Since before Spanish times, Manila Bay has been a place where boats and ships lay at anchor, waiting to disgorge passengers and cargo from as far away as the Middle East and Japan. Manila Bay may be your first stop South from Subic Bay but most cruising yachts will pass it by. Mostly because, the 23 or so miles from the mouth of the bay to the Metropolis of Metro Manila are mostly featureless and frequently windless (especially at night during the northeast monsoon: November to May). However, mostly by virtue of Metro Manila's prominence as the capitol city of the Philippines, and the fact that the northeast monsoon breezes do blow for most of each day from sunrise to sunset, in 1927 Manila Bay became the original centre for the sport of sailing in the Philippines.
Marinas In Manila Bay
Manila Yacht Club
The Manila Yacht Club is located along the waterfront of Manila City, South of the Port of Manila. It features pontoon berths and fore-and-aft moorings for members' yachts but it is almost always full to capacity. Most visiting yachts will have to be satisfied with anchoring just outside the yacht club marina breakwater to the North of the marina.
Visitors are made welcome if they come from reciprocal yacht clubs but otherwise, unless you know a member who is actually visiting the yacht club when you arrive, or you are declaring an emergency, then the yacht club will typically exercise its right to refuse entry. N.B bare feet and flip-flops are no longer acceptable footwear for men within the club – sandals with an ankle strap are the minimum requirement.
If you do need haul-out assistance for some reason then the Manila Yacht Club has a travel-lift and slipway available for a fee. The yacht club has workshops and staff on hand who know where to obtain necessary parts and materials from sources within Metro Manila.
The Manila Yacht Club was once an active, competitive sailing club but since the mid-2000s its enthusiasm for organizing sailing events has largely evaporated. Currently, the Manila Yacht Club only organizes a round-the-cans race on the first Saturday of each month.
Visit the Manila Yacht Club website: www.myc.org.ph
Caylabne Bay Resort Marina
For those with historic charts or Pilot for Manila Bay you may see reference to a marina at Caylabne, fronting the Caylabne Bay Resort Hotel, close to the southern entry to Manila Bay, slightly less then two miles southeast of El Fraile ("Drum") Island. This marina previously featured a dozen or so Mediterranean-style, stern-too moorings and an anchorage within the breakwater but is reportedly not entertaining any yachts at this time, although it may allow emergency stopovers if there is a passing storm generating a strong southerly. The Caylabne Bay Resort Hotel has changed hands and the new owners have stated that they plan to offer marina services, probably within 2019. It is rumored that there will be space for 50 yachts.
Anchoring In Manila Bay
Anchoring within Manila Bay is possible almost everywhere except close to the Port of Manila (you would not want to get mixed up with the big ships anyway) and immediately outside the U.S. Embassy – about a mile North of the Manila Yacht Club.
One place you may wish to anchor for a day is in the little bay on the North shore of Corregidor Island, where access to the Corregidor war museum and tourist areas are to be found. Corregidor Island was the place of surrender for U.S. Troops during World War II, when the Imperial Japanese Forces invaded the Philippines in 1942. It was from Corregidor that Gen. Douglas MacArthur fled by submarine to Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao; it was in Cagayan de Oro, before boarding a aeroplane for Darwin, Australia, that MacArthur made his famous "I shall return" speech, which of course he did . . . three years later.
Immediately west-northwest of Corregidor is the town of Mariveles. Although largely an industrial town, supporting the filthy oil refineries that lay to the East, it is also an active port for: fishing, shipbuilding and luxury yacht refurbishing. Although there is little to attract a cruising yacht, Mariveles Bay is quite sheltered, except from the southeast, and can make a good bolt-hole if there is some unpleasant weather in the vicinity.
N.B. There are some nasty little rocks immediatley to the southwest of the entrance to Mariveles Bay that are not immediately visible near high tide during poor visibility.
Manila Bay Tourist Attractions
Manila Bay is known for the metropolis of Metro Manila. The metropolis has many historical sites from Spanish times plus of course, it is a modern city with everything you could possibly wish for in terms of museums, entertainment and facilities. As a cruising yacht you may wish to visit the metropolis because almost every nation on Earth has a Consular facility somewhere within Metro Manila.
The list of tourist attractions is too expansive to list here. However, one item of note for sailors: about half a mile due West of the Manila Yacht Club is the home of the Philippine Sailing Association, where the youth of the nation is inspired and motivated to win gold at international sailing events.
Transport Around Manila Bay
There are buses, taxis and hire cars that can take you around the metropolis; outside the metropolis there are usually taxis, jeepneys and tricycles to most popular destinations.
The Manila International Airport ("NAIA") is located to the South of Metro Manila, with scheduled flights to all corners of the planet. There is also a seaplane service from Manila (close to the Manila Yacht Club) that has daily, scheduled flights to Puerto Galera and Busuanga, and to Subic Bay.
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