on his
incredible Crowther-designed 49’ speed- monster catamaran
Atmosphere on his way back to Subic from Boracay. I’ve done
close to 20kts across the Lamma Channel in
Hong Kong on this boat, settled comfortably in
a bucket seat sipping red wine. Awesome!
The John B, which was presumably a
sloop, bucked the trend and arrived from up
north, with Mick-whose-name-I-can’t-read-on-
the-form, aboard.
He was followed by another old friend
of mine Lotus Mantra, with her new owner/
skipper Wayne Berge aboard. She’s a Prout 37’
and little sister to my own 39’ Flying Dragon,
on which the original owners, Phil and Innes
Langham sailed in HK while deciding which
boat to buy. I believe that they’re now up in
Langkawi somewhere, on their new toy. If you’re
there reading this say “hi” to them for me.
Talking of toys (BIG toys) the beautiful
Tayana 58 Moonshadow, with owner Dick
Beaumont and friends, came back through
after a few months cruising down south. And, finally,
Anaconda, a self-built, Swan-style design, 43’ ketch, arrived
for an extended stay with her builder/owner/skipper Dane,
Jan Klintegaard and his American wife, Sue (and dog Ana)
aboard. He left Denmark in 2001and has sailed here through
the Caribbean and the Pacific. I persuaded him to write an
account of the trip which will feature in a future edition of
Cruiser News. After sailing across the Pacific with Jan, Sue
decided that she needed to learn how to sail properly and
completed our dinghy sailing course. They have since left,
promising to return.
I hope they, and the rest of you too, do so soon and
Peter Stevens
By Peter Stevens Photo by Terry Duckham
Seen on our Moorings
With Vice-Commodore Mike Tucker off
around Europe somewhere, I’ve had my MAROPS
hat on for a few weeks. In that time we’ve been
pleased to welcome the following visitors and
September 2007
Words and Photos by:
Peter Stevens
Then we moved along to the
commonest poisonous snakes in the
Philippines – the spitting cobras. I knew
that this is what they were due to the
hissing and then the venom dribbling
down the inside of the glass at my eye
level! Irritable things, spitting cobras.
Here’s another interesting fact about
them. Every major island has its own
unique species. So what? So get bitten
by one in Luzon (the only place where
you mightbe lucky enough to find
anti-venom (more accurately called antivenin)) and then go
to Samar and get bitten again (careless of you), there will
be no point taking the medicine that you saved from Luzon
‘cos it won’t work! That’s why an estimated 2-300 hundred
people (mostly rice farmers) die of cobra bites every year in the
Philippines. So be careful out there. That
still doesn’t justify the wanton chopping
up of every snake you see. There are many
out there that are not venomous and they
all have a valuable part to play in the
ecosystem. A good example of the hysteria
surrounding snakes was living in another
case. The Rat Snake (known throughout
the Philippines as the Red Snake) can,
according to local beliefs, “kill a carabao
in three minutes with one nip and should
be killed on sight”. The truth is that it is
completely non-venomous and harmless
. . . if you’re not a rat, which it kills by
Another constrictor, the beautiful Red-tailed Boa
Constrictor, is a South
American stunner. Mike let
me handle this one too and
it was a strong guy. If you
look carefully at the picture
you’ll note the lovely red tail
wrapping itself around my arm!
On the subject of stunners, check out the picture of the
Mangrove Snake, a local beauty, though not one with which
you’d want to snuggle.
We then moved along more pit viper cases, including
those of the beautiful and extremely
endangered Batanes variety, which
I mentioned in the previous article.
Then finally, just when I thought
I’d seen it all, we got to the most
venomous snakes in the World, a
couple of mambas, the Green and the
Black. Which is more deadly than
the other is academic; whichever
one happens to bite you (tho’ you’d
have to travel to Africa first) you
have about three minutes before the
pure neurotoxins shut down your
respiratory system and you suffocate to
death. If you happen to be within that
distance of a hospital with a heart/lung machine you might
This is the last of three insights into the Paradise Zoo in Puerto Galera. Located on the road to the
Ponderosa Golf Club, the zoo is active in breeding endangered species from around the world for the
purpose of reintroduction. In this issue Mike, a young American graduate in marine biology who works
there as a volunteer, introduces Peter to the deadliest of the deadly.
Left: Each island has its own
spitting cobra; each has unique
Below: The Red-tailed Boa seems
content on Peter’s arm
Surfing, Windsurfing, Kiteboarding, for sale
September 2007
just survive. I asked Mike how he fed them. “Very carefully”
was the reply. The other good news about them is that they are
one of the few snakes in the world that will actually chase you
if you disturb their nest or kill their mate! No kidding. You’d
have to be a world-class sprinter
too ‘cos they can move at 22-
kph. That’s faster than most
tricycles in Puerto Galera.
Last on the scary list for
the morning (I thought) was
our old friend Ophiophagus
Hannah, the King Cobra, so
named because they grow to
5-metres and can lift half their
body length off the ground.
That means that they could
look down on a 8-foot tall man!
‘Ahhh, but they live in India’ I
hear you say. Not so my friend.
They are also found throughout
the Philippines. The one in
Mario’s tank was found on his property! The good news is that
they only eat other snakes. Not much consolation if you find
one in your bed. Time for some fresh air.
