Feature: Balangay boat shines at the heart of Butuan
By Mike A. Imbo
Butuan City (1 February) -- The Balangay Boat named "Mazaua hong Butuan" was officially launched yesterday, Sunday, January 31, Sunday along the riverbank in Brgy. Bading, this city.
In a simple ceremony attended by state employees and the private sectors, the Butuan Boat-Building Committee proudly presented a "one-of-a-kind craft" that embodied the rich history and culture of the ancient kingdom of Butuan.
Prior to the launching at 8:00 in the morning, the newly-renovated Balanghai Museum in Brgy. Ambangan, Libertad here was also officially turned-over by Butuan Global Forum, Inc., a non-government organization, to the National Museum.
This is the culmination of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed by the National Museum in Manila and the Metro Manila Chapter of Butuan Global Forum, Inc. in May, 2009.
Upon launching unto the Agusan River from the boat-building site at the Luna Compound in Bading, Butuan City, Butuan's BALANGAY Boat will undergo sailing tests and final checks before joining the voyage to Southeast Asia. The two-boat flotilla will sail off from Butuan's Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) pier on February 4, 2010.
It was learned that the construction of Butuan's Balangay Boat is a joint project of Butuan Global Forum, Inc., Butuan Historical & Cultural Foundation, and Kaya Ng Pinoy Foundation. The boat was crafted by master boat builders from island of Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi.
The Butuan's Balangay Boat was supported by Butuanon communities all over the world through donations in cash, in kind and in services.
The initial budget for the boat-building project was funded by Butuan Global Forum Inc. with a total cost of P1.7 million worth of support activities like the kick-off symposium, streamers, flaglets, fencing of site, PR coordination, information and communication, etc.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Joesilo Amalla started the blessing ceremony assisted by Former USEC of DOTC Art Valdez, Team Leader of Balangay Voyage.
It was participated by the Banwaon, Manobo, and Talaanding Tribal Council with their special tribal dance.
According to Committee Chairman Greg Hontiveros in his speech, thousand years ago, the ancestors of the Filipino people, the Austronesians, traveled from the Asian Mainland by land bridges across the continental shelf to the South East Asian archipelago.
They then sailed onward to as far east as Polynesia, and as far as Madagascar, aboard the ancient vessel.
The voyage of the Balangay will showcase and challenge Filipino ingenuity and native survival skills in this modern age. (PIA-Caraga) [top]