Balangay boats arrive in Singapore

Balangay boats arrive in Singapore
By Froilan Gallardo

The Balangay boats sail past Jurong Island or Shell Island off Singapore after completing a four- nation epic voyage across Asia from Davao City. Photo from MindaNews

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 September) — After sailing more than a thousand miles the small flotilla of frail wooden “Balangay” boats that embarked on an epic voyage across four nations in Asia arrived in Singapore last Sunday amid cheers from Filipino workers in the city state, Philippine officials yesterday said.

Dragon boats and jet skis manned by Filipino workers gave the boats a rousing welcome as they docked in Singapore around 11 am last Sept. 25, according to Neal Imperial, the Philippine consul general in Singapore.

“A simple salu-salo followed the presentation, giving the crew the opportunity to enjoy home-cooked Filipino fare such as pinakbet and liempo,” Imperial said in an email to MindaNews.

The official said Royal Singapore Yacht Club Commodore Tan Kay Toh, and Philippine Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz welcomed the 38 crew members of the Balangay flotilla.

“I did not know that many of the crew members are from Davao City,” said Imperial whose family hails from the same city.

The flotilla led by the “Diwata ng Lahi” started the Asian journey after leaving Davao City last April 12.

Imperial said the arrival of the frail wooden boats enthralled residents of Singapore. He said their arrival was featured by two of Singapore’s top TV networks, Channel 5 and Cable News Asia.

The boats will leave Singapore this morning and will proceed to Thailand and then to Vietnam in time for the 17th ASEAN Summit on October 18. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

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  • UP nn grad ,

    It is actually very impressive that as long ago as 320AD, that some Filipino communities were already past using dug-out canoes and into sailing the seas in 12-meter and longer boats with clinker planks.

    • UP nn grad ,

      Why is the Balangay described as frail? Weren’t the Filipino boatbuilders of years ago able to build sturdy seaworthy vessels that can cross 500 nautical miles of ocean?

      How frail is the vessel? Can it handle 5-feet waves and over 10-know wind?

      • Felicity ,

        @UP nn grad – Good point.