Friday, December 18, 2009

Balangay takes a Christmas break, will resume voyage next year

After more than 100 days, 41 ports, and 894 nautical miles of navigating the Luzon and Visayas islands, the Balangay is still on track to complete its voyage around the country in nearly 2010.

The Balangay, named Diwata ng Lahi, is now docked in Butuan City, the location of the original excavated ancient sea vessel and the first port for the 6th leg of the journey. It is currently undergoing repairs in the city after "marine borers" infested parts of the boat's planks, which were made form the native "apitong." The wood used in the construction of the Balangay was not chemically treated to replicate how the boat was made in ancient times.

When it starts its 2010 voyage, the Diwata will be joined by another balangay made in Butuan. From Butuan, the team led by Art Valdez, Kaya ng Pinoy founder and First Philippine Mount Everest Expedition team leader, will finisg the 6th leg in Ozamis  City.

Zamboanga City will be the last port to be visited on the 7th leg, right after stopovers in Oroquieta, Dapitan, Sindangan, Labason, Siocon, and Sibuco.

For 13 days, the Balangay team will complete the 8th leg, which includes Panubigan, Port Banga, Olutunga, Limbug Cove, Pagadian, Malabang, and Cotabato City. These stops have been strategically chosen based on the Balangay's maintenance and docking specifications.

For the last two legs, the boat replica will sail through Davao City, Saranggani Island and Bongao, among the 19 ports that comprise the latter part of its itinerary. The Voyage's last stop will be the town of Sibuto in Tawi-Tawi, situated at the tip of the Philippine archipelago.

"We look forward to immersing ourselves to the wonderful culture of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao. After witnessing the national pride enveloping our fellow Filipinos from Luzon and Visayas, the Balangay Team is optimistic that we will learn and know more of our southern heritage," said Valdez.

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A friend of mine, Fung, was able to join Team Balangay during their trip to Butuan. (Go ahead, click it!)


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