German vessel to join Sinulog fluvial parade
(The Freeman) - December 20, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — A 76-year-old former German navy vessel and now the largest sailing ship of Switzerland named Fleur de Passion will be among the participants in the Sinulog 2018 fluvial parade.

The 33-meter long Swiss sailboat arrived in Lapu-Lapu City last Tuesday, December 19.

According to Andrea Reichlin, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Philippines, they are very proud to be part of the parade this coming Sinulog.

"(We are here) to participate in the Sinulog in January, in the (fluvial) parade. We are very proud of this," she said.

"We are very happy to be here in Cebu and to have the biggest Swiss sailing boat with us to celebrate Christmas and New Year," she added.

Samuel Gardaz, the Vice President of Fondation Pacifique, said that the boat will be open for the public between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

"The boat will be open for public visits. We will have the first session between Christmas and New Year's Eve," he said.

He also said that the project Fondation Pacifique is open to everyone who wants to be a crew or passenger.

"It doesn't require any skill," he said.

The Swiss sailboat left Sevilla, the province of Seville in Spain, and started its four-year voyage around the world to follow the track Ferdinand Magellan took to find spices but instead had an expedition.

The Ocean Mapping Expedition aims to help raise and spread awareness through observation and understanding of the challenges that resulted from the human impact on the environment.

This also aims to make human beings reflect about their relationship with the 'planet ocean.'

According to Gardaz, the sailboat has already visited 15 countries.

"I think I should have the right figure, but I think we visited 15 countries including Spain, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, French Polynesia, Fiji, Australia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines," he said.

In early January, the boat will leave for two weeks to navigate around the region and will be back in Cebu on the 20th of January in time for the Sinulog fluvial parade.

Reichlin said this will be her first time to join the Sinulog.

This is also the first time that a foreign boat joins the fluvial parade.

Gardaz, on the other hand, is also proud that they will be part of the Sinulog next year.

"I was told that would be the first time ever that a boat from another country comes and take part in the Sinulog and we are very proud of it and we hope that we can add to the festival," he said.

The sailboat has the statue of the Child Jesus on its deck.

They chose Lapu-Lapu City as their first stop as the place is very significant in Magellan’s expedition. (FREEMAN)

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