Our Story

REVIVING A RELIC OF FILIPINO CULTURE

The Balangaw, a small paraw.

The idea for the Palawan paraw came from three guys – Gener Paduga, Jack Foottit and Eddie Brock. Gener is a passionate sailor who used to run expeditions on a small paraw around Honda Bay in central Palawan. Jack and Eddie run Tao Philippines an extraordinary travel adventure company based in northern Palawan [El Nido and Coron].

The paraw project was launched to keep the tradition of sailing alive in Palawan.  In steep decline since engines became widely available in the 1970s, much local knowledge of sailing, natural navigation and paraw building is now on the brink of disappearing.

Gener, whose father and grandfather were both boat captains, is teaching local youth sailing and navigational techniques. His aim is to rekindle Palawan’s bygone sailing tradition, an intricate part his culture.

“A return to sailing makes sense – our marine environment is under threat and fuel prices are rising.  Learning to sail again will help Palawenos escape dependence on gasoline and diesel while, at the same time, fostering a deeper understanding and respect for the sea.” Gener Paduga

Gener found two master carpenters to work with him, both experienced sailors in Palawan waters. Jaime Maltos, the original owner the Balangaw, is a carpenter and fisherman who has built many boats in his long career. Celso Conde is boat builder from Cagayancillo in the Sulu Sea, an island with a distinct sailing tradition until the mid-1980s.

“As far as we know, the paraw is the biggest of its kind in the Philippines. Boats of this size existed years ago, and were used for transporting cargo and passengers but now they are no longer being built […] so through the paraw project, a relic of Filipino culture is being revived.” Jack Foottit

 

15 thoughts on “Our Story

  1. Ipsita says:

    My husband and I went on one of Gener’s expeditions in Dec 2012. It was a fabulous experience! Hope we get to go on the Paraw next time round :)…great job!

  2. Gener says:

    Thanks Ipsita! Hope to see you again.

  3. Alex Frost says:

    Wow! A total dream project come true!! So lucky pare! Let’s bring the past to the future! Fantastic contribution to the revival of Palaweno Ocean Navigation! I will look forward to the updates and gosh darn it, one day we will go sailing on the Paraw for sure! To the sea, imua! (forward!).

  4. Mart says:

    Projects like this may lean heavily on past knowledge, but they are very much the future. Global society has lusted after technology and “progress” for decades, at the expense of natural resources and quality of life. Now people are tentatively reversing back out of the cul-de-sac. This project is as political as it is environmental; it hands back knowledge, independence and power to ordinary people.

    Beautiful and ambitious, respect to you all.

  5. Brad says:

    Awesome work guys,another reason for me to come back to paradise.

  6. muriel says:

    thank you tao, we will definitely join the trip again, this time on the paraw

  7. Airy Cleere says:

    Hi – I will be in El Nido late December/early January and was wondering if you guys are doing any 3 day expeditions? We would love to get on board.

  8. Maurice says:

    Awesome!
    I’m fascinated by your photos, ancient culture info and your projects.
    Sure this balangay boat should be a succes, technically it’s not much different than the giant Polynesian outriggers who sailed half the world.
    The ability to go sailing is something missed, it fits perfectly in Palawan.
    Too bad I stumbled into this blog just after returning from Palawan…next year again.

  9. John says:

    I absolutely love this and your work.. from the other side of the globe I am looking for ways to make this happen here too.. US Virgin Islands

  10. Rizal Salih says:

    The work you are doing touches the deep part of our souls that are lusting after adventure. This return to the past is just the thing we need to restore our pride in our (maritime) traditions and to bring us face to face with a tangible experience of our island culture.

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