Friday, August 6, 2010

Sama Tawi-Tawi: Supply & Support Vessel Of Balangays

Another historical milestone for Butuan happened on July 16, 2010 when the 3rd Balangay boat was launched at Luna Compound, in Barangay Bading, Butuan City.
Christened Sama Tawi-Tawi, the boat functions as a supply and support vessel for the Balangay Diwata ng Lahi and Balangay Masawao Hong Butuan in their journey to the waters of Southeast Asia.

The design was patterned to the "kumpit", a trading and commercial boat of the Sulu Seas, made of wood with only a steel underbelly, having a dimension of 75 feet long, 15 feet wide and about 9 feet tall.

It also has an 85 horsepower diesel marine engine, kitchen, a bridge, sleeping quarters, enlarge storage bunks and two toilets.

The only similarity with the two other Balangays, Sama Tawi-Tawi has a mast near the bow to unfurl the colorful vinta-like sails, a famous symbol of the seafaring people of Mindanao.

Sama Tawi-Tawi, was named for the Sama people of Tawi-Tawi in Sibutu, who according to history is the last true bastion of the Badjao boat-builders.(photos by Sato Rayon, Butuan Balangay crew)

3 Balangays Off to Conquer Southeast Asia Seas

The pride of Butuan and Filipino people, credits to Fung Yu

Balangay Sama Tawi-Tawi credits to Ivy Amante

Balangay Diwata ng Lahi credits to Minda Ponce

Balangay Masawa Hong Butuan credits to Dr. Ted Esguerra

What was only a dream to recreate 1 Balangay to relive Philippine history turned out as an inspiration that 2 more were built and sailed towards international waters, hoping to reach China to become part of the World Expo 2010.

The 3-Balangays namely: Diwata ng Lahi, Masawa Hong Butuan and the latest is the Sama Tawi-Tawi have started their journey from Zamboanga port taking the 14,000 kilometer voyage to Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and China