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... to buy a comfortable house with an attached guesthouse in Puerto Galera, bring my Tiki "WaveDancer" or a TamaMoana there and offer tours to North Palawan and elsewhere in the Phil.-Archipelago.

We are now in the stage of getting figures and facts together for a feasibility study of such a venture.  What do you guys think? A good idea? Crazy? Any sailors here who would take the chance and sail some of the most beautyfull places of SE-Asia. Any ideas and input are welcome! Cheers Wave & Bella

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Hi WD - 

I lived in the Philippines for about 10 years and, yes, Puerto Galero, Honda Bay etc - those are all beautiful places to sail. Have you been to the Underground River in Palawan? It's very cool.

A Tiki 30 is just perfect for that area.

I wish you the best of luck.


Hi Bob. Yes I know the area. Since 9 years I spend every year some time in the Philippines. Cheers Wave

I've also been considering living in the Philippines.  I spent a month there last November traveling from Gensan Southern Mindanao, up through Davao, Surigao, and Siargao Island.  Wonderful islands and beautiful friendly people.


I've been in the day charter business since I was 22 years old.  Owned a charter business in Costa Rica, and now operate out of San Diego with my Maine Cat 30.  There are those folks who like to operate by going overnight and taking people on multiple day charters, and then there are guys like me that specialize in trips no longer then 4 hours.


After sailing with close to 100,000 guests over all these years, I think day charter is the way to go.  When you are busy in the high season, you can do up to 3 trips in a day and charge by the person.  You will make more then you could charge from a full day. or over night charter.  I can get along with just about anybody for 4 hours and really enjoy people.  Going overnight with people would drive me absolutely nuts.  At the end of the day, I want to be home relaxing and watching a movie.  Inevitably you will have guests that you do not want to spend more then an afternoon with.  Also I believe that the average guest that sails on a charter wants to go out, have a fantasy sail, and then get off the boat.  Overnight is too much for most people.  To make money, cater to "most people".


Opening up a charter business in a foreign country has all its own challenges that you will obviously have to investigate.  Opening in Costa Rica was a real challenge that I would not want to repeat.  It was successful, but very very stressful to get going. www.lazylizardsailing.com


I think your Tiki 33 would be an ideal day charter boat in the Philippines.  Like I said I don't know the import or commercial regulations, but in Costa Rica, to operate commercially, you must import your boat and flag it Costa Rican.  Import taxes can be as high as 50% in some cases.  The main thing is to do your homework so that no surprises come up.  Make sure you are operating legally from day one because getting into hot water with the wrong people in these countries is a bad start to a bad ending.  Some people try to slip in and operate illegally on the sly thinking they can get away with it.  The competition always notices on the very 1st day you begin chartering, and will get you shut down or worse, if you are not totally legit and legal.  Having a Filipina girlfriend will be very helpful in navigating the cultural, and legal waters....


I have actually been thinking of also operating some sort of day charter business in the Philippines just to stay busy.  I've been wanting to live there, but without something to stay occupied with, I think the life would get boring very quicky.  I was thinking it might be fun to have one of those amazing sailing bancas constructed, and take people on some short day trips from a tourist area.  I like the idea of being able to pull the boat up on the beach at the end of the day.


Opening and operating a small charter business is totally doable, and not that difficult to get up and running, if you treat it like a business and not a hobby.  There are many examples of other similar businesses around the world that you can copy, and not try to re create the wheel.


Best of luck to you,



Hi Rod

thank you for your input. Operating Bancas  is a no go for expats (even if officially the business should be on your wifes name) - this is sole Filipino-Family business - do not touch!

You are right saying that such things have to be done as a business and highly professional. As an ex sailing instructor I know the daycharter business as well. It was always a good cash earner where there are lots of tourists.

We'll see how things develop. Philippines is not yet popular for sailors, but tonnes of divers yes. 

Cheers Wave

Hey Wave.....

Interesting about the banca business.....there's always something to learn about the regulations....!