Back out in the sunlight we headed down the trail past
compounds with various monitor lizards, green iguanas,
Australian Bearded Dragons (that’s a lizard, not a rugby
player), more small crocs and some turtles, one species
of which was believed to be extinct until a few years ago.
Needless to say, Mario has succeeded in breeding them. A
quick “hi” to the Butaan monitor mentioned in the earlier
article and then, just when I thought I was safe, we entered the
rattlesnake house! Yet more fascinating facts about the length
of the fangs of the Gaboon Viper (6-centimetres!) and views
of rattley things and it was time to call it a day. And what an
interesting and exciting day it was too. If you’re not a rat or a
chicken, I highly recommend a visit. It’s advisable to contact
the zoo first because they often have groups
of schoolchildren there. You’ll be asked to
contribute Php500 (about US$10) towards
the upkeep of the place (less for kids and
local residents), which is a small price to pay
for helping Mario and his staff rehabilitate
injured animals and to help him in his
tremendous conservation efforts, targeted at
our own Philippine endangered species. Keep
up the good work. For full details of how to
contact Mario and an insight into what the
place is all about go to www.herpaworld.com
Till the next time (I hope).
Left:Peter checks out the spitting cobras
Below: The beautiful, and only weakly venomous, Mangrove Snake
Bottom: Australian Bearded Dragon
Cruiser News,
September 2006
September 2007
Words by Colin Smith
Photos by Colin Smith and Bernadette Willes
We have just sailed more than 300-miles from Busuanga
to Bonbonon, near Dumaguete, on the South coast of Negros
Island and as you might gather from the opening paragraph;
the trip was pretty rough at times. We started out on a Sunday
morning after unsuccessfully trying to get ice to compensate
for the fridge that was not working . . . no cold beer on this
The wind was about 15-knots from the South East on
the moorings at El Rio Y Mar resort, not good news as we
wanted to go South East, but we were told that the wind
should be East to Northeast once we got outside. I checked a
weather forecast and it said the same thing, so we took a deep
breath and headed south. The wind hadn’t read that forecast
and we spent the next 24-hours fighting a strong Southeasterly
– Busuanga didn’t want us to leave!
At the end of that first day and night, peppered with
many “Why did we ever start this” thoughts as the next sea
washed over the deck and Sea Feather took another great roll,
we reached the lee of Panay. The second afternoon started with
a light following wind and sea & life was good again. Nothing
remains steady for long amongst the islands and as we started
to cross the Panay Channel, between Panay and Negros
islands, the wind veered to funnel out of the straits and we
started plunging across big seas again. At least this time it was
on the beam and we were travelling in the right direction. We
rolled the foresail to about 70%, left the mizzen up and took
the mainsail down; with this sail plan we were comfortably
doing 7.5-knots.
We came into the lee of Negros Island by early morning
and relative calm returned. The wind decreased more and
we ran the motor to keep the speed up as we were hoping to
make Bonbonon by nightfall. We may have done so except a
broken fan belt lost us a precious hour or so and we decided to
anchor for the night, to arrive in daylight – the channel into
the harbour at Bonbonon is mainly unmarked, twists back and
forth and with the added excitement of fish nets put out across
the channel some nights, it is best attempted after sun-up.
So we anchored in a large bay, about 30-miles from
“What do you think Darl, are you Ok to continue?” the Skipper asked, feeling far from confident
himself, as another big wave dumps water over Sea Feather’s decks. The prospect of 12-hours of darkness
fighting big seas, isn’t exactly how he imagined their first night at sea together should be. His 1st Mate’s
encouraging and brave smile gave him the confidence he needed. He didn’t feel they were in any particular
danger, the Cheoy Lee Offshore 41 was handling things very well, it was stories of unlit fishing buoys made
of enormous steel drums and a friend’s near disaster last week -- in these very waters, in a very similar
boat, the chain plates failed and the rig nearly went over the side -- that played on his mind.
Badladz fubshine resort, puerto galera, mindoro, philippines
Bonbonon, with good holding in sand
and sheltered from the Easterlies. Less
than an hour later a strong wind decided
to try the West for a change and we were
pitching and rolling uncomfortably!
Thankfully it gradually dropped and gave
us a fairly peaceful night.
We left at 6.00am to ensure a
daylight arrival and had a wonderful
reaching sail, for the first nine miles,
across the bay and in ?at-water sheltered
by the mountains to windward. “This
is the life” we thought; we sent an SMS
message ordering lunch and cold beer to
be ready when we arrived!
We should have known better!
As we reached the seaward end of the bay, with about
15-miles to run, we saw white caps ahead and our peaceful
sail suddenly changed to crashing across the waves at nearly
8-knots . . . even though we had quickly rolled in the headsail
completely. Sea Feather sailed very well under main and
mizzen but we were taking plenty of water across the decks
with big waves throwing themselves into the cockpit every few
September 2007
minutes. Thank goodness the water was warm!
We endured this until the turn towards the entrance
at Bonbonon put the wind right ahead . . . again! I decided
to motor-sail with the wind just off the bow enough to keep
the sails filled. With our speed much reduced Sea Feather’s
gyrations lessened and we were managing about 3-knots
almost in the direction we wanted to go. We were content to
think we would get there in about three hours. We could do it:
we were ‘Sea Feather Sailors’. We even felt relaxed enough to
make a movie. The wind and seas gradually moderated and we
actually arrived in about two hours.
