|Mr. Jose Maria Vargas (General Manager - Subic Bay Yacht Club), |
Mr. Federico Sandoval II (President - Watercraft Venture Corporation),
Mr. Jesus Avecilla (President - Lighthouse Marina Resort),
Mr. Raul Marcelo (Dep. Admin. for Tourism - SBMA)
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sailing enthusiasts from all over the world gathered last week under clear blue skies in sunny Subic Bay not only to enjoy the beautiful waters and picturesque views but also to compete in the ultimate nautical race of the year -- the much-awaited Commodore's Cup 2012 international regatta event.
The affair came right after the prestigious Rolex China Sea Race 2012 which ended last April 8 after a 565-nautical mile race from Hong Kong to Subic Bay, Philippines. The Commodore's Cup Regatta officially started on April 10 with the registration and skippers' briefing as well as the welcome party for participants and guests at the Lighthouse Marina Resort.
The race proper began on April 11 with the participation of some 30 international boats from the US, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore according to Mr. Federico "Ricky" Sandoval II, President of Watercraft Venture Corporation. Daily awards and socials were held at the Lighthouse from April 12 to 13 and culminated in the grand Awards Night on April 14 at the poolside of the Subic Bay Yacht Club (SBYC).
Four of my friends and I were invited to cover the last day of the race. We saw with our own eyes how beautiful the waters and scenery of Subic Bay are and had so much fun watching the sleek boats vie for places. The weather was perfect for sailing that windy afternoon. We got on a Subic Bay vessel with other media practitioners and shot photos of the boats (and ourselves! LOL) while we enjoyed the cool breeze that blew despite the heat of the sun.
Later, we got to chat with some of the event organizers and found out that a career in sailing is actually better than nursing! Sir Ricky told us that there are sailors who have not finished high school but are some of the most-trusted and well-paid workers in the world. Thus, they are planning on opening a school for sailors where students can get in for free "as long as we get sponsors to help maintain the boat," he shared.
Mr. Raul Marcelo, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority's (SBMA) Deputy Administrator for Tourism, reported that tourist arrival in Subic has grown by 190.43% since 2006. He described Subic Bay as having a unique combination of tourist attractions which makes it an ideal eco-tourism destination. Visitors can discover some of the best dive and bird-watching sites, go sailing, and perform other water sports. Moreover, Subic is now also a cruise ship destination. "The first one docked here in February of this year." He added that they, moreover, have the best search and rescue team in the Philippines.
That night, we also got to witness who bagged the coveted Skipper of the Year award and overall winners in the IRC Racing Class, IRC Cruiser/Racing Class, IRC Premier Crusing Class, and Crusing Class categories. Fireworks lit up the night sky as the jovial crowd of sailors celebrated each other's victories.
The Commodore's Cup Regatta was first convened in 2008 by then SBYC Commodore Ricky Sandoval. It has grown since in terms of following and prestige and eventually became part of the Asian Yachting Circuit in 2010. It also turned out to be one of the most anticipated regatta events in the country and one of the world's top offshore racing competitions.
Past winners of the Commodore's Cup include JO De Ros with skipper George Hackett in 2008 and 2009; Hi Fi with skipper Neil Pryde in 2010; and Subic Centennial in 2011.
"This year's Commodore's Cup is truly a momentous event. With Subic Bay playing this year's host, we aim to showcase the Philippines as among the world's top sailing destinations with its clear waters and fine sand beaches," concluded Mr. Sandoval.
* For more photos from this event, please visit this album in Write, Breathe, Live's Facebook page :)