I've found that actual sailors are not the best customers for my business.  The average tourist or diver that has maybe never been out sailing would be the best source there I would imagine.  These divers often travel with their wives, and you could most likely do well with just one sunset sail departure per day.  Good solid reliable friendly service always goes a long way in these locations.  The labor is so cheap there, you could provide a nice platter of food with some drinks without much work.  In Costa Rica I had a full time local crew member that took care of the boat and went on the charters.  The boat always looked like it was ready for a boat show, and hiring a local often helps with the security of the boat, and local acceptance.


On Siargao Island there was really no sailing trips available.  I know that if there was a catamaran sunset cruise offered there, the tourists would definately want to go out.  There seems to be several places in the Phils that might be a good location.  Mayby Samal, Cebu, Boracay, Palawan......who knows?  It sounds like you've spent alot of time there and have a good feel for the place.


Hi Rod

Yes - your experiences are about the same as mine. 

Re. the banca-business - noone will forbid it officially to you, but corruption and jealousy will do no good to such a business. I have seen to many expat-businesses going down just for the reason they challanged and competed the local Filipino business. My rule - let the Filipino do what they can do best and do things they can't do and don't forget to let them participate a bit. Then you have less problems.  Cheers Wave


Wave - as you know, Boracay is beautiful (used to be, anyway) but I made inquiries about charter businesses there and was met with a stone wall of bureaucracy and local patronage. This was the early 80's mind, so things might have changed, but ever since Boracay made its big-time appearance on the world-traveller circuit back in the mid to late 70's, it's represented a lot of tourist dollars so breaking in there might be difficult. I'm going to follow your progress, because if I get back there, I'd love to book a trip!

Rod Jones said:

Opening up a charter business in a foreign country has all its own challenges that you will obviously have to investigate.  Opening in Costa Rica was a real challenge that I would not want to repeat.  It was successful, but very very stressful to get going. www.lazylizardsailing.com


Hi Rod,

My family and I are going to be in Tamarindo Dec 19 - Jan 9 and we're going to look into getting out on the water with lazylizardsailing while we're there. Are you still associated with the business?

Hi Bob,  I sold that business back in 2002 so I don't have any stake in the business anymore.  But when I started that business, I hired a young man named Jesus to be crew on the boat.  He was a really nice Nicaraguan guy trying to make a living working in roofing.  When I took him on, he had never sailed before.  Now many years later, he is the Captain of the Lazy Lizard, and really looks like he has done well with the business.  The boat I took down there is a Seawind 1000 and is a very fun boat to sail.  I think you would have a great time.   They also have a Lagoon 38 which in my opinion is the less fun of those two boats they are chartering.  The papagayo (offshore) winds can blow very strong down there in that Flamingo area which makes for some great sailing.  Once you are there, you can watch for a good forecast with good wind.


Have a great time,


Thanks Rod!  I appreciate the response. I'll get in touch with Jesus.



As someone who had lived and run business in the Philippines for many years, please do not underestimate the high level of corruption. Even if you register your business in say your wife’s name; it is no protection; you are a foreigner therefore you are seen as millionaire and a foreigner with a boat is a mulit-millionaire!

I built a 30foot boat in the Philippines and the local Marina office from which you need boat building permission, made sure they invented many regulations to extract bribes from me. An expat friend had his commercial fishing boat impounded for breaching some unknown regulation and the marine engine was taken away as security! (Subsequently sold and he never received a penny).

Even considering owning a local banca outrigger for some kind of business is madness, you will lose it. Renting the boat you need in partnership with a local is a way that does work though. Strangely, importing your own boat after paying a few bribes, seems reasonably straight forward

I love the Philippines, it is a great place to live and sail, and I will be moving back there shortly, but sadly think twice about running a business there.

Hi Zebra

Thanks for your input. Yes I know the situation in the Phils. pritty well and I'll take my time before any investment shall be done. It is very clear what ever one does (expept from burning money) you'll need the "protection" of powerfull people.

Would be nice to get your coordinates once you are back in the Phils.

Cheers Wave





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