Posted by: hoz49 | February 27, 2008

The Bohol Kayaking Club

I met up with the Bohol Kayaking Club Sunday. Two members Luther Magallano and Buzzy from Habagat picked me up at the hotel room at 5am. We drove in the dark to Dumaluan Resort on world renown Panglao Island, with a plan to paddle the 15k crossing to Pamilacan Island. Once all the paddlers were assembled and the gear ready we put in at sunrise. Warm tropical breezes, white sand beaches and crystal clear emerald colored water folks!

Early Morning on Dumaluan Beach

Being a newbie to Philippine paddling, and a complete novice to kayaking with the “evil doubleblade”, I’M A CANOEIST, DAMMIT!, I was placed in the tandem with “Buzzy” in the front position. Buzzy is a young guy who owns the Habagat Outdoor store in Tagbilaran, Bohol. Habagat is a Cebu home grown purveyor of backpacker, climbing, caving and paddle sports gear. Everything that can be is made locally. Buzzy is developing a new market on Bohol for outdoor adventuring. They are excited about the prospects and have much interest from the local University students and an occasional tourist.

March 6-9, 2008 they are sponsoring the Visayas Mountain Festival. 500 participants are expected from all across the Philippines to compete in adventure racing, outdoor seminars, and clinics. These guys are HARD CORE!

I noticed right off the Buzzman was no slouch. I couldn’t match his strong windmill cadence but instead satisfied myself with trying for every other stroke. He probably wondered what was going on back there but about halfway across we finally hit matched stride, for a time…

Paddling with us were other members of the Bohol Kayaking Club, Dr Dumaluan (Doyet), Luther Magallano, and Atty. Mende. Doyet and Mende had solos outfitted with small kayak sails (no fair) while Luther paddled solo without a sail, or a rudder.

The crossing was uneventful, the winds calm and the sea pleasant. An occasional wave washed over the deck but nothing big. Even the temperature seemed moderate as the usually hot tropical sun was shielded behind a low deck of clouds. We kept a steady banter ofjokes and small talk, the way all paddlers do when we are on the water. I felt at ease and at home. Except for being kayakers, and half my age, it was like Luther said, these guys are MY BREED.

Low clouds, early morning crossing

We made a flotilla to rest 5 minutes. The Bohol Kayakers are serious paddlers and didn’t want to diddle about in the middle of the crossing. There is current that will sweep you out to sea if you don’t stay busy. We aimed our bow about five points off the northern tip of the island to counteract the flow.

Mid crossing rest

After two and a half hours we could see the white sand beaches that were to be our landing spot. I was feeling a little arm weary and thought a small piece of caramel might give the boost needed to come in with style.

How wrong I was. Soon after eating the candy I started feeling nauseous, then dizzy, then completely out of it. I couldn’t stroke, or even hold the paddle.

I felt like I was going to heave and pass out all at the same time.

Buzzy noticed my dilemma and said not to worry, he would take us the rest of the way in. At first I felt a tinge of pride but the open sea is no place for ego, so I stowed the paddle in the cockpit and did my best just to hold on and work the rudder.

Doyet was paddling nearby and became concerned I was going to lose consciousness in the kayak. Both he and Buzzy kept calling, just breathe Hoz, keep breathing…

After what seemed like an hour, (probably more like 15 minutes as we were only about a kilometer out) Buzzy brought us into shore and I literally fell out of the cockpit, crawling under some nearby trees to try and get my bearings. I was reeling like an alcoholic on a three day bender!

An ignoble landfall for the HozThe Doc diagnosed low blood sugar and gave me some chocolate. It probably didn’t help that I missed breakfast. After a few minutes rest I was feeling much better. In fact, I was sitting up and we started joking about the episode. Not wanting to experience a repeat performance, Doc went to Plan B, calling on the cell phone to have a pumpboat come out and carry us back. Which was a good thing cause I was bushed from the morning paddle anyway, 10 miles in 2.5 hours.

Meanwhile we had a native lunch prepared by inhabitants of the island (BBQ fish (sugbu), adobo(chicken with garlic in vinegar and soy sauce) , rice, bananas, and buko juice(young coconut). I passed on the San Miguel beer, opting for bottled water instead. We also spent a couple hours exploring Pamilacan. About 500 or so people make their home there in nipa huts and the occasional concrete block building. They historically caught whale, dolphin and manta ray for their livelihood but that has been outlawed. Now they are trying to develop business guiding tourists on whale watching tours and 0f course, they still fish, and the waters are teeming.

