Sailing into the Tourism Industry

The shoreline in Maquinit

Antonia Mangos

The shoreline of Sitio Maquinit, a small village on the island of Coron that sits just outside the town centre, is breathtaking for not only the beautiful natural scenery, but the vibrancy of the boats sitting on the shore.

The many boats scattered across the sand add a touch of liveliness to the already vibrant village and they are entirely hand crafted and play an important role in the growing tourism movement sweeping Coron.

The five carpenters that call Sitio Maquinit home spend many months of the year crafting these boats entirely from scratch.

One of these carpenters is Vhic Moreno, who has been building such boats for six years after retiring from his job as a fisherman.

These boats are now used as part of the booming tourism industry in Coron, used for the numerous island-hopping tours that sail around the many islands off the coast.

Vhic says that these boats take around one and a half tot hree months to finish a single boat and they cost around 120 000 pesos to make.

The village of Sitio Maquinit alone produces and distributes around ten to 20 boats a year.

The boats are also significant for the fact that many were destroyed after the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda that struck the village in 2013.

Much of the village was destroyed with the inclusion of the crafted boats, but looking at the shoreline, it is filled with colourful boats of varying sizes.

“This is design for Philippines, Philippines design, Philippines design this boat. We have not like other countries,’ says Vhic.

There is no doubt that these designs are unique to the Philippines and the detail of such designs demonstrate why the carpenters in Sitio Maquinit are in high demand for their island-hopping boats.

This new work also provides the locals with another source of income, as the village used to be known as a fishing village but due to elements including overfishing and tourism, this is changing.

‘I like my job, then many come to contract, contract,’ says Vhic.

The craftsmanship of these boats demonstrates the humble attitude and hard work of people like Vhic in the small village of Sitio Maquinit so it is no wonder these boat carpenters are in high demand.