Balangay Survives Risky Waves Enroute to Davao

From:    Mindanao Times

Date:     April 13, 2010

By:          Emilord P Castromayor

The historic voyage of the balangay almost did not make it to Davao City due to bad weather conditions.


“The waves were all over the place, the route to Davao is very difficult. I almost thought we wouldn’t make it but we banded together,” said the leader of the Balanghay mission, Transportation and Communications Usec. Arturo Valdez. Climate change has changed the sea conditions.


Valdez said they were advised to start sailing at 1 a.m. by his weatherman. “We followed him so we can get here in Davao,” he said.


The wooden replica of the ancient ship was not in good condition when it arrived in Davao City yesterday. The strong waves snapped the rope forcing the crew to go back to Malabinuang, Jose Abad Santos. They eventually fixed the ship in Malita, Davao del Sur.


At around 11:15 the balangay docked at Sta. Ana Wharf, where they were greeted by government officials and eager spectators.


There were a 30 total members of the crew, 13 members from the Coast Guard, four from the navy, five members from Sama, Tawi-tawi and eight from the members of Everest team. Aside from Valdez, the “Diwata ng Lahi” core crew consists of members of the Philippines Mt. Everest team: Erwin Pastor Emata, Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon, Leo Oracion, Janet Belarmino-Sardena, Dr. Ted Esguerra, Fred Jamili and Dr. Voltaire Velasco.


“This modest gesture expresses the collection support of the Dabawenyos to Kaya ng Pinoy, Inc. in the noble venture reliving a significant part of our glorious history where our ancestors had used an ancient boat balangay in their journey to the different parts of Asia, said Commander Commo Linoh Dabi of the Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao in his speech.


The next port of call of the Kaya ng Piny expedition will be going to Zamboanga City.


Last September 2009, the group left Manila, sailing throughout the country with the help of nature-based navigational techniques such as sun, star, cloud formation, wind and etc.


The crew of the balanghay will hope to circumnavigate Southeast Asian nations by 2010, and to reach Micronesians nations and Madagascar by 2011, in order to continue to navigate the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by 2012, and hopefully return to the Philippines by 2013.


The Diwata ng Lahi (Fairy of the Race), a replica of a historical balanghay wooded boat used by Indo-Malay families in their vast sea travel during pre-Hispanic times, sailed into the calm waters of the Dumaguete port Wednesday, on its way to Mindanao and beyond.


After two months and seven typhoons since we left Manila, we have arrived in Dumaguete, Usec. Valdez said, adding it was a lot easier for the original balanghay sailors to sail the seas then compared to their current voyage.


For one thing, there was no one waiting for them at their destination to hold a [welcome] program, Valdez said with a laugh.