together with pearl divers, and the Badjao boat dwellers, form the romance of the Sulu
seas. The vinta's colorful sail decorates many a picture of southern Philippine sunsets
beckoning the adventurous at heart to the joys and wonder of riding big waves.
Actually, the vinta is not safe for long
ocean travel. It is a very small and unsteady sailboat, used only for short trips on days
with normal breezes. Vinta is how the sailboat is called by the maritime people of the
Sulu archipelago. Some say it may be a name coined by the Spaniards.
The boat is more commonly known as lepa-lepa
or sakayan. The bigger boats used got crossing high seas are the kumpit and
sahpit or the Indonesian parao. The sahpit is used as a large
houseboat or for transportating cargo. The kumpit is notoriuous as the official carrier of
sumgglers in the south and is said to outpace Navy patrol boats because of its powered
engine. Except for small fishing boats, most boats in the high seas of Sulu have motors.
The parao is fitted with an inboard Volvo engine and is widely known now as
"volvo". Vintas with very colorful sails still abound along some seashores,
especially of seaside resorts, for tourists who want a bit of romance and adventure.
Zamboanga hosts a vinta regatta each year. A fleet of vintas crosses the close to 23
kilometer wide Basilan Strait. Watching the regatta can be a romantic adventure in itself.
Source: Filway's Philippine Almanac
Images from Traveler's Companion: Philippines