It’s hard to compare the Philippines to its neighbors. Sure, anything in the South China Sea is going to look like a postcard of paradise, whether it’s a Nha Trang beach or the jungle coast of Sabah, but there’s something special about the Philippines, especially for the ultimate Philippines sailing adventure. For starters, it’s got over 7000 islands to explore, from marooned strips of sand in Visayas to aquamarine dive sites off Palawan. The culture is different too. 350 years of Spanish rule have left their mark on a mostly Catholic society that nevertheless clings to its Filipino roots. Graffiti-covered Jeepneys rumble the islands’ backroads of North Luzon and Bangka boats zip along the shallow seas.
Of course, for us, the Philippines are important for another reason. They’re the ultimate spot for an island-hopping sailing challenge. When we were planning this new adventure, we threw a few destinations around, but none could match the Philippines for sheer beauty, or opportunities for adrenaline-pumping adventure. This is what a Philippines challenge looks like, Large Minority-style.
This is a sailing challenge, but we wanted to make it as authentically Filipino as possible. Which is why you won’t be sailing any modern super yacht on the way to the finish line. Instead you’ll be the captain of your very own paraw, a traditional Philippine’s tri-maran (like a catamaran, but smaller and with three hulls instead of two). The beauty of this craft is that there isn’t much between you and the uninhabited islands you’ll be sailing past – it’s about as close to playing Robinson Crusoe as you can get in a world that has Instagram and cat cafes. And don’t worry if your sailing experience is minimal at best; we’ll team you up with a local skipper and two crew who can help you find your sea legs. Maybe pack some seasickness meds just in case…
With over 7000 islands to choose from, we had a bit of trouble planning the route for this sailing race. How do you choose between one ridiculous spit of sand or jungle-covered bluff and the next one round the corner? We did a lot of on-the-ground research (someone had to), and in the end we settled on a route between Tablas Island and the north coast of Visayas, pretty much smack bank in the middle of the Philippines archipelago, with stops at Carabao Islands, Santa Fe, Ferrol and Argao along the way (this route is subject to change depending on weather, just FYI). We picked this course because the seas around Visayas are relatively calm (they’re protected from the big ocean swells by Palawan and Coron to the west), and, more importantly, they’ve got some of the most beautiful scenery in all of the Philippines. And that’s a big call.
It wouldn’t be a sailing race if it wasn’t a challenge, right? Adventure sailing is like regular sailing, except it’s against the clock and against a bunch of other teams searching for immortal Large Minority glory. It’s fair to say this isn’t your typical relaxing sailing cruise. Your team of two or three is sailing to win, and there are plenty of stops along the way where you’ll have to complete certain tasks to progress (think fishing for your dinner, climbing coconut trees, navigating your paraw through the island archipelago). But don’t worry, there’s plenty of down time too. Each of these challenges is designed to make a meaningful contribution to local communities along the way (in fact you’ll be staying with them during a homestay on Argao). It’s part of our fundamental promise: to not only give you an amazing Philippines adventure, but to give back to the places we visit. For more info you can read our commitment to responsible travel.
For more info on our Philippines sailing challenge, check out the itinerary here. Grab your team of two or three and get ready for something pretty awesome.