The historic voyage of the replica of the two (2) ancient boats “balangay” named “Diwata ng Lahi” and “Masawa hong Butuan” recently docked at Cagayan de Oro Port as part of her 6th leg of continuous journey around Philippine seas.

Also named Butuan Boat, the “balangay” was first mentioned in the 16th Century in the Chronicles of Pigafetta, and is known as the oldest Pre-Hispanic watercraft found in the Philippines.

Remnants of around eight (8) ancient balangay boats were excavated in 1978 in Butuan City and Agusan Del Norte. The oldest boat that was dug was carbon-dated at 320 AD, a proof of evidence of pre-Hispanic Filipino civilization.

In 1987 Former President Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation 86 which declared the Balangay boat as national cultural treasures and the site where they were discovered as archaeological site.

The boats left Butuan City for the second phase of its voyage on Wednesday, Feb. 4, passing Gingoog City and Balingoan port in Misamis Oriental, then Benoni port in Camiguin Feb. 7 before going to Cagayan de Oro.

After Cagayan de Oro they will pass Initao town, port in Iligan City, and the cities of Ozamis and Oroquieta in Misamis Occidental.

Before sailing to Cagayan de Oro, the balangay passed by at Mantigue island, also part of Mahinog in Camiguin.

The 20-man sailing team is composed of members of the successful first Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition, namely, Leo Oracion, Erwin “Pastour” Emata, Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon, Janet Belarmino-Sardina, the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Coast Guard, and some Badjaos who built the balangay.

The team navigated on the same method that was used by the earliest mariners: steering by the sun, the stars, the wind, cloud formations, wave patterns and bird migrations.

They would only sail during the day and dock on various ports or islands that they will pass by during the night.

Once the Mindanao adventure is completed in March, the next phase of the voyage will be throughout Southeast Asia. The expedition is set to last until 2013.

photo from Mindanao Current

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