Balangay boats arrive in city

From:    Sun Star Davao

Date:     April 13, 2010

Title:      Balangay boats arrive in city

Caption: BALANGAYS IN TOWN. The two balangays, of Balangay Voyage, arrive at the Sta. Ana Pier yesterday with Dabawenyo and Mt. Everest conqueror Erwin Pastor Emata among the crew. The team led by Art Valdez, left Manila Bay on September 11, 2009 and had just been from Digos, Davao del Sur, and the Island Garden City of Samal. (Seth Delos Reyes)


The “Diwata ng Lahi” (Fairy of the Race), a replica of a balangay, pre-colonial boat, arrived here yesterday in the last left of a nationwide expedition that started with its launch in Manila in July last year.


The wooden-hulled 50-foot boat and its crew of Filipino adventurers who conquered Mt. Everest will dock at the Holcim Philippines, Inc. pier around 10 a.m. for a two-day stay. Its last port of call was General Santos City where it underwent repairs.


Diwata ng Lahi is a special project Kaya ng Pinoy (The Filipino Can) Foundation in partnership with Holcim Philippines Inc.


The project aims to enhance awareness on marine and coastal protection and the expedition will provide medical assistance to poor coastal communities, teach disaster preparedness, help protect endangered coral reefs, and plant mangrove trees to protect fragile marine life.


Holcim Philippines Inc. led by operations managers Kevin Hughes and the Barangal Council of Ilang headed by Barangay Captain Romeo Cabling will welcome the crew led by Arturo T. Valdez and composed among others Everest expedition team members Leo Oracion, Erwin Pastor Emata, Janet Belarmino-Sardena, Carina Dayondon, Noelle Wenceslao, Dr. Ted Esguerra, and Fred Jamili.


The Diwata ng Lahi – a replica of the wooden-hulled boast used in the archipelago about 1,700 years ago – was built in Manila in 44 days by native Badjao boat-builders from the southernmost Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi using traditional skills handed down through the generations.


The expedition has already made more than 70 port calls from the northern to southern Philippines in seven and half months, covering a distance of more than 2,000 nautical miles (3,900 km).


The crew includes seafaring Badjao tribesmen who help navigate the boat by taking reference from the Sun, the stars, the wind, cloud formations, wave patterns and bird migrations.


After its Philippine voyage, Diwata ng Lahi is set to begin its Southeast Asian tour after its call in Davao City.