Preserving the Bigiw Sailing Culture: Bigiw-Bugsay on its 3rd year

To honor the traditional culture and heritage of seafaring and navigation, the 3rd Bigiw-Bugsay Event highlighting a five-day expedition and a regatta was held in Cebu, April 16 – 22.

Participants of 3rd Bigiw-Bugsay Event in Cebu last April 16-22. (Photo by Gregg Yan)

Island Buzz Philippines, a water sports and adventure company aiming to promote the use of non-motorized watercrafts to protect the environment and to revive the “paddling and sailing” lifestyle, spearheaded the said event in coordination with Pioneer Epoxy.

Bigiw canoes used by participants for the 5-day Bigiw expedition (Photo by Gregg Yan)

With over 60 registered participants, the event kicked off with 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. During the said activity, there were free paddling and sailing clinics for the locals which also served as venues for environmental talks and tree planting activities.

Meanwhile, the Bigiw Regatta was held at Moalboal last April 22 where participants across the region witnessed the unveiling of the innovative Hybrid Bigiw – a more compact, lightweight, and efficient sailing canoe. The watercraft is considered more environment friendly as making it does not require any expense of a tree.

Participants with Pioneer Epoxy’s representative and people from Island Buzz Philippines (Photo by Buzzy Budlong)

Even though more fishermen are using motorized boats, Bigiw canoes are still used by fishermen and sailors from the region. However, Buzzy Budlong expressed his concern that the design and the paddling and sailing skills in operating the Bigiws might be lost in the future.

“We don’t want this to happen. We shall continue with our advocacy of promoting the Bigiw and we will keep on improving its design without losing the local touch. With the help of our sponsors, supporting local government units and the Department of Tourism Region-7, the use of the Bigiw, its pointed and slim hull, triangular sail, plus traditional methods of navigating can be passed on for generations to come, as a source of pride and most especially as a lifestyle.”, he concluded.

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

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