Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Butuan has been experiencing a 4 hour power interruption everyday that starts on February 15, 2010, however, the situation became worst and on February 24, Butuan is in total blackout for 10 hours from 8:30 in the4 morning until past 5 in the afternoon.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has announced, the water level at Iligan area have reached on a critical level.

The whole area of Mindanao rely on hydropower plants and Butuan for the past 20 years, had a back up power using a power barge located at Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

But recently, it was transferred from another area as contract has already expired.

With the impending power shortage, there is an imminent need to continue supporting Earth Hour this year.

At 8:30pm on Saturday, March 27 some of the world’s most recognized symbols of hope, peace, human endeavour and natural wonder will plunge into darkness for Earth Hour as a powerful sign of the unrelenting resolve of the global community to respond to the threat of climate change.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Balangay Shrine, Renovated

The excavation site of 9 Balangay's and other archeological artifacts

a much improved glass casing for the Balangay

The Balangay, well preserved and a reminder of Butuan's pride

tiled floors

The Balangay Site Museum was repaired and renovated under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the National Museum and the Metro Manila Chapter of BUTUAN GLOBAL FORUM, INC.

The chapter provided the funds for the improvement project which was managed by the Butuan Historical & Cultural Foundation.

Former City Engineer Eddie Sanchez supervised the repair and renovation free of charge.

Currently, the National Museum is looking for partners which can undertake the rehabilitation of the Balangay Museum's comfort rooms, storage areas, perimeter fence and museum grounds.

Balangay Shrine is the repository of Balangays (Butuan Boats) that are similar to the contemporary (Badyaw)Sama Laut's lepa boat and the barangay boat described in 17th century A.D.

According to the book,"Patterns of the Past: The Ethno Archaelogy of Butuan," it is only in the Philippines where a flotilla of such prehistoric wooden boats exists throughout the world.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Voyage of the Balangay, Butuan's Pride

The 'Masawa Hong Butuan' (background) on her maiden voyage February 4 sailing together with 'Diwata ng Lahi'(foreground) along Butuan Bay enroute to Gingoog City. For easy identification, notice the blue stripes layag (sail) of Masawa Hong Butuan.(photos by Balangay Voyage)

The two Balangay's Diwata ng Lahi and Masawa Hong Butuan left Gingoog City Saturday morning (February 6, 2010), arrived safely at the port of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental before sundown.

Experiencing good weather condition, the Balangay's sailed at an average speed of 12 knots per hour.

However, unexpectedly one bayog (bamboo) suddenly broke of the mid-sails frame of Masawa Hong Butuan caused by strong winds.

A quick repair was made by the Balangay crew to Masawa Hong Butuan's mid-sail bayog upon reaching Balingoan port.

The Voyage of the Balangay continue sailing in the morning of February 7 enroute to the island province of Camiguin where they will spearhead a two-day activity before heading towards Cagayan de Oro City.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Balangay's Anchored Safely

Diwata ng Lahi and Masawa Hong Butuan will be Butuanons inspiration that despite hardships and trials, Yes, the Filipino can, Kaya ng Pinoy, Mahinang Hong mga Butuanon (photo from Michael Licup)

Voyage of the Balangay joined by Masawa Hong Butuan

Lumads made a ritual for a safe voyage

Father Joesilo Amalla blessed Team balangay and held a mass for a safe travel

An elaborate and heartwarming send-off ceremony was held in the morning of February 4 at PPA ground to the two Balangays as Voyage of the Balangay resumes its journey in the remaining areas of Mindanao with former DOTC Undersecretary Art Valdez heading the team composed of badjao’s from Tawi-Tawi and the Mt. Everest Team.

Father Joesilo Amalia, who is also a local historian held a mass and later blessed each of the crews for a safe travel.

Masawa Hong Butuan with Team Captain Art Valdez led the sailing moving slowly from PPA Port with Diwata ng Lahi not far behind.

The two flotillas was escorted by the City Disaster Coordinating Council, the coastguards and two motor banca’s following behind sending them off with people from riverside barangays waving Philippine flags shouting “Maayong Paglawig” (Von Voyage).

Balangay Masawa Hong Butuan as Kaya ng Pinoy described, made her shakedown and test and onward voyage all rolled into one along with the 'Diwata ng Lahi' at past 12 noon with almost 20 guest crews joining the maiden voyage from Butuan to Carmen in Agusan del Norte anchoring at 5 in the afternoon.

In the morning of February 5, the Balangay boats lifted anchor at 8:30 for Gingoog City continuing its 6th leg, consisting of Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Ozamis.

The Balangay, also known as Butuan Boat is the first wooden watercraft excavated in the late 1970’s in Butuan City and was radiocarbon tested and was dated at year 320.

The Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation launched in June of last year an undertaking that will retrace the migration the Filipinos’ ancestors across the oceans using only the Balangay, built by master carpenters from Sibuto, Tawi-tawi based on tradition used during the ancient times.

Inspired by the cause, Butuan Global Forum, Inc. and Butuan Historical & Cultural Foundation decided to build their own Balangay which started on December of last year with the same master carpenters from Sibuto.

Jorge Navarra of Butuan Global Forum clarified, that if the balangay's name was "KASAWA HONG BUTUAN", as a noun KASAWA could be taken to mean as Radiance or brightness.

Navarra added, "Masawa Hong Butuan" as put together simply means that MASAWA, the native name of the place that Pigafetta had written as "Mazzaua" or "Mazaua" where Magellan landed, is of Butuan - MASAWA belongs to Butuan, therefore the literal translation would be MASAWA OF BUTUAN.”

Butuan Global Fourm wants to emphasize the point as MASAWA in BUTUAN, or where the first blood compact and the first Easter mass was held.

Masawa Hong Butuan measuring 24.7 meters will be back in Butuan by December after the Voyage of the Balangay has successfully finished navigating the rest of Mindanao and parts of Southeast Asia.

The Voyage of the Balangay according to Art Valdez will be back to Manila early part of November, 2010.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pride of Butuan

kids on board Diwata ng Lahi while watching the launching of Masawa Hong Butuan

waving the Philippine flag, showing Butuan's pride. Balangay Team Leader Art Valdez encouraged Filipinos by saying 'Kaya ng Pinoy, while Butuanons proudly shouts 'Mahinang Hong mga Butuanon' as Butuan Global Forum, Inc led by its President Laurice Guillen and the Butuan Historical & Cultural Foundation with its President local historian Greg Hontiveros successfully made into realization the construction of the second Balangay christened Masawa Hong Butuan

whatever is the position and hardships, ready as always to cover the historic event

Bayanihan spirit, all in the name of Masawa Hong Butuan

made of Dungon Tree (yakal tree, Masawa Hong Butuan will mark another history putting Butuan in the limelight as she travels with Diwata ng Lahi on its epic Voyage to complete the Philippine mission and endeavors for the Southeast Asia.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Masawa Hong Butuan

"People of Butuan, you should be proud because in your veins run the proud blood of an Ancient Kingdom which you can tell to everybody, ‘we have a civilization long long long before', five times earlier before the coming of Magellan and the Europeans. I'm asking the people of Butuan you should realize that sense of pride, that you have such great inheritance as a people. I hope with the Balangay Project you will be together as a people to show to the whole country, that KAYA ng BUTUAN, KAYA ng PINOY” said former DOTC Undersecretary Arturo Valdez, Voyage of the Balangay Team Leader.

Masawa Hong Butuan crew Lemzar Manginsay

nearing the waters of Agusan River

Father Joesilo Amalla blessed Masawa Hong Butuan

The 7-ton Balangay tilted a little bit on its side as soon it touched the strong current of Agusan River, but with a little push Masawa Hong Butuan smoothly glide into the river with cheers from people who witnessed the historic event.

The 24.7-meter long Balangay christened Masawa Hong Butuan, was finally launched on January 31, 2010 into the waters of Agusan River at past 1 in the afternoon, almost the same time as the 20.12 meter long Diwata ng Lahi was launched into Manila waters in June of last year.

Masawa Hong Butuan will undergo test sailing on Butuan Bay before joining the newly repaired Diwata ng Lahi to continue the journey of the Voyage of the Balangay on February 4, 2010 for their 6th leg which is the Butuan- Ozamiz route and the first stop would be in Carmen, Agusan del Norte.

The two flotilla are set to sail to the ports of Cagayan de Oro City, Ozamis, Camiguin, Zamboanga, Davao, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, General Santos City, Sarangani and finally in Sibuto, Tawi-Tawi then off to Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

When the Voyage of the Balangay crosses Taipei it goes back to Batanes, Northern Luzon and will be in Manila by the end of October while Masawa Hong Butuan will be back in Butuan on December, 2010.

Mr. Greg Hontiveros, Chairman of the Butuan Boat Building Committee said the cost of re-creating the second Balangay is more or less 1.7 million pesos, spearheaded by the Butuan Global Forum, Inc supported by Butuan Historical and Cultural Foundation and the city government of Butuan.

Wood used in building the Masawa Hong Butuan which the Manobo’s from Barangay Binicalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur called the Dungon Tree, or Yakal tree as it is known by many was donated by the Banwaon Manobo Talaandig Tribe.