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Date Posted: 09/07/09

Departure Day

By: Arturo Valdez

Finally, its departure time for the Balangay from the safe confines of Manila Yatch Club Marina into the unknown.  The Voyage of the Balangay is a journey into history as we aim to retrace the movement of our Austronesian speaking ancestors and stir up maritime or even historical consciousness among our people.

It was a simple but well attended departure
ceremony mostly attended by people and sponsors who kept faith in this epic
journey. I can’t mention all of them but most prominent is the Tao’s family of
companies headed by Jun Sy and assistant Lani Chua, Charlie Agatep, Holcim’s
Ian Thawckery , Jollibee’s  Ato Tanmantiong and Gold Tantoco, Capt. Vic
del Prado of FAME/JMG/Soname, CCP’s Tess Rances, Butuan’s Jody Navarra.Coleman,
Smartlink, Energizers and Spot Trackers executives, to mention a few
among many others.

Representatives from our government partners
like DA, DOTC, DENR, DND (Phil Navy), DILG, DOT, Dept Ed, PCG, Marina, PPA,
National Museum made up the rests.

We paddled our way out of CCP at 9am until we
lift our sail to welcome the morning breeze of Manila Bay. Riding with us were
Dr. Voltaire Velasco (NASA based Team Everest weatherman) ABS CBN Abner Mercado
and Phil Daily Inquirer DeeJay and photographer Rem. It took us 4 hrs to reach
Fort San Felipe arriving at 1PM and warmly welcomed by a Navy band and
schoolchildren of Sangley. Naval base Commodore LosBanes provided snacks of
pancit Malabon and malagkit na suman and cold drinking water. We had a brief
tour of the historic Fort. Voltaire, Abner and the Inquirer’s reporters
disembark at Fort San Filipe.

Voltaire immensely enjoyed the ride and will
proudly show the stills and video shots he took to his sailing instructor
abroad.

Sailing out of Canacao Bay was smooth and
swift but we encountered strong winds and current when we got out into the
open. We did some tacking maneuvers but did not gain enough progress against
current, waves and headwind.

It was a bumpy ride all the way to Ternate.
Fortunately, the Balangay was under the watchful care of a Navy patrol craft
escort. They ensured that we will reach Ternate safe and sound before they
pulled out back to Sangley.

It was a baptism of rough sailing and a good
learning experience on our first day at sea. The Balangay performed well under
Habagat heavy swell and seas induced by typhoon Labuyo.

We hit land at 8:30PM and in spite arriving
late; Baranggay Capt Gomez of Dalaroy, Caloy, Ternate’s Mayor executive
assistant, together with Emmet of Team Ventures and our Everest members Carina,
Janet and Lito warmly welcomed us with bonfires and hot meals. The marching
band and schoolchildren left earlier after waiting for hours of our arrival.
The welcome ceremony was very brief as the famished  crew readily partake
with the sumptuous dinner.

It was a momentous first day for the Balangay
and after a brief review of what transpired for the day, we retreated to our
sleeping quarters dead tired..
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