Fair Winds for Domestic Tourism


Fair Winds for Domestic Tourism
Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta
Department of Tourism
Manila Yacht Club, 14 April 1999


We are gathered here to launch three landmark events—the First Admiral’s Boracay Regatta, the 5th Annual Boracay Paraw Regatta and the International Arts Festival in Boracay.  As you know, Boracay is one of the  8 Anchor Destinations of the “Rediscovery” Tourism Program of the Estrada administration.

Although these remarkable events will take place in Boracay, the Department of Tourism is launching them here at the Manila Yacht Club, next door to the headquarters of the Philippine Navy.

Before anything else, allow me to salute the organizers of these events:

  • All Star Cast, Inc. and its dynamic director, Ms. Marian Aguiluz Eastwood. (Ladies first.)
  • Vice Admiral Eduardo Santos , the first to be honored in the Admiral’s Boracay Regatta
  • Our valiant Philippine Navy
  • The Manila Yacht Club
  • The Philippine Sailing Association, (last but not the least).

We Filipinos should host more events that celebrate our being a maritime republic. Our ancestors were nature’s navigators and sailors, they designed and built boats that took them to as far as the Easter island near Chile and Madagascar. If I am not mistaken, the paraw with its outriggers and special triangular sail was an invention of our ancestors. They did not need a  compass to sail, according to some historians, because they knew how to read the stars and feel  the movement of currents and winds.

During the Spanish colonial era, when the first trans-Pacific trade between Manila and Mexico began, the native boat makers were conscripted to build the galleons. They made some changes in the design because the European-made galleons were suited for the Atlantic Ocean, not for the Pacific.

My favorite historian, Fr. Horacio de la Costa, S.J. once wrote, “ Filipinos were building ocean-going ships , in the early 19th century, that Lloyds of London did not hesitate to rate A-1, a frigate turned out by the Pangasinan shipwrights was commissioned by the Spanish Navy for service in European waters. “ He also said that the metal parts of the ships were manufactured here in foundries that cast bells and bronze artillery. (That was probably the Sunico foundry, the Sunicos still live in Binondo.) The sails of the vessels were made of Ilocos cotton.

Fr. de la Costa also said, “ It looked as though we had found an industry perfectly suited to our genius and our needs as an island people.” I believe the international regattas that will take place in Boracay will remind us that we are  by nature an island people,  and through these maritime  sports, we will rediscover our genius.

As a final note, let me emphasize that these three events will blow fair winds for domestic tourism which is the core of the Estrada administration’s “Rediscovery” Tourism Program.  Thank you once again to the organizers, you can depend on  the Department of Tourism to help you make these three events a huge success.