Three buoys have recently been laid at the seaward
end to mark the channel into Bonbonon, which reassuringly
confirmed my GPS entrance point. The marked channel
ended once inside and I nervously
tried to remember where the
channel was from the sketch map I
had seen. In fact, the only problem
we encountered was an anchor rope
?oating right across the channel
from a moored fishing boat. I cut
the motor and prayed . . . the rope
passed safely beneath us without
snagging anything. “Thank you
Mr Cheoy Lee” for your smooth
underwater design.
As we approached the
mooring buoy the wind was still
strong, but the water calm.
“Slowly does it Colin, just
hold her against the wind, just
nudge up to the buoy” – slowly,
Continued on page 11
Left: Sea Feather, two times Easter Regatta winner
Right: Mutual appreciation upon arrival – Gina
snapping Colin
Portofino resort, Lalaguna Beach, Puerto Galera, Mindoro, Philippines
nordic star, power boats, for sale
September 2007
especially as Nicky, the local guy who owns the moorings, is
between the boat and the buoy! “That’s it, right alongside,
pick it up Jimmy. You have it . . . great, but you can’t get it
aboard its too tight?” “Ok let go, going around again . . .
there, we missed all the other boats, let get it this time” . . .
Same problem “Get a rope through the eye…can’t do it!”...OK
third time lucky…”Bugger the engine has stopped!”
Skipper runs down below to restart; praying the wind
wouldn’t sweep us down onto the adjacent boat, which
was very close. Luck was with us and Sea Feather behaved
beautifully, “Let’s go around again. Rope ready? Get it through
and back on deck . . . Well done guys we are here!”
It is wonderful how the times of discomfort and worry
soon fade from memory but the feeling of achievement stays
proudly with you. I guess you have to go sailing to understand
Headwinds... continued from page 9
About the writer...
Colin Smith, currently lives in Balingasag, near Cagayan
de Oro, Mindanao with his 1st Mate Gina and Cabin Boy John.
They took possession of Sea Feather, a Cheoy Lee Offshore 41,
from long term owner David Endsley at Easter 2007 in Puerto
Galera. With the help of two old sailing friends who ?ew in from
Australia, they managed to win the PGYC Easter Regatta and the
Lindamans Cup, among mutterings of “Too generous a handicap”.
They then cruised to Busuanga and down to Bonbonon as
described in this article. He is planning to return to PG for the All
Souls Regatta in November knowing the handicap will be much
reduced, but still expecting to enjoy the experience, whatever the
He has a webpage www.magicmagicol.wordpress.com if you
want to contact him or learn more.
1st Mate Gina, Cabin Boy John and Skipper Colin
Learn To Fly, Clark Aviation, Pampanga, Philippines
Learn to scuba dive, ab wonderdive, lalaguna beach, puerto galera, mindoro, philippines
September 2007
The destructive tropical storms of 2006 wrought
havoc on the shallow reefs off the beaches of Sabang & the
two Lalagunas and elsewhere on the Southern shores of the
Verde Island Passage. Many coral areas were stripped of their
vibrant cloak of life, as the waves pounded a millennium of
communally-calcified cnidaria (a.k.a. coral; Greek = stinging
needles) growth to rubble while many corals in other areas
were broken, dislodged and tumbled.
Puerto Galera, like so many other tropical paradises,
primarily survives as a tourist destination because of: the coral
Build it and they will come:
Words by John Smart
Photos by Alice & Bjørn Askholm
In the 3rd dynasty of the Pharaohs (27th
century BC), in Egypt, pyramids started to be used
as the intended repositories of the dead “to aid the
king in the transition between his earthly functions
and the position which he was to assume amongst
the gods after death” (quote: W. Stevenson Smith);
pyramids of distant antiquity have been found in
Greece, Cyprus, Italy, India, Thailand, Mexico,
South America, U.S.A., Ukraine, Bosnia, Cuba
and various Pacific islands and almost all are
believed to have had a similar purpose -- to offer
sanctuary for the soul and to become the starting
point for rebirth into a new dimension. Now, in the
21st century AD, in Puerto Galera, AB Wonderdive
is using similar pyramid structures as places of
sanctuary, transition and rebirth of a different sort.
polyps that give sanctuary
to a full spectrum of sun-
loving, unicellular algae
(a.k.a. zooxanthellae)
and voraciously feed
on current-riding
microorganisms; the fish
that feed on the coral
polyps; the fish that feed
on the coral polyp-feeding fish and, the thousands of scuba
divers who come to imbibe the beautiful feast and capture it in
splendorous pixelation. Recognising this and the importance
of timeliness, and following advice from the Puerto Galera
Dive Association, Alice & Bjørn Askholm, the determined
Danes of AB Wonderdive, took affirmative action to restore
at least one part of the coral community, at the same time
expanding the variety of scuba diving attractions along the
crystal-clear currents
Below: “we want our
visitors . . . to enjoy the
Bottom left: Carefully
balanced on the dive boat
September 2007
Deviating from the arduous disciplines
of Egyptian pyramid making, Alice & Bjørn
recruited local metal workers and within three
days they completed two pyramids of steel at a cost of less
than US$200. On 21st July the pyramids were loaded onto a
boat and, about 200 metres off AB Wonderdive’s dive shop on
Small Lalaguna Beach, lowered to the sandy bottom close to
the existing damaged reef. The pyramids came to rest between
18 and 20 metres down, there to be infused by the life-
enabling, crystal-clear Verde Island Passage currents.
