By: Arturo Valdez
April 12: It was a leisurely cruise towards Sta Ana Port of Davao City. A fast patrol craft of the Navy Swag, Naval Forces-Eastern Mindanao met and escorted the Balangays midway along the channel and was joined by Philippine Coast fast crafts near the port. As we undertook docking maneuver, the 10th Infantry.
Battalion marching band played and performed an exhibition number to signal our arrival. The welcome party was composed of Philippine Coast Davao District head Commodore Lino Davi, officials from the Philippine Navy and Marines, the City Administrator Marcelino Escalada together with the various City Department Heads, our partner national agencies like DA, DENR, DOT, DILG, DoTC, DND and DepEd, the local tri-media, mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts, and well-wishers coming from the Davao City.
The tri-media had fully covered our stop-over raising a high level of awareness on the Balangay among the populace. Wherever we were, everyone talked about the ancient balangays.
We can feel the warmth and hospitality of the place. Rather than depart on Saturday April 17, I rescheduled our departure for Malita on Monday April 19 to attend the flag raising ceremony at the City Hall. Somehow, I am going thru the same experience by our Austronesian forebears whenever they hit land. If the place is hospitable, and can provide comfort and food to them and their families, they stay a bit longer. If otherwise, they just stay overnight and continue their journey. I guess that aptitude slowly creeps in my consciousness.
The local tri-media had really reported our activities on a daily basis, putting us in their banner stories for their front pages for days since April 12.Here is one editorial of Sun-Star Davao written by their editor-in-chief Stella Estremera I thought should be reprinted here.
EDITORIAL – April 14
“IISANG BANGKA TAYO”
“The port visit of the two balangay boats of the “Voyage of the Balangay” project is a timely reflection on the mess we have made of our country.
The two boats, the 15-meter Diwata ng Lahi and 24-meter Masawa Hong Butuan, completed its run of Philippinecoastlines with its arrival at the Sta Ana Pier last Monday.
The smaller Diwata ng Lahi came all the way from Manila while Masawa Hong Butuan was made in Butuan and is the local community counterpart in this fulfillment of a dream-cum-epic voyage.
The team, composed of a ragtag army of mountaineers, navy seals, coast guard special teams, Butuan and Davao crew, and a team of Sama Dilaya (commonly known as Badjaos although this is regarded as a disparaging name for the tribe) master boatmakers, and the Philippine Mt Everest team comprise the crew of the “Voyage of the Balangay” by the “Kaya ng Pinoy” Inc. – the same people behind the summiting at Mt Everest, both male and female teams.
The balangay boats are here for a shortlay-over before the team retraces its deep south route down Davao del Sur. Sarangani, Cotabato… on their way to Zamboanga so the team can exit to Tawi-Tawi and then proceed with the Southeast Asian voyage expected to be capped by the balangays’ port call in China on June 9, 2010, weather permitting, for the 35th anniversary of the
Philippine-China diplomatic relations.
The voyage is not just an ordinary adventure, nor is it just an experiment to relive how our forefathers scoured the maritime routes of the world, but it will take longer than an editorial to relate what the voyage is all about and wants to achieve. Let’s just stick to what team leader Art Valdez, the anchor of the
Mt Everest Team, says the voyage symbolizes.
“What we are doing, reaching the summit of Mt Everest, and having set the record of having three women traverse the world’s highest mountain, a record held only by seven other men of different nationalities is but a symbol,” the former undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication said. “It is symbolic of what the Filipinos can do if they put their acts together and reach for the stars.”
By having accomplished what they have set out to do, every Filipino no longer needs to spend so much to reach Mt Everest nor stay in the sea so long just to ride the similar balangays equipped with bare necessities. Rather, every Filipino can just hold these achievements as their inspirations on what the Filipino people can do if they attend to their undertakings with “passion, performance and strength”.
The ragtag team of crewmen has been through the roughest waters, even meeting three major typhoons at sea, but they arrived in Davao City, also as a symbol of their having ended their Philippine run.
On land, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD is disintegrating; political leaders are leaving their parties and changing loyalties like rats on a sinking boat. While the “Kaya ng Pinoy” boats sail on in harmony with nature, urging us who still believe in the Filipinos; that yes we can, but we can only do so if we work together.”
Briefly, these were our activities
while in Davao City;
11:30 AM – Welcome ceremony at Sta Ana Port, Davao City
12:30 PM – Lunch at the Port hosted by joint-welcome party
7:00 PM – Dinner hosted by the City of Davao
11:00 AM – Sailed and docked at Holcim’s wharf
11:30 AM – Welcome ceremony and lunch hosted by HOLCIM’S Davao City
Evening – rest at HOLCIM’S Guest House
9:00 AM – Visit and Courtesy call to the Naval Forces-Eastern Mindanao-Commodore Soria
11:00 AM – Visit and Courtesy call to Lt Gen. Raymundo Ferrer-AFP-Eastern Mindanao Command
12:30 PM – Sail and lunch at Blue-Jazz Beach Resort, Samal Island
5:00 PM – Docked at Sta Ana Wharf
9:00 AM – Symposium for personnel of Naval Forces-Eastern Mindanao at Felix Apolinario -Camp Panacan, Davao City
6:30PM – Dinner hosted at Bacolod Chicken House by Bernie Guirgen
7:00 AM – Tree planting organized by City CENRO along the banks of Davao River.
Transfer of billeting from UCCP Dorm to DENR Olokinai Hall.
6:30 PM – Dinner hosted by PCG Davao District at Sasa PCG Base – Commodore Lino Davi
Repairs of Diwata “bahay kubo” and replenishments of supplies for the trip back to Zamboanga City.
April 18, 2010
Received and port briefing for guests and visitors at Sta. Ana wharf.
8:00 AM - Flag raising ceremony at Davao City Hall
9:00 AM – Brief departure ceremony at Sta Ana wharf
9:30 AM – Depart for Malita, Davao del Sur