There are nipa huts for rent on the island. 700 pesos a day ($17.50, 24 hrs) gets you 3 hots and a hut for the night. Primitive, idyllic, and in a beautiful tropical setting with hospitable people, what a a great experience.

Here is a picture of a traditional Nipa Hut. This one definitely belongs to a fisherman, notice the extra rope. line and nets.

Typical Nipa Hut

We found the remains of a watchtower. In the 1500’s these were built to warn of pirates in the area. A series of them were on Bohol Island and even across the Cebu Strait . A fire built in one could be seen and the message relayed by the others. Just like in “Lord of the Rings”.

All Along the Watchtower

The pumpboat arrived all too soon and the Captain and his boat boys loaded up the kayaks and gear. (I could get used to this, gotta love the Philippines). All we had to do was find a place to sit and enjoy the ride back. It was almost anticlimactic.



Once back on Dumaluan Beach the Sunday crowd was in full swing with family parties at all of the shelters and swimmers crowding the shoreline. The emerald green water looked inviting and I couldn’t pass up a chance to wade into shore.

Dumaluan Beach

The next day Doyet picked me up at my hotel to treat for breakfast and afterward I had an interesting meeting with his brother Junie. Together they build beautiful kayaks and I could tell Junie is a real craftsman. I was interested to learn how they make everything, from the rudder pieces to the foot controls, sails and paddles. Filipino style, everything homemade, yet works as good as a commercially made product.

Doyet and Junie Dumaluan


Buzzy from Habagat and Dr Dumaluan, Bugsai Kayaks

If you are ever near Tagbilaran, Bohol and want to go paddling The Dumaluans of Bugsai Kayak are the people to contact. (Pronounced “Boog, sai” which means paddle in the local dialect).

They can tailor a trip to your specifications and I guarantee they will treat you right!



  1. it was great paddling with you hoz! you’re an inspiration 🙂
    “life is an adventure or nothing at all”

    hey! he is a good kayaker!

  2. Wow….looks awesome. Seems like you’re getting to experience paddling PINOY style.

    Much different than the USA midwest, huh?

    Great pics, keep them up.

  3. I bet that was exciting! I love that you are able to live life! Keep up the adventures… I love living them through your eyes…

  4. Bonitos lugares para remar.

  5. Carrie invited me today to your blog. What in incredible adventure your having. Be safe and enjoy!

  6. I’ll share this with the local kayak group in Indiana. It snowed this morning and ice is still on some of the lakes, last weekend in March. The tropical weather should warm them up some. Thanks Hoz, take care and see you home soon.

  7. I have paddled with these guys on a lot of occasions. I can vividly recall Dr. Doyet as my 1st Mentor with Justine as my partner. Everytime Justine and I was lagging behind, he’d shout “M-J” (short for Moses and Justine) then we’re reply, Here! Master Jedi…

    Doc, hope to catch up with you and the gang..

    Hope to meet you too, Hoz! 🙂

  8. I have been living many years in the Philippines and i contacted so many people….but never seakayakers around.
    Finally things are changing.
    It will be a paddleparadise: so many islands, so many possibilities to widen your horizon.

    When i go back, i will pass by that’s for sure.
    Are the boats made local????
    Two years ago i have been trying to import it in the PH, but the price was to much…
    Maybe some advice.

    Regards Jörgen

  9. The Dumaluan Brothers, Junie and Doyet, build their “Bugsai” line of stitch and glue kayaks in Tagbilaran Bohol. Doyet is an eye ears nose and throat doctor and his office is easy to find. Contact them for information.

    I am not familiar with other local builders, but i heard there is also a fiberglass laminate builder in Cebu.

    Yes, things are changing in the Philippines.

    • Hello Hoz! i was very happy to find your blog. ive just spent 2 months in the Visayas, looking to go back and i would love to talk with you. im an avid kayaker, built my own of course, and im looking to perhaps build again there in the Philippines. Send me your contact information in a PM please. thanks!

      • Hello Kelly, the email you have attached at ksfurnitire keeps bouncing. You can contact me at hoz49 “at” hotmail “dot” com.

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