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Date Posted: 09/16/10

August 28, 2010 - Kuala Belait

By: Arturo Valdez

2:30 AM - Balangay flotilla enter Kuala Belait to seek shelter for the night negotiating the unfamiliar narrow channel. There's a full port operation under Shell Exploration inside. We anchored at a corner of the channel and reported to authorities. Learned that we re-entered Brunei territory and told to report the next day. Big problem because we were forced to seek shelter due to rough seas. Have decided to leave very early to avoid delay. Now lifted anchor and moving out again to open sea.

9:00 AM - For the first time we reached our port stop early in the morning. Janet and Pastor were around to guide us to the Miri Marina owned by Troy Yaw, one of the richest businessmen in Miri, who provided the comfortable facilities of the Marina to the crew for free. The biggest challenge however for the Balangays after two weeks of foreign travel, is the heavy traffic of vessels everywhere in our port stops. Without Sama Tawi-Tawi, Masawa and Diwata would have created scare among the criss-crossing vessels in every major ports, perhaps forcing harbor tug boats to pull the ancient boats from harms way.As I previously observed, modernity is the greatest threat to the ancient Balangays.Tougher to reach each port stop because of the weather the, rough seas, and heavy vessel traffic. But tougher are the protocols and documentations imposed by every state on every maritime vessel.
Our forefathers may not be able to travel these waters the way it was.

5:10 AM - Our 2:30 AM departure at Kuala Belait showed the challenges faced by the ancient Balangays to travel in modern world with its complex bureaucracy. Simply, modernity is the biggest challenge for the Balangays. Our forefathers may not be able to sail again the way it was. Authorities will hold them for clearances everywhere they anchored.
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