16 April 2015

Subic yachting group gifts Ayta tribe with tourism boats

The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) through its grants program has donated two sailboats to the indigenous Ayta tribe in this free port in order for them to earn additional income from tourism.

IYFR International Rear Commodore Jun Avecilla said the group awarded funds to the Subic Bay Fleet for them to acquire two “paraws,” which are double outrigger sailboats native to the Visayas region that are popularly seen in Boracay.

Ayta leader Conrado Frenilla, chieftain of the Ambala Ayta tribe in the Subic Bay Freeport, received the boats last Saturday at the culmination of the Commodores’ Cup Regatta at The Lighthouse Marina Resort here.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia, along with members of the IYFR Subic Bay fleet, Rotary Clubs of Subic Bay and Subic Pearl, and the ISAF International Jury of Commodores’ Cup Regatta, witnessed the event.

Garcia said the boats, with Ayta tribesmen as operators, “will give Subic Bay another iconic attraction, as well as provide visitors with a different sailing experience.”

“We thank the IFYR and the Rotary Clubs for giving this opportunity to our Ayta brethren, as well as for this project that would redound to the good of Subic Bay tourism,” Garcia said.

Avecilla said the Subic Bay Fleet brought the sailboats to Subic Bay to help the Zambales Aytas in augmenting their livelihood, “and in line with the service objectives of the Fellowship.”

“The Aetas are not known seafarers, but they have in early times been reported to have lived in coastal areas until they were driven away to the mountains because of circumstances,” Avecilla noted.

“It will be the pleasure of our sailing group, the Saturday Afternoon Gentlemen Sailing (SAGS), to teach them how to sail or operate and man the boats themselves,” he added.

Avecilla also pointed out that staging of Commodore’s Cup 2015 marked the expansion of the Philippine Sailing Association’s sailing program in Subic Bay, which is spearheaded by PSA Chairman Judes Echauz, with himself as vice president.

“The IYFR also advocates the preservation of coastal areas and the environment and to maintain its cleanliness,” Avecilla also said.

As of now, Subic Bay hosts two out of 12 races from the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship, which determines the Asian Yachting Skipper and Yacht of the Year.

Those who received their awards here at The Lighthouse Marina Resort for this year’s races were: Standard Insurance Centennial III owned by Ernesto Echauz and skippered by Ridgely Balladares, which dominated Racing Class 1, followed by Frank Pong’s Jelik, and Martin Tanco’s Centennial II.

Meanwhile, Avecilla’s Selma Star topped Racing Class 2, followed by Ricky Sandoval’s Selma; and Eric Jurado’s Alexa, emerged as champion in the Cruising Class, followed by Harry Taylor’s Irresistible, and Ome Carbonell’s Bugo Bugo. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

Pastolan Ayta leaders led by Ambala tribal chieftain Conrado Frenilla (2nd from right) with Jun Avecilla of the Saturday Afternoon Gentlemen Sailing (SAGS) during the ceremonial turnover of “paraws” donated by the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)