Iisang Bangka Tayo

From:    Sun Star Davao (Editorial)

Date:     April 14, 2010

Title:      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 Philippine coastlines 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 government unit’s counterpart in this fulfillment of a dream-cum-epic voyage.


The team, composed o a ranging army of mountaineers, navy seals, a coast guard officer, 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) 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 short lay-over before the team retraces its deep south route down Davao del Sur, Sarangani, Cotabato… on their way back 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 in time 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 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 for so long just to ride similar balangays equipped with very 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 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.