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Old 07-05-2016, 15:38   #16
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

Hey steadhand, in regards to few recreational boats, your very right. You see yachts in harbours such as Puerto Princessa, Puerto Gallera and manilla but in all the cruising I did I think I only shared 3 anchorages with other yachts! and that was only one yacht maybe two. 7000 islands and no yachts to be seen.

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Old 07-05-2016, 17:32   #17
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

I was in Puerto Rico flying in Helios for my navy time ,and that low level flying over those tropical type waters is too be experienced ! I am preparing to go back.
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Old 07-05-2016, 17:57   #18
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

Many years ago in Mexico City, while waiting for the train that was going to take me to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, I casually asked the men seated on either side of me what their opinions were about where I would be visiting. The first gave a lengthy speech, pros and cons. The second simply said, “Go and find out for yourself.

Having lived the last 16 years in a semi-full Philippine anchorage located at the bottom of Negros Oriental, within hazy sight of the island of Mindanao, both men’s advice continue to advise me when I consider the threat potential for something similar happening here.

The kidnappings of foreigners occur primarily where the perceived wealthy tourists are located—high end resorts and/or marinas. Admittedly, all ‘yachties’ (as cruisers here are called) are thought to be rich, but since very few kidnappings are unplanned, I believe that within this area where I live it would become quickly apparent how slim the pickings would be for their effort because:

1) There are only four resorts located around the entrance to the bay, of which only two might draw wealthier clients: Antulang Resort, located atop a very steep climb to reach it from the sea, or the less pricey but more vulnerable Cove Sands, situated across the bay’s entrance on a secluded beach, mainland side. The other two—KooKoo’s Nest, on the ocean front beach of Antulang Peninsula, located just before entering the channel into Port Bonbonon/Tambobo Bay, and Nigel’s Tongo Sail Inn, tucked behind the bay’s reef, inaccessible by boat—both cater to less desireable lower-end visitors (local and foreign).

2) There are no marinas for yachts, only a very large anchorage reached via a channel shaped similar to the neck of a crookneck squash. Twenty or thirty boats in varying states of use and occupancy, or total abandonment, are located there. Unless kidnappers knew specifically of a wealthy yacht—or even the more remote two!—that were visiting, the logistics of trying to capture occupants would be daunting. But possible, I acknowledge.

Luc & Jackie Callebaut, aboard Sloepmouch, who were in the Davao marina during the November kidnappings, recently arrived in Port Bonbonon with some good suggestions. They have initiated a very sensible Emergency Preparedness Plan for the community of cruisers and locals, collecting cell phone numbers for Military and Coast Guard personnel, from cruisers on boats, plus designating a specific channel length for alerting each other—whether the emergency is terrorists, typhoons, medical or simply observing something questionable.

Personally, having weighed my own options (which are limited until Pilar can again sail), the security patrols by military and Coast Guards that I see here are reassuring, so I continue to enjoy and appreciate the very friendly nearby communities of Siaton and Dumaguete, having NO fears walking anywhere at night in those towns. I would still encourage anyone to come and see for themselves—Steady, himself, might just find not only some day sailing, but possibly the boat he’s been wanting for himself.

That said, though, I admit to fears arising from the very keen awareness of graver threats than kidnapping: that of fundamentalist ISIS Muslims who are willing to die during the higher glory of killing infidels for their new-found state in Syria. Slaughtering an anchorage full of foreigners and sinking their yachts would make a dramatically easy target for a speed boat loaded with men & machine guns.

…but “I’ll think about that tomorrow…” because right now the weather is glorious and I have work to do on my boat.
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Old 07-05-2016, 19:34   #19
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

gamayun, could you explain what you mean by "...we're helping create some of this problem"?

I have family in the Phils and have been there several times including Palawan and have greatly enjoyed every trip. Beautiful country, and the people were always friendly, generous and welcoming to the "Kano'" (their shorthand for Americano'). No, we didn't go to Mindanao. My brother-in-law has a farm outside of Davao and he suggested we skip the island.

Foreign industry and tourism bring in hard cash to the country, but sadly not a lot of it filters down to the poor locals. Corruption is entrenched throughout the government from the top levels down to the local mayors. It has always been this way and we will not see the poverty improve any time soon.

So how do you suggest we stop "helping to create the problem?" Travel there less? More? Do tell us. Otherwise your comment smacks of smug West-bashing informed by a week dive trip in a poor country.
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Old 07-05-2016, 20:35   #20
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

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Originally Posted by slosail View Post
gamayun, could you explain what you mean by "...we're helping create some of this problem"?

I have family in the Phils and have been there several times including Palawan and have greatly enjoyed every trip. Beautiful country, and the people were always friendly, generous and welcoming to the "Kano'" (their shorthand for Americano'). No, we didn't go to Mindanao. My brother-in-law has a farm outside of Davao and he suggested we skip the island.

Foreign industry and tourism bring in hard cash to the country, but sadly not a lot of it filters down to the poor locals. Corruption is entrenched throughout the government from the top levels down to the local mayors. It has always been this way and we will not see the poverty improve any time soon.

So how do you suggest we stop "helping to create the problem?" Travel there less? More? Do tell us. Otherwise your comment smacks of smug West-bashing informed by a week dive trip in a poor country.
I hope the Western expats in these countries forgive me for saying this, but I eschew the resorts where all the other Americans are hanging out and suggest giving your money to the locals who open their homes to visitors, staying in quaint B&B's (I use that word loosely) and using restaurants that are not filled with tourists. Try to speak to them (amazingly, most people speak some English just about everywhere in the world) or at least give them a smile when they are looking you up and down in bewilderment about what the hell you're doing in their neighborhood (which you would probably do to the same, ahem, in your own neighborhood...). Smug. Yeah, I'm smug and arrogant that I can pay what is probably close to their annual salaries diving a week in some protected reef while their own nearshore reefs continue to be decimated for short term gain. I ache over this conflict constantly and the only way I can resolve it is to use my resources as much toward the local economy as I can, directly in their hands. The guns, and guards and 'safe' resorts I leave to others.
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Old 07-05-2016, 22:58   #21
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

Thank you for posting the link. That article is clear and provides good details on the kidnapping, dates, and background.

I thought (vague recall) the initial kidnapping happened in November, but the article says September 2015. Good to know.

I was not aware one man had been beheaded. Sad.
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Old 07-05-2016, 23:05   #22
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Hey steadhand, in regards to few recreational boats, your very right. You see yachts in harbours such as Puerto Princessa, Puerto Gallera and manilla but in all the cruising I did I think I only shared 3 anchorages with other yachts! and that was only one yacht maybe two. 7000 islands and no yachts to be seen.

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Dale,

I have enjoyed reading your comments in this thread, and value your POV since you spent time cruising around PI.

Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to explore as much as wanted, and my local friends don't even want to leave the city or even drive out into the country (I wanted to visit some indigenous tribal areas) and advise against me traveling alone anywhere outside of Davao while on Mindanao.

Samal?
Local friends consider Samal "safe" to visit, despite the obvious recent kidnapping last September, one that I now know led to a beheading of the Canadian man.
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Old 07-05-2016, 23:07   #23
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

Gaffermate,

Thanks for adding your good detailed description of an alternative anchorage (Port Bonobonon) and your notes.
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Old 07-05-2016, 23:08   #24
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Re: Samal Island Philippines (SE Mindanao, near Davao)

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I was in Puerto Rico flying in Helios for my navy time ,and that low level flying over those tropical type waters is too be experienced ! I am preparing to go back.
Yes, it does give one a different sense of speed and flying. Fun!
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