A Paraw is a traditional Visayan double outrigger sailboat that were originally used for fishing and transport of goods and people to sail between the islands. It takes at least two people to sail it. Paraw sailing is one of the most popular water activity in Boracay and is a great and inexpensive way to explore many beaches and snorkel site around the islands.
The Subic Sailing Club (SSC) in partnership with the Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation (LMRLF) is currently restoring the under utilised Paraw that was donated to the Aytas in Pastolan by theInternational Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR). The two Paraw boats were formally turned over during the culmination of the 2015 Commodore’s Cup Regatta held at the Lighthouse Marina Resort by the members of the IYFR together with the chairman of the Subic Sailing Club a.k.a. Saturday Afternoon Gentlemen Sailors (SAGS), Mr. Jun Avecilla, who was also then the Commodore of the IYFR.
In line with the recent closure of Boracay Island, a total of 160 Paraw boats operating in Boracay has ceased its operation. “Mahirap ngayon maghanap-buhay sa Boracay. May mga ilang paraw operator lumipat sa ibang lugar gaya ng Palawan. Yung iba naman, dito sa main land nagoperate ng paraw kaso minsan walang kita kasi kulang pala ang tourista. Yung iba naman nabigyan ng trabaho ng Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) sa Boracay kaso hindi sapat ang kita para sa isang pamilya. (It is hard to find livelihood in Boracay nowadays. There are some paraw operators who transferred to other places like Palawan. Some are operating their paraw here in the mainland but sometimes there is no income because there is not enough tourists. There are some who were given jobs by DOLE in Boracay but the income is not enough for a family.)” said Dino Alcesto, a local of Aklan who operates a Paraw in Boracay together with his relatives. Because of the said issue of Boracay, the Alcesto family have seek the help of the SSC and hope to find a source of livelihood in Subic Bay while Boracay is being restored.
February this year, the SSC cancelled their annual Subic Bay to Boracay Race as an expression of support to the alarming environmental concerns in Boracay Island that was then raised by no other than the President of the Republic of the Philippines. “Our heart goes out to all the Paraw sailors in Boracay. We hope that these people will soon be able to cope up with this unfortunate event.” said Zed Avecilla,Executive Director of the SSC. In the meantime, the Subic Sailing Club has decided to provide work to Dino and his relatives. “Dino is one of our crew when we compete in the Subic Bay to Boracay Race. We are very happy to have him here in Subic Bay together with his team who has been helping us expedite the repairs of the two Paraw boats. The visitors and local community will be able to enjoy sailing in these boats in Subic Bay, very soon.”Avecilla added.
According to Dino, on a regular day in Boracay, he used to go out 5-7 times on his Paraw and goes further up during holidays or when cruise ships visits the island. In relation, the Subic Bay Freeport has recently been hosting regular visits of international cruise ships this year and will continue until the end of the year bringing in thousands of tourists in each visit. “The Paraw will surely accord tourists visitors in Subic Bay a joyful and different sailing experience in a renowned native boat and at the same time give Subic Bay another unique attraction and the distinction to be the first province in Luzon to bring the iconic sailboat in this part of the country.” said Zed Avecilla who is also the Executive Director of the LMRLF and organizer of the International Coastal Cleanup Zambales. “Also as advocates for the preservation of our coastal areas and environment, we hope that these Paraw will not only be a great attraction but also a means to raise environmental awareness and appreciation to our oceans.” Avecilla added.
Moreover, the SSC sees this Paraw program as an opportunity to provide jobs and livelihood to the surrounding community particularly with the Aytas through its partnership with the Subic Indigenous People Assistance Group (SIPAG). “We are still positive that we will be able to encourage our Ayta community to use these paraw not only for tourists but also for fishing. However, we are also opening doors to any local person who is interested to learn. Part of the plan is also see if we can locally produce these boats. We can do some modification and combine it with the modern fibreglass technology.” said Avecilla.
The SSC is indeed keeping true to their word in promoting sailing and maritime heritage in our beloved country. “We believe its high time that we bring these traditional boats here in this region. Zambales and Bataan are coastal provinces that can benefit from these boats. Come and try out the Paraw boats here in Subic Bay and feel the adrenaline of sailing in these traditional Filipino boats.” said Avecilla. Portions of the proceeds will be donated to LMRLF for projects helping the indigenous people in the area and also the Paraw operators who have lost their jobs in the recent Boracay closure. The Paraw is available at the Lighthouse Marina Resort jetty area. You may also call (047) 252-5000 for more details.