1000 Year Old Philippines Design (reviving the lost art of sailing)

1000 Year Old Philippines Design (reviving the lost art of sailing)

It's a very rare occasion for us to tour a vessel designed over a thousand years ago. So rare in fact, it's our first ever! Much less to be invited over by the builder and captain himself.

But naturally, when such an opportunity does presents itself, we always show up with a camera. Because these inspiring encounters are the stories we love to share the most.

A Lost Art

Our new friend Gener is a native of the Palawan province of the Philippines. He comes from a long line of sea fearing people and even his father and grandfather were sailors.

Yet, Gener didn't learn to sail from his father or grandfather. Because right about the time he was old enough to take to sea, most mariners had already traded their sails for engines.

Passions Ignited

In 2008 Gener crewed on a sailing yacht from Palawan to Africa. He witnessed thriving traditional sailing cultures in the Indian Ocean and Middle East and began questioning why ancient Filipino sailing traditions were in danger of extinction.

Gener was inspired to revive native sailing, natural navigation and boat building techniques in his home province of Palawan.

Building The Balatik

The paraw project was launched to revive Palawan’s ancient sailing traditions and bring back the local art of sailing, natural navigation and paraw building.

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

The paraw was constructed using materials sourced from the forest and Filipino traditional boat-building techniques. The whole project was well documented: palawanparaw.wordpress.com

The Balatik Today

It is the largest paraw in existence at 72 feet. Designed after paraw that once sailed Palawan waters centuries ago, transporting cargo and passengers.

From November to May The Balatik makes 3-5 day expeditions in Palawan waters through Tao Philippines. Guests experience the beauty of Palawan while learning about the role of sailing in the islands’ history and culture.

From June to October The Balatik is used for educational and social welfare projects around Palawan such as those already run by the Tao Kalahi Foundation.