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Date Posted: 10/04/09

Stranded in Boracay (Sept 30 - Oct 4)

By: Arturo Valdez

Dr Ted Esguerra continued his refresher-training for Disaster Management Course among the Boracay Island Disaster Reaction Team made up of the LGU, PCG, PNP and other volunteers group. Everyone was interested because of the disaster caused by Typhoon Ondoy. The attached pictures at our photo gallery described the activities of the training course.

Meanwhile, our place of anchor dried up during low tide giving us the opportunity to inspect and undertake hull repairs of the Balangay. Two months of stay in the polluted waters of Manila Bay from June 27-Sept 1 took its toll on the first two planks from the keel of the boat. 'Tamilok' or wood worms thriving best in polluted waters had managed to bore inside the wood planks. We had to use kerosene blow torch to heat the wood and hope to kill the 'tamilok' inside. Perhaps, I can have this replaced with new planks when we dock at Butuan where wood is more available and the Badjao carpenters can assist while finishing work for the Butuan Balangay.

Some water proofing works had to be applied on some leaks between planks but this was very minimal. I am more concerned on the damage to the planks by the 'tamilok.'

To strengthen the hull, we added horizontal beams rather than simply rely on the ribs lashed on the wooden lugs. Now, the Balangay is partly made in Boracay.

We also unloaded everything to spruce up and bathe Diwata to give her a clean up look

All the crew busied themselves in the clean up work to make the most while waiting for Typhoon Pepeng to exit. While the waters facing the Long Beach bore the brunt of the Habagat whipped by the super typhoon, we were quite lucky to find a protective cove in Sogod, Barangay Manok-Manok for shelter. On Sept 2, the place was filled up with motorized banca and even two RORO vessels anchored at the mouth of the cove- all seeking shelter from Typhoon Pepeng. By Sept 3, with the coast clear, the cove was emptied with vessels as everyone went their normal businesses of providing transport and leisure in the island. We decided to move the Balangay at Bolabog beach, site of the island water sporting activities. Seeing the multi-colored sail of the Balangay on its way to the beach made everyone stopped and waved sign of welcome.

Meanwhile, in between work and assignments, the crew made the most of the island paradise as “tourists.” The attached pictures showed that indeed the Balangay Team had a grand time and would not mind stranded for days in Boracay.

Mindful that Typhoon Pepeng is already moving north, northeast of Ilocos region plus the threat of another typhoon in the Pacific, we opted to leave Boracay on Sept 5 for Ibajay, Aklan. The narrow window of 2-3 days of improved weather between these typhoons will give us the chance to move on to our next destination. Originally, we targeted the Kalibo-Batan area but it is almost 80 kms away and we are not sure if the Balangay can make it before sundown. We decided instead to make the town of Ibajay a port/stop. Janet and the advance team had made contact with the Mayor of Ibajay and the usual activities at every port/stop are all ready, eagerly waiting for the arrival of the Balangay.

It is also to our comfort that while sailing southeast; the island of Panay will serve as a buffer against the strong winds of the southwest monsoon still kept alive by the series of tropical disturbances.

The weeklong stop-over in Boracay left memorable and lasting imprints among the crew especially for the first timers who personally witnessed and experience the beauty and wonders of one of our island’s paradise.In our 7days stopover, there were many agencies and organizations that provided us the comfort and hospitality but I will specially mentioned Boracay Beach Club of Ariel Abriam, Fairways and Bluewaters Country Club, the PNP Boracay Station, Boracay Coast Guard Station, the Dept of Agriculture, the DILG-LGU of Malay under Mayor Cawaling, DENR, DOT, Dept of Education and DOTC among the many who made the stay of the Balangay and its crew, unforgettable.


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