With an infinite coastline of fine sand, scores of adjoining islets, a scenic tranquil bay, and ideal winds for sailing the whole-year round, Busuanga Island in northern Palawan is one of the top-of-mind destinations of beach lovers.
Unknown to many, this enchanting archipelago is already a hub of sailing local and foreign yachtsmen who have found its waters an enchanting natural playground worth coming back to.
It recently hosted once more the 7th BPI Busuanga Cup, one of the country’s top yachting tournaments, which returned in its championship format after going low-key over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Organized by the Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Foundation (Phinsaf), the Cup is presented by BPI Wealth, the Bank of the Philippine Islands’s asset management and trust arm, the country’s largest standalone trust corporation which administers over P 850 billion in assets.
According to BPI Wealth president and CEO Maria Theresa Marcial, the firm forayed into the tourney because it aligns with its corporate philosophy.
“In line with our 2023 campaign #LiveYourBestLife, we are encouraging individuals to embrace the life experiences they deserve while engaging in activities that promote appreciation and preservation of our marine resources. We are happy to support Phinsaf and the sailing community in their efforts to grow yacht racing in the country,” the lady sailor enthuses.
The sporting event is also supported by Club Punta Fuego, Marina Del Sol Resort, Broadwater Marine, Rayomarine, and Sunlight Air as official carrier.
The two-part regatta is composed of the 144-nautical mile Busuanga Race from Punta Fuego in Nasugbu, Batangas to Black Island in Busuanga; and the Commodore Doni Altura Memorial Race consisting of inshore and round-island races.
Subic-based Selma Star of veteran sailor Jun Avecilla, bested the IRC class to recapture this year’s top honors. Hurricane Hunter helmed by Albert Altura finished second, while the Porcelanosa-sponsored Belatrix of Jun Villanueva settled for third.
Monchu Garcia’s Carino and David Sutton’s Poco Loco, both Leopard catamarans, took the top two spots in the ocean multihull class.
The Cruiser Class was won by Papaya 2 of veteran Hobie sailor Rene Ticzon, with Captain Napoleon of Greek helmsman Napoleon Paterakis, and Puerto Galera-based Neptunus III of Richard McGonegal as runners-up.
For the Cup’s touristic component, the organizers has put in place the Busuanga Rallye & Safari, a chill three-day cruise around the famed Calauit Safari Park, resort-hopping at Rio Y Mar and Marina Del Sol Yacht Club, and a foray into the area of the “dugong” or seacow, northern Palawan’s rare marine mammal.
Last year’s Rallye cruised into the secluded islets of Linapacan, while next year’s post-race cruise is being eyed at the historic island town of Culion.
Event participants and families immersed in the communities and paid it forward by donating cash to the Busuanga Health Center for the purchase of medical supplies and equipment for the far-flung barangays.
With the merry mix of competitive yachting and fun cruises afterward, northern Palawan will undoubtedly be the next sailing mecca and sports tourism hub in Asia.