REVIVING A RELIC OF FILIPINO CULTURE
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