To the pyramids, sections of steel mesh have been added
to facilitate the attachment of broken (but still showing
viable life) coral pieces retrieved from damaged reef areas; the
structures are secured to the seabed by the weight of broken
coral clumps and concrete blocks. The expectation is that the
viable corals will revive & ?ourish, eventually covering the
steel frames and concrete blocks before the steel eventually
corrodes to nothing in the oxygen-rich, cobalt-blue water.
The exact timing of the pyramids’ demise as steel
structures is not clear – probably eight to ten years – but it
is hoped that by that time sufficient “stinging needles” will
have lain down their lives and communally-calcified, creating
sufficient mass and solidity such that, at the very least, the
pyramids may only partially collapse.
Assuming minimal collapse they will
offer a network of “chambers” and
crevices where fish will find sanctuary
and homeliness sufficient to confirm
the new reef’s significance, in place of
those that have been lost or damaged.
Bjørn says that he will probably
not stop at two pyramids, “if these
show results within the year then we
will add more” he asserts, “we want
our visitors and those from other dive shops to enjoy the
experience of watching them grow”.
Within a week (on 26th July) “pyramid reef” had already
accepted its first fishy residents so it looks as though Bjørn
may have to plan for more structures faster than he thought.
And as he pointed out, “these pyramids cost so little and
require so little effort the all the dive shops on all the beaches
could start their own programs”.
If you want to know more about the repopulation and
rejuvenation of Puerto Galera’s reef ecosystem then stay tuned
to the Cruiser News; in the next issue we hope to bring you
the story of one man’s passion to reintroduce the harmless (to
man) black-tip reef shark – only rarely seen off Puerto Galera
these past fifteen years.
If you want to watch the growth of “Pyramid Reef”
month-by-month then check out the “Artificial Reef Project
07” on the AB Wonderdive website (www.abwonderdive.com)
or, better still, book a dive with Bjørn & Alice, or any one of
the scores of other dive shops, and check out the Pyramid Reef
in real-time.
Left:No hard labour here; no Egyptians
Below: Within a week; first fishy residents
September 2007
The big news this year is that Australian surfing
equipment supplier, Billabong, has signed up to support the
international competition held at Cloud 9 on the island of
Siargao, Surigao del Norte, and the Cruiser News magazine
will be there to capture the action.
Due to Siargao’s unique location in the Philippines,
big swells from the Pacific Ocean roll in from the second
deepest stretch of water in the world to create flawless, hollow,
barrelling right-handers. Cloud 9 is considered to be one of
the ten best waves on the planet.
“Cloud 9 is one of the most perfect right hand reef
breaks”, said Chris James, General Manager South East Asia
for Billabong. “To invite 48 tube-riding specialists to a wave
of this calibre has serious potential to bring world class surfing
to South East Asia”.
Cloud 9 Beach Babes & Surf
From various sources Photo courtesy of Billabong
It seems that everyone has finally woken up
to the fantastic opportunity that only Pacific rollers offer
when it comes to surfing.
Surfing is the most awaited sports tourism activity in the
province. Started in 1995, it has now evolved into a world-
class and widely contested event.
In addition to an ever increasing number of experienced
Philippine surfers, the international line-up in 2007 includes
high profile surfers such as Mark Matthews (Maroubra, NSW,
AUS), Jamie O’Brien (Oahu, HAW), Manoa Drollet (Tahiti),
Dylan Longbottom (Gold Coast, AUS), Makua Rothman
(Oahu, HAW), Ryan Augenstein (California, USA), Luke
Dorrington (Gold Coast, AUS) and Asher Pacey (Gold Coast,
The seven-day Cloud 9 Invitational tournament will run
from Monday September 24th to Sunday September 30th.
The opening ceremony will be staged on Monday 24th with
competition commencing that day.
September 2007
The waters of the bay, splendid in their delicate veil of
early morning mist, enticed & invited and confirmed the sanity
of our decision to accept the invitation to participate in the 4th
Independence Day Regatta in Subic Bay.
Announcing our arrival at the Subic Bay Yacht Club we
found our skipper for the event, Dirk van Straalen, below decks
recovering or discovering a shackle within the inner-recesses
of The Judge (Peterson 33); Dirk’s wife, Wilma, was directing
herself above decks as we request permission to board. Stowing
our gear and checking the camera we were ready for the start of
a day of racing and photography.
We had not sailed in Subic Bay for almost a year and so
there was much to record as waves of development continue to
wash around the bay, the beaches and coves. The new shipping
terminal at Cubi Point is almost ready, with its orange & white
“Imperial Walker” (for the Star Wars fans) cranes poised to
heave fully-laden containers on and off trucks, to service the
burgeoning populations and industry of Central Luzon; the
Words by Martyn Willes Photos by Bernadette Willes (boats) and Martyn Willes (babes)
Leaving the beautifully-smooth North Luzon Expressway at the San Fernando (Pampanga)
exit in the early hours of Saturday morning, we cut across country along the cracked-concrete
arterial road towards Bataan, through how-long-can-we-hold-up-the-traffic-at-one-miniscule-
intersection Lubao before turning right through the three-wheel-capitol-of-the-Universe,
Dinalupihan. Finally, we arrive (all a little frazzled -- the car feels it too!) in the peace and
relative tranquility of Subic Bay Freeport.
