via Cebu Daily News, 16 February 2020: The legacy of the balangay boats of the Philippines, including the archaeological evidence for these boats and recent expeditions to sail the Philippine seas in replicas.
On Dec. 17 last year, two wooden boats docked at the port of nearby Nasipit town, in Agusan del Norte province, the modern gateway for goods and people in the Caraga region. They had earlier sailed from Palawan to Cebu in time for the launching of a 500-day countdown to the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan next year.
The 18-meter and 21-meter boats are replicas of the “balangay,” a vessel used by mariners of an ancient civilization that developed along the mighty Agusan River during the third century. These balangay are navigated through the way of ancient mariners by relying on the position of the sun and stars, wind direction, cloud formations, wave patterns and bird flights.
Tapping the traditional navigational methods would, in a way, “resurrect the seafaring spirit of our forefathers,” leading people to appreciate “what [they were] are capable of doing, … as adventurous seafarers and discoverers,” said Arturo Valdez, who led the crew.