Manila Yacht Club

May 2000. They drop by to drink some beer, meet
familiar faces, and launch their big toys in the waters of the famous
Manila Bay. They are the members of the prestigious Manila Yacht Club
(MYC), the weekend hideaway of Manila’s sea loving elite.

Conveniently tucked at the banks of Manila Bay just beside the CCP complex
and the Philippine Navy headquarters, the 73-year-old club houses the
yachts, cruisers, and boats of its affluent and passionate constituents.
Here, they call out names that could easily fill the list of “Who’s
Who” in Philippine politics and business.

They own boats, which cost millions of pesos and travel with them across
the Pacific or South China Sea. Former MYC General Manager Michael Deakin
described the sailboats as “toys for the big boys”. As the
big boys, the yacht owners would gamely cruise on weekends, return to
the club for an overnight party and leave their toys to a dozen of people
paid to maintain and prepare them for the next trip.

Established in 1927, the MYC became the hub of yachting in Southeast
Asia and the symbol of opulent living in the Philippines. It remains
the country’s premier yacht club, owing to its strong reputation and
rich historic past. Efforts are being made to modernize and upgrade
the facilities of MYC, specially with the emergence of rival groups
such as the Taal Lake Yacht Club, Maya-Maya Yacht Club and Punta Fuego
Yacht Club in Batangas; Puerto Azul Yacht Club in Cavite; and Subic
Bay Yacht Club in Zambales.

The MYC services more than 300 boats, the most famous of which is the
reported $15 million (P750 million) swan sailboat owned by former San
Miguel CEO Andres Soriano III. It was reportedly bought from Finland,
where the most luxurious boats are being manufactured.

The club also organizes major international and Philippine yacht racing
events including the China Sea Series, the President’s Cup Regatta,
the Philippine Flying Fifteen Nationals, the Picornell Series, the Puerto
Galera Race, and the Blue Gavel Cup.

In 1998, the MYC organized the historic Acapulco – Manila Galleon Commemorative
Regatta, a racing event that starts from Mexico to the Philippines.

At present, the club, headed by Commodore Peter Capotosto, remains a
bastion of political and business leadership. It is the frequent dining
site of stalwarts and tycoons who freely exchange news and gossips about
Manila’s high society. Recently, Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Singson, a
club member, met the press here to tell the biggest news of all. The
news quickly spread from the seawalls of the Manila Yacht Club and surprised
the whole country.

Too bad, President Joseph Estrada is not a club member.

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