I can't believe it! We have recreated the Balangay (the Philippines' ancient boat)! Aidan is sitting on a historic boat that is going to set sail on June 24 from CCP in Manila Bay to Tawi-Tawi. Don't miss the opportunity to visit this historic Balangay in CCP before it goes on its maiden voyage. Our Awesome Planet will feature the Balangay throughout its journey.
The Philippines has a rich maritime culture -- present even before the colonizers' arrival. Our ancestors viewed South East Asia as different islands connected by the sea, made accessible by the Balangay. When the Spaniards came, they tried to erase our maritime superiority by brainwashing the natives that it's not safe to go into the sea, which was part of their Divide-and-Conquer strategy.
Thanks to Art Valdez for recreating the awesome Balangay. Art is an undersecretary for the Department of Transportation and Communication. His claim to fame is that he is the visionary and driving force behind the Philippine Mount Everest team's dream of conquering Mt. Everest.
In May 2006, the team reached the summit of the Mt. Everest for the first time. Leo Oracion, Erwin "Pastor" Emata and Romi Garduce became the first Filipinos to reach the summit. The year after that, the Filipina team of Janet Belarmino, Noelle Wenceslao and Carina Dayondon successfully traversed Mt. Everest.
In June 2009, Art will set sail for the maiden voyage of the Balangay around the Philippines.
To better understand the significance of the Voyage of the Balangay, here is a photo-essay of the sequence of events leading to this maiden voyage. To be truly proud to be a Filipino, we must revisit our roots and proclaim our rich cultural history.