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Date Posted: 09/30/09

Departing Looc for Boracay (Sept 28)

By: Arturo Valdez

We woke up early Sept 28 and look up at the skies. There is a low ceiling of dark rain clouds just above our heads blown by the Habagat. Looc Cove is calmer now but outside the cove, white caps dotted the open seas. Earlier, I gave the instructions to get ready upon the exit of Typhoon Ondoy. I am quite concerned of a developing LPA in the Pacific that might develop into a full blown tropical cyclone. We were in Looc already for 4 days and if I cannot make the most of a narrow window of improved weather, I might get stuck here for another few days. After a quick breakfast we drove towards Alcantara together with Mayor Juliet Ngo-Fiel, our generous hosts. At the shoreline, we were enthusiastically met by Alcantara Mayor Ramon B. Galicia giving us a crash lessons on the historical importance of Alcantara while the crew was getting ready the Balangay.

Mayor Galicia was very insistent to show us the memorials of the Battle of Sibuyan Sea, purportedly the biggest naval battle in history between the US and Japan, marked by the sinking of battleship Mushashi, the sister ship of Yamato, the biggest battleship in history. This was followed by a quick tour of the town center and the municipal hall.

Meanwhile, I asked Captain Ferdinand Velasco of PCG SAR 3502 to come ashore to confer with him sea condition on his way to Alcanntara from Romblon. The water was not as rough as our Concepcion - San Agustin experience. That was the cue that I need to move on.

By 9AM we were on our way to Boracay. The seas were quite rough but not as bad as the previous days. Between Tablas and Carabao islands, the current was easterly while the wind was southwesterly. I am quite concerned on the condition of the upper planks that I have to beach the boat for a damage check upon reaching Boracay.

At 1:30PM near Boracay I was met by PCG rubber boat directing us to proceed to Fairways and Bluewaters. Then suddenly about 2 dozens of swift “Paraws” appeared, sailed and surrounded “Diwata” providing a colorful entourage towards the shorelines of Fairwasy. This time the wind was blowing hard and the swift “Paraws” glided all around the Balangay. Not to be outdone, “Diwata” also sprinted with sails fully loaded, racing breast-to-breast with welcoming “Paraws” showing to the smaller sail boats the character and swiftness of a once-feared marauding sea craft. (see attached pictures and video).What a beautiful sight to behold, “Diwata” giving it all, for once in the company of others sailing boats but pushing herself
hard for  fear of being left behind.

By 2PM we dropped anchor and were met by Boracay LGU’s and Fairways executive Ike Guanio Some of the welcoming “Paraws” had a welcome signs emblazoned in their sails, courtesy of Mayor Cawaling of Malay town.

After the usual welcome pleasantries, we had lunch and got our room accommodations. In the evening, Mayor Cawaling hosted a sumptuous dinner for the Balangay and PCG SAR 3502 crew. Having eaten more than the normal we thought of walking all the way to the Long Beach and to treat the departing Captain Velasco and his crew for a drink.

It was quite a sight and experience especially to the Badjaos who have heard but never have seen the paradise island of Boracay. We walked the empty long stretch of the long beach (its still off season) and the crew like really “promdis” marveled at the glitters of Boracay.

We bid farewell and our profuse thanks to PCG SAR 3502 for escorting us from Calatagan, Batangas to Boracay. Earlier during the first days of sailing, the Navy and BFAR 1104 were also around to provide support.

Without them, we would have been blown somewhere else and would not reach Boracay at this time.

At 2PM of Sept 28, after going thru typhoons Labuyo, Maring, Nando and Ondoy we finally made it in Boracay since departing the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Sept 1.


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