September 2007
gargantuan Hanjin Heavy Industries
ship building facility, in the erstwhile
picturesque (and now raped) Barangay
Cawagon on the North shore near Subic
city, has had its typically Korean-blue
roof installed and looks ready to produce
mega-ships just as soon as they have
completed construction of the coal-
fired power station on the adjacent (and
similarly raped) promontory; and, the
project to refurbish and upgrade all of
the navigational buoys within the bay
has been completed, confirming the
new numbering system -- all-new steel
structures, bobbing green and red, with
brightly painted numbers in an attempt
to help the old-timers from getting
The Independence Day Regatta,
Subic Bay, was born out of the rampant
passion for sailing instilled in Jun Avecilla, combined with the
decades of sailing & racing experience of Peter Sharpe.
In 2004, following a successful recipe first used in Papua
New Guinea with the Wednesday Afternoon Gentlemen Sailors
(the “WAGS”), Peter Sharpe inspired Jun Avecilla, Jeremy
Simpson and Stan & Zeny Krug to engage in regular sailing
under the banner of the “Saturday Afternoon Gentlemen
Sailors”, with women sailors actively encouraged. The original
logo for SAGS depicts all four boats under spinnaker.
“SAGS” was born but it wanted to do more that
just entertain on Saturdays so in the same year the first
Independence Day Regatta was organized, to be attended by
just a few curious yachts and crew. The second event was more
competitive and national & international media reports in the
Continued on page 19
PGYC Email News and elsewhere ensured
that the message was delivered to other clubs
and potential event sponsors. The 2006 event
saw multiple entries from the Manila Yacht
Club with crews from the Puerto Galera Yacht
Club in attendance, and the regatta is now
established as a regular event on the Philippine
water sports calendar.
All good events, like all good stories,
entertain more when packed full of adventure,
glory and a liberal infusion of romance.
The Independence Day Regatta of 2007
had it all: great sailing breezes to challenge
the adventurous crews to excel, with faster
spinnaker hoists & drops and mark roundings;
glory and recognition for the winners in each
racing class on both days; and, for the first time
in Subic Bay, the attentions of a deluge of beauties from the
Mutya ng Filipinas pageant, housed deliberately-coincidentally
at the sponsoring Lighthouse Marina Resort.
As part of their fortnight long challenge, thirty of the
Region’s most beautiful women assisted in awarding trophies
to sometimes bashful skippers and crews at a party on Saturday
evening; on Sunday they were invited onto the yachts to pose
and chat, and to boost adrenalin before the start of a glorious
day of racing.
Unquestionably the invitation to the pageant contestants
to grace the yachts before the race brought a dimension of
spectacle that enlivened almost everyone. It was a master stroke
Previous Page: Lucky 7
Left:Kenneth Peralta aboard Punta de Uian
Selma Star passes the blue-roofed
Hanjin shipyard
The Haswell’s aboard Cloud IX
Ouch! Stilettos on deck – next year a deck shoe
first class hotel with swimming pool, lighthouse marina resort, subic bay, philippines
Beneteau, it
was a joyous
occasion for
more than one
reason: he was
applauded for
his yacht to
victory; he
was applauded
for delivering
the beauty of
Mutya ng Filipinas; and, he
was applauded for supporting
the SAGS group in their
ambition to make Subic
Bay the premier fun sailing
destination in the country.
By the middle of the
evening we reluctantly said
our goodbyes as the crews’ joie
de vivre bubbled around the
tables and we headed back to
There was a touch of
impending nostalgia in the
air, as we retraced our steps
through the now sleepy
Dinalupihan and Lubao,
for this may be the last
time we will travel this way. In November the new highway,
linking Clark to Subic, is due to open and, insomuch as it will
effectively be an extension of the North Luzon Expressway, there
will no longer be any need to suffer on the road Subic Bay.
September 2007
Achieving Independence... continued from page 17
of Jun Avecilla’s design to promote the event and one that
had the paparazzi in a frenzy along the boat docks [at the
end of an hour I had filled half a gigabyte with images
Peter Sharpe admitted that, “absolutely never in
my wildest dreams”, did he image that so many natural
beauties would come together for one of his events. Once
he had recovered his
composure somewhat
he went on to assert
that, “we at SAGS look
forward to next year when
we may be able to provide
a more colourful back-drop
for the beauty queens”.
For the crews who
had not performed at their
best on the Saturday, the
camera ?ashes and feverish
activity were motivation.
Aboard The Judge our crew,
which included two young
bucks from the Philippine
Merchant Marine Academy,
were fired up sufficiently
with enthusiasm and testosterone to claim a third place trophy
on the day.
By the time of the awards party that evening the Boat
House was humming with merriment the laughter. Even a
couple of protest hearings could not dampen the ardor of more
than a hundred sailors who knew that they had been part of a
milestone event. For Jun Avecilla, who had entered his brace of
Clockwise from Top Left: The original logo of SAGS – Selma, Shibumi,
Irresistible, Frantic; Jun Avecilla and crew had the cream of the crop; Peter
Sharpe aboard Selma beating off Shibumi’s challenge; Sorcerer slips past us
on the fresher breeze; Winners all: Jelle, Jeremy, Dirk, Ton, Jun, Martin &
Martin Jnr.; The new buoys, now clearly coloured and numbered .
sail makers, uk halsey sailmakers, philippines
marine chandlery, als marine, manila, philippines
September 2007
Dwarfed by the awesome size of the towering, original
crater walls the Taal Lake Yacht Club lies serenely secluded on
the North shore. The shaded car park and neatly manicured
lawns are abuzz with sailors and their families as they prepare
for the Malaysia Merdeka Regatta, sponsored by the Embassy
of Malaysia in Manila, in celebration of Malaysia’s Nationhood
– independence from the British.
Words by John Smart Photos by Martyn Willes
Just an hour and a half from Manila the volcano awaits, menacing the horizon with its
primeval stare. Along its shores the scores of boatmen encourage the adventurous to take a ride
across the crater-lake and then climb the sides of the “new” volcano to gaze amazed at the still
hot springs and bubbling mud.
The breeze that had all but deserted the volcano for the
past three weeks returned with a vengeance, delivering gusts of
15-knots atop an otherwise moderate 12 and increasing as the
morning session unfolded. The day was fast and furious and,
with members of the Philippine Olympic Team and Hobie
Challenge winners among the crews, the competition was no
less fierce.
September 2007
Today was primarily a Hobie 16
day but that did not stop a plucky ten-
year-old, Alannah Symes, taking out her
Optimist dinghy and roughing it out
in the stiff breeze with the significantly
larger and faster catermans . . . she
is planning to race in Hong Kong in
September and maybe with the national
squad later in the year.
The first race was more of a warm
up it appeared and the ?eet was almost
line-astern at the start; first blood to the
Philippine Olympic Team – the only
ones completely focused on victory. In
the second race the ?eet was much closer
but still the Olympic team came out on
Lunch was a time to regroup and massage tired arms as
much a time to eat, and club Commodore, Peter Capotosto,
set about finding alternative crew, because he claimed the
front of the boat was just too light for
the strengthening winds. He cajoled the
weightier and always smiling Renie “the
Rammer” Ticzon to be his crew for the
afternoon session, dismissing the Rammer’s
history of capsizes on the presumption
that Peter’s superior helmsmanship would
counter any errors at the jib. How wrong he
was – with the afternoon breezes touching
20-knots, in the three closing races they
capsized in every one. Despite this, Peter
claimed an overall third place trophy when the final tally was
Ray Ordoveza arrived to assist Eva Carmona, of Tourism
Previous Page: The Philippine Team to windward
Top Left: Winners: Eric Tomacruz (2nd), Allan
Balladares (1st), Peter Capotosto (3rd) sandwiched
between Ray Ordoveza and Eva Carmona (Tourism
Top Right: Out on her own and Optimistic
Left: Skippers briefing, prospect of good breeze
scuba diving, puerto galera, mindoro, philippines
Malaysia, at the prize giving. Aboard his yacht Karakoa, Ray
has masterminded campaigns around Asia and in particular
has twice won outright the Raja Muda International Regatta
-- Malaysia’s annual premier sailing event.
By the time the sun slipped below the rim of the volcano,
the experienced & the novice had had their fill of the breeze.
After the trophies had been awarded and a few beers consumed
the talk turned to the next big out-of-Taal event on the sailing
calendar: the All Souls Regatta in Puerto Galera, 2nd through
4th November.
The Hobie 16 ?eet from Taal Lake have joined the All
Souls Regatta in two of the previous three years. This year they
will be looking to increase their presence and possibly fill their
fifteen-boat container for the short trip down the mountain
to Batangas, from where they will launch their assault on the
Verde Island Passage and the glory of victory in Puerto Galera.
The Taal Lake Yacht Club is home to the largest Hobie
16 ?eet in the Philippines but they also have an active ?eet of
dinghies and other craft, and they offer sailing lessons in all
types of small boat. For further information visit their website
at www.tlyc.com
September 2007
Left: Renie “the rammer” Ticzon brings her home
Front Cover: Taal Lake Hobies ready for launch
sailing events, all souls regatta, puerto galera, mindoro, philippines

September 2007
Continued on page 28
The Makati Executive of the dynamic, recently formed
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Keith Harris, a Brit, was
to blame for the course based in PG. He was the instigator,
conductor and willing participant in the three days of
structured-mayhem whose concoction included - navigation
exercises; research; company business; pocket talks; team
bonding; and days of fun in the sun.
He was indeed sailing close to the wind, and close to
blame, for putting his team of technicians in the noose on this
particular Friday. The NSN mix of 15 Philippine graduates,
five Finns and a Zealander were handed over to the sailing
youth of the PGYC. Mostly uninitiated adults, these urban
dwellers soon found themselves at the capable mercy of the
local teenagers who have mastered the art and science of
Words by Bruce Curran
Photos by Kevin Hamdorf
Ten knots of wind, nine dinghies and 21
urbanites mingled at the waters edge that fine
morning in early May. It was a fateful one for the
group, part-and-parcel of their 3-day Team Building
Course based in Puerto Galera (“PG”). A package
laced together closely with the inventive minds of the
travel gurus that make up the core of the company
Banca Safaris.
sailing; youngsters who have been winning races around the
Nine dinghies powered up and down, creating waves of
all sizes in the brisk winds of the day, some going sideways,
some bobbing upside down, but all making ounces of progress
during the morning session of learning. The local sailors spent
a couple of hours turning a mangled bag of tortured spaghetti
manoeuvres into some semblance of miraculous order on the
water. Somehow, all nine dinghies made it back to the sandy
starter beach.
Twenty-one urban folk lay in the sand wondering, wet
and woeful. The local sailors had taken on a handful of the
uninitiated, and a bunch of technicians had been through
something quite original, definitively unique, and spontaneous,
braving new methodology in a world of new demands. Many
illusions must have blown away in the cobwebs of their minds,
and a brave PGYC youth had patiently passed on a set of
new skills that they themselves have mastered through time,
determination and perseverance.
The afternoon was a different kettle of fish, with seven
of the NSN team electing to race each other around an
Banka Safaris’ banka patiently waits for the games to begin
marine chandlery, rope, braids, sheets, donaghys, broadwater marine, Subic, Cebu, Manila, Philippines
Scuba diving, beeach resort, lalaguna beach, puerto galera, mindoro, philippines
September 2007
open course, laid out by the PGYC
expert instructors, under the overall
supervision of the PGYC Commodore,
Peter Stevens, another Brit. Three races
saw two dinghies crewed by absolute
novices while two others were boarded
by partial sailors who soon became
arch rivals in a race to the finish. The
novices managed to complete all three
races, which was an achievement in
itself, However, it was the fierce but
friendly rivalry of a ?ying Finn versus
a New Zealander which had the
shoreline crowd of technicians cheering
and jeering.
The Finn romped over the line
first in race 1 and 2, but in the last
and final race it was neck-to-neck and
hull-to-hull as the boats ran downwind
directly for the line. Two buoys on the
water marked the finishing gate, and
the two dinghies were clashing side by
side. The Finn was seen to be nudging
the Zealander away from the line,
then broke away to head for home.
The Finn crossed the line first but was
awarded a ‘toad-purse’ for his suspect
sportsmanship in race 3. However, it
has to be said, he was very proud of his
Mangyan Beer Holder ‘cup’ awarded
for his clean wins in 1 and 2.
The morning and afternoon
sessions were worthy of note for all
involved. None of it would have
happened without the PGYC youth
sailing team, who gave up their time
to teach a set of new tricks to a bunch
of city dwellers who didn’t know the
front end of a boat from the sheet end.
Everyone came away with something
useful that could be thrown into the
cauldron of life’s experiences.
The Makati Executive, the
Filipinos, the ?ying Finns and the
Nokia... continued from page 26
Ten Knots, nine dinghies waiting for 21 urbanites
scuba diving, technical diving, el galleon, asia divers, puerto galera, mindoro, philippines
September 2007
Zealander had had a day to
remember, part of a Team
Building course of distinction.
They all had to admit that “they
came, they sailed, and they
conquered.” Well at least, they
all “had fun, got wet and had at
least one go!”
The PGYC youth have
apparently recovered from their
ordeal, and are ready and willing
to take on the next intake of city
landlubbers. They are well worth
the effort.
The advise is…”book, go,
and get wild in PG”…yes, you
might get wet, but will come
away with a pocket full of new
skills and no regrets.
From Top to Bottom: They came in pairs to learn new
skills; (Top Inset) Simon Josey (The Kiwi) Tapio Mankela
(The Flying Finn); Suspect sportsmanship but fun all
round; They had fun, got wet and had at least one go
The Romblon Island group comprises three main
islands – Romblon, Sibuyan and Tablas – plus thirty small
islets; Romblon has always been a difficult place to get to
Information from Hank Baas
& Jeremy Goldblatt and other sources
Photos by Jeremy Goldblatt
Romblon Island/town moorings:
Barangay Capaclan
12° 34’956”N, 122° 16’234”E;
Barangay Benagong
12° 34’.815”N, 122° 15’.872”E
“Romblon” is a province, a group of
islands, an island and a town. Confused? Don’t
worry, which ever part you arrive at, it is all
beautiful and in many ways the most spectacular
destination in Asia; it offers more natural wonder
and diversity, within so small an area, than any
other cruising destination.
for conventional travellers because there are no scheduled
commercial ?ights and the ferry services are few and slow. The
benefit is that the attractions of Romblon have been spared the
unrelenting and often haphazard tourism development evident
in such destinations as Puerto Galera and Boracay; Romblon
Province survives with its culture and way of life intact. For
the cruising yachtsman the opportunity, to enjoy the special
charms of a self-entertaining island community, is extensive
September 2007
Girl in Pre-colonial ceremonial dress, Ati-atihan Fiesta, Romblon
power boats, speed boats, for sale, manila, subic bay, cebu, puerto galera, philippines

September 2007
and rich in rewards.
Sibuyan, less than ten
miles southeast of Romblon
Island, is nicknamed the
Galapagos of Asia, and
features ?ora & fauna found
nowhere else on the planet.
The island is proclaimed as
the world’s densest forest.
In one survey the National
Museum identified, in a
single hectare, 1,551 trees comprising 123
species, of which 54 were endemic. Orchids
abound as do other vascular plant species;
Nepenthes sibuyanensis, a pitcher plant species,
is endemic as its scientific name suggests. There
are 131 species of birds that share the skies with
ten species of fruit bat; the plethora (nobody
knows quite how many) of land-dwelling
mammals, reptiles, and rodents include at least
five species of mammals that are endemic.
Mount Guiting-guiting, rises over 2,000 metres
and is the focus of the Sibuyan National Park.
East of Romblon Island lays Tablas
Island, the largest geographically and the most
populated island in Romblon Province. With
its laid-back people and
simple way of life, this
lush and mountainous
island also has a lot
to offer. Lapus-Lapus
Beach is a gorgeous place
to anchor for the night
if traveling along the
west coast – surrounded
by limestone cliffs and
crystal clear waters, this
area is accessible only
by boat and guarantees
a good night’s rest. A
few hours south is the
commercial center of
Odiangan – a good spot
to re-supply and check
your email (if you need to pop back into
In the small group of islands of
Banton, Maestro de Campo, and Simara,
known to locals as maghali (relatives),
you are certain to be welcomed with open
arms. For self-supported divers, Maestro de
Campo offers several wrecks and is teeming
with large schools of snapper, trevally and
tuna; dolphins regularly patrol and pods of
200 animals are not uncommon; the harbor
at the Port of Concepcion is well sheltered
for safe overnight anchorage.
To most people Romblon Island, and
thus Romblon town, is synonymous with
Right: Romblon town & pier
looking West
Below: The crystal clear Cantingas
River, Sibuyan
scuba diving, pool, billiards, open 24 hours, big apple dive resort, sabang beach, puerto galera, philippines
September 2007
marble. Indeed the marble industry ?ourishes here and makes
use of the abundant mineral resource. The combination of
resource availability and indigenous artistic skills has spawned
a world renowned and intrinsically exquisite craft industry.
Built by the Spanish in the 17th century, visitors can
wander the narrow streets of Romblon town and take in
the sights of St. Joseph Cathedral and Fort San Andres.
The town’s markets are abundant with fresh fish and
meats; vegetables are plentiful. The most spectacular
community event is the Romblon Ati-Atihan Fiesta,
which occurs annually in the second week of January.
A small expatriate community has fueled the demand
for imported foods, which are now available in several
local supermarkets. Home to several beach and
mountain resorts, visitors are almost guaranteed their
own personal piece of nature here.
For those staying on their boats, moorings have
been strategically placed to offer protection from
both the southwest and northwest monsoon, and
have been situated close enough to the town so that a
short dinghy ride will bring you to markets and other
facilities. Mooring fees are extremely reasonable at Php50 per
night (about US$1); the proceeds benefit local communities.
With an ample supply of the coldest beer in a 100-mile radius,
visitors tend to get stuck here longer than planned!
Payment for mooring fees can be left at either, the
Republica Restaurant or, the Romblon Deli, but it is essential
to inform the staff it is “mooring fee money” otherwise it will
Left:Secluded Lapus-Lapus beach, Tablas, at sunrise
Middle: Approximate mooring locations sheltered from NE & SW
Bottom:Quite possibly the World’s first marble moorings
Trojan Batteries, marine batteries, generators, Kilton Motor, Makati, manila, philippines
end up in the tip jar. Each mooring is marked by a dark
blue 20-litre drum.
There is no manned marine radio service in
Romblon; local residents, Hank Baas (+63 920 248
5668) and Dennis Shepard (+63 918 247 9941), have
offered their cell phone numbers if you want to make
prior arrangements or ask for additional information.
Note: the moorings are not considered to be typhoon
safe; the nearest typhoon bolt-holes are at Port Batan
(Panay Island), West Looc Bay (Tablas Island), North
Balanakan Bay (Marinduque Island).
Romblon harbour is deep and good anchorages
for yachts are few except in depths of 25 metres or
more. There are three private moorings in the harbour
and often one or more of these will be available.
If you are not aboard a cruising yacht but still
want to discover this quiet and special group of islands
then you can travel to Romblon from Batangas and
Manila ports.
Getting here: Montenegro Shipping has regular
trips on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, from
Batangas at 17:00 hrs (5 pm), stopping in Odiangan,
Tablas, then Romblon Island, returning the following
day; MBRS Shipping from Manila direct to Romblon
Island leaving Pier 8, North Harbor, Manila,
Wednesday 17:00 hrs (5 pm), return leaves Romblon
town on Friday, 20:00 hrs (8 pm).
For the current list of Yacht Friendly Moorings
in the Philippines visit the our website’s Cruising
Information page at www.pgyc.org/cruising.
Above: Romblon-life is timeless and wondrous
Right: The peak of Mt. Guiting-Guiting, Sibuyan National Park
September 2007
hotel, swimming pool, manila, philippines
bar, restaurant, 24 hours, ermita, manila, philippines
scuba diving, wreck diving, Captn Greggs dive resort, sabang beach, puerto galera, philippines