With it being traditionally a sport for the rich, famous and fabulous, sailing does not get widespread and main stream attention and patronage from the general public here in the Philippines
Also, only those people with enough disposable cash participate in the sport whether amateur and professional, given the staggering cost of catamarans, kayaks and other sailboats.
It is therefore a huge understatement when I say that I was ecstatic and hyperventilating when I found out that I was in fact attending a regatta (a competition of either rowed or sailed boats) of the Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Foundation (PHINSAF) in Pico de Loro Cove.
This was just the second time that PHINSAF staged its regatta in Hamilo Coast, the first being in 2008.
The Pico de Loro activity was actually the first leg of what is envisioned to be a 7-leg 2011 Regatta Travelers series by PHINSAF. The foundation, a non-stock, non profit body composed of amateurs sailors in the country, intends to hold the remaining legs in other key sailing areas such as Anilao, Batangas, Subic and Cebu among others.
I had the opportunity to talk to Monchu Garcia, the chairman of PHINSAF and he believes that it is high time for sailing to be a popular sporting activity in the Philippines. In the first place, the country has long been considered as the “Caribbean of Asia” because of the country’s perfect sailing conditions, according to him.
“We just wanted to re-introduce sailing to Filipinos,” he said.
Rona Torres-Tan, Senior Vice President of the Costa del Hamilo Inc. meantime said that the leisure development is throwing its support to sailing.
“This event is a means for us to show the world our support for the sport of sailing. Through the regatta, Hamilo Coast seeks to show how it will define and redefine the coastal lifestyle in the Philippines,” Torres-Tan stressed.
I already witnessed a regatta in Hong Kong and I had something to compare it to.
Fortunately, the 12 teams of mostly foreign sailors lived up to expectation with the colorful boats They can be compared to the Zamboanga vintas, which are also as colorful.
Each of the boat’s sails were filled with logos of various companies supporting or sponsoring them so you somehow, you realize that there is really something big at stake in this kind of competition.
From the shore, it’s interesting to see how the sailors and their partners at the helm were able to conquer waves and set out to the open sea but as they get farther and farther from the cove, you can barely see them and you tend to miss out on some of the action.
Hamilo Coast was accommodating enough to take members of the media close to the actual competition through a spectator boat, which followed the course of the two-day competition.
Rough waves during the first day prevented most from getting on the spectator boat and the 12 participating teams actually had difficulties.
But the weather conditions improved during the second day providing perfect sailing conditions.
Overall, I was thrilled to have witnessed this kind of sporting event again and just like Monchu, I do hope that this sports gets its share of popularity and support from the public.