Traditional culture, heritage of seafarers in Central Visayas honored
A five-day expedition followed by a regatta was held in several areas hemming in the Tanon Strait in the Central Visayas to honor the traditional culture and heritage of seafarers and navigators who use dugout canoes called Bigiw.
Since the first Bigiw-Bugsay event was staged in 2016, a growing number of fisherfolk have joined the regatta.
This year, over 60 participants registered for the youth, women and men’s Bigiw paddling and sailing races, a statement showed.
The regatta was held at the Seaside Park in Moalboal. To make its third year more exciting, the organizing group Island Buzz Philippines, a water sports company which aims to promote the use of non-motorized watercraft to protect the environment while reviving islander cultural lifestyles, embarked on a Bigiw expedition from April 16 to 20, featuring three Bigiw sailors led by Buzzy Budlong, a renowned Visayan paddler who holds the record for paddling 3025 kilometers from south to north of the Philippines in 88 days.
The other two Bigiw sailors are Gary Neil Benedicto, a longboarding skater champion and Panie Lagon, a lifeguard and fisherman from Moalboal.
During the expedition, the group conducted free Bigiw paddling and sailing clinics for locals.
Oceana Philippines, the world’s largest nonprofit solely dedicated to marine conservation, joined the clinics to give environmental lectures.
“We support Island Buzz Philippines in promoting fibreglass boats which use wind and paddle power. Fibreglass is not only lightweight – it frees fishers from relying on our thinning forests to build and repair boats. Sails harness the wind so fishers need not rely on dirty fossil-fuels,” said Oceana Philippines Director for Communications Gregg Yan.
Oceana also distributed primers on the country’s Amended Fisheries Code to better help local fishers in protecting their home coasts.