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Balangay: Filipino’s Ancestral Tradition Lives On

The Balangay (also balanghai) is an ancient water vessel used by Austronesians, believed to be of Filipino ancestry, in trading and migration before the Spaniards. This is where the baranggay word we know today, meaning smallest form of government was derived.

Early this year, The Kaya ng Pinoy Inc., attempted something unimaginable. It replicated the balangay and sailed on it, with the mission to "retrace the migration of our ancestors across the oceans using only the native Balangay, built faithful to the craftsmanship and materials used during the ancient times."

The team will use navigation methods sincere to the earliest mariners - steering by the sun, the stars, the wind, cloud formations, wave patterns and bird migrations. They are composed of the first Filipino mountain climbers who have reached the peak of the world's tallest mountain, Everest, declaring that with hard work, discipline and clearness of mind towards a vision, the Filipino can.

Filipinos' hunger for heroes

“The people in every port warmly welcomed us. Nakakawala ng pagod lalo na when you [You lose your fatigue, especially when you] see the kids in the shoreline waiting for you,” said leader Art Valdez in an article of Inquirer.

Valdez also hopes that their expedition will stir up maritime consciousness and help boost the tourism industry in the country.

Asked about their experience journeying with the balangay, he shares his realizations. “We're in a paradise. Our country is so beautiful. Through the pictures that we have in our website, we wanted to show beauty of the Philippines,” said Valdez.

And as the crew set sail once again, they are not only promoting the Philippines through tourism locally and globally, they are also inspiring Filipinos, especially the young ones that we can dream things for our country because we have a colorful and rich past we should NEVER forget. Having successfully replicated something as old as our history is a tough feat, and single-minded in determination to reach it is a story not so many people hear about this days in our country.

Bigger territory

Balangay, which is named Diwata ng Lahi, further aims to reach other Southeast Asian countries as soon as it finishes its journey around the Philippines, including Sabah Malaysia, Brunei, Kalimantan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia Peninsular, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan.

References: Balangay: A journey to history
By Izah Morales First Posted 18:02:00 12/17/2009

The Voyage of the Balangay

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