Exploring the Philippines by Paraw

Adventures around the Philippines on ‘Flash’- a traditional outrigger sailboat.

Mar 4, 2016

I’ve often sailed in San Francisco Bay and longingly wondered what it must have been like to have been there as an explorer a couple hundred years ago. To see hilltops still covered in trees, untouched beaches, small settlements with …

Feb 23, 2016

We left Coron in mid-February to sail down to El Nido. 9 days on the water with some odd winds…. what should have been a downwind trip was often a beat as north winds wrapped around Culion. It was also …

Feb 20, 2016

The last week has been tough. Amazing, but tough. On facebook I will soon be able to post phenomenal photos. 9 days on the water, five of us, camping on empty beaches. The scenery has been incredible. The sunsets majestic. Crystal …

Feb 9, 2016

Brendan came out from SF to visit and with Alex, Susie and Rey we took Flash for some adventures to see the west side of the Coron channel.

Our initial plan was to circumnavigate Busuanga and visit Apo Reef, but …

Jan 15, 2016

After our first trial sail, we loaded up Flash in preparation for a day trip to one of the local beaches. With new crew volunteers picked up from travellers the bar, we set off for an adventure that didn’t last …

Jan 5, 2016

Boat projects always take longer than you think: You start taking undoing lines to investigate problems, the crack is bigger than expected so you pull it apart, then you see another crack and before you know it, the boat is …

Dec 25, 2015

Flash has spent the summer at anchor and under the watchful eye of the fantastic people at the Discovery Island Resort. We weren’t really sure how it would fare, but I was delighted to come back and find Flash …

Mar 7, 2015

We arrived in Coron with a great deal of anticipation. We had expected this to be the mid-way point on our journey, but it turned out to be the end. We all had jobs to return to; we all wished …

Mar 6, 2015

We spent our last evening on a beautiful beach across the water from Coron. Our arrival was testament to our improved teamwork, and experience passing over reefs before the beach: Oliver at the helm, a slow approach, myself up forward …

Mar 4, 2015

The next day, we had only to sail about 5 miles south before we passed a small craggy island off the main island of Coron with another beautiful beach. In a lazy mood and with plenty of food and water …

Mar 3, 2015

After a night in Ambulong and a rest-day to provision in San Jose, we were ready to attempt our longest open water passage: the crossing to Palawan.

We set off early at 5am with light winds out of the east, …

Mar 2, 2015

Guest post from Jonathan

After we embarrassingly crash landed our way over the reef to the town of Ambulong, we pushed the boat up onto the beach and watched as a curious crowd slowly gathered. While our landing was surely …

Mar 1, 2015

The journey across the Tablas strait left us all dreadfully sunburned and exhausted. The San Miguel beer at Tambaron Island Resort gave us chance to assess the day. Oliver’s feet glowed red and swollen, I walked around like a penguin …

Feb 27, 2015

In retrospect, we left Sibalon fairly late at 9am. The best time to travel here is early morning and late afternoon. But by the time we headed out for the second half of our voyage across the Tablas Strait, the …

Feb 26, 2015

One of the biggest potential flaws in our plan has been that the most challenging part of the trip, crossing the Tablas strait, was right at the beginning.

The Tablas strait is 35 miles of open water between Tablas and …

Feb 25, 2015

After two hectic days of sail practice and boat preparation, we’re winding into our final preparation phase and getting ready for a departure tomorrow.

Yesterday Flash started coming together. We bent on the sails, improved the tramp, added our new …

Feb 25, 2015

I came here last week looking for a boat and not knowing anyone. I managed to find a boat, but what I didn’t expect to find was so many warm and generous people willing to give their time and energy …

Feb 24, 2015

The rest of the team arrived late Sunday evening after an equally long flight via Taipei and Manila.

After a solid breakfast of eggs and sausages and mango smoothies we headed over to check on our boat. Since I last …

Feb 22, 2015

Quite by coincidence I planned this trip at the same time as the Iloilo Paraw Regatta.

Iloilo is the largest city on the island of Panay, about five hours drive from Caticlan, and this regatta has been going on for …

Feb 21, 2015

There are now a lot of variables up in the air, and any one of them could sink this plan… quite literally.

One of our biggest risks is weather. From Boracay, we must sail west into open sea and the …

Feb 21, 2015

Life is much different here.

It’s been a while since I last travelled, and it’s a long overdue refresher on how lucky I really am.

My relative wealth provides a needed reality check. Back home, it’s easy to feel like …

Feb 19, 2015

Boat prep is coming along. It’s had a fresh lick of paint in the last 24 hours.

I met the name-painter this morning, so we had to make a quick decision on the name. The team has been feeding ideas …

Feb 18, 2015

The big question for today is what to name our new boat!

That’s right, We will soon be the proud owner of a class-A Paraw.

The logistical challenge of getting the boats back from Palawan was making rental a difficult …

Feb 17, 2015

I didn’t sail south to Iloilo. While it sounded like fun, my skin is not ready for 12 hours in the tropical sun. I also have a job to do, and that job is to get some boats.

I walked …

Feb 15, 2015

It turns out there’s only one reason that single guys come to Boracay, and apparently it isn’t to rent a sailing boat to Palawan. I’ve given up trying to explain it to everyone, and if I don’t come back to …

Feb 8, 2015

I started throwing the idea around in early December, and I’m incredibly lucky that by early January six of my friends were asking me when they should book their tickets.

I’ll now admit to being quite surprised that anyone would …

Feb 2, 2015

This idea has been many years in the making.

I first visited the Philippines many years ago with my bicycle and as I looked out from land at all the islands off in the distance, it didn’t take me too …

Flash
A Visayan Paraw

Flash is a traditional outrigger sailboat, known in the Philippines as a 'Paraw' - Sail power has mostly fallen out of style and so we draw a fair amount of attention wherever we go.

We bought 'Flash' near Boracay island where there is a thriving community of traditional sailors still alive and serving the tourist market.

Where next?

In March 2015 we sailed Flash over to the Calamian islands of norhern Palawan; a seven day journey from Boracay.

In early 2016, I took a couple months to explore more of Busuanga, Linapacan, the El Nido area and northern Palawan. I barely scratched the surface.

If you're interested in joining for part of the next journey, send me a note

Iloilo Paraw Regatta in 2017?

The Iloilo Paraw Regatta brings together a hundred Paraws in a multi-day event that is a ton of fun. It has crossed my mind that it would be a good laugh to enter Flash in this race. If you enjoy racing, and think you could hack it on a traditional boat, get in touch!

Studying the reefs...

I'm also using Flash as a platform to learn more about the state of the reefs and marine health in the Philippines. In our last trip, it was hard not to notice that there wasn't much life on some of the reefs - remarkable in an area renowned for it's marine diversity. I'll also be looking into ways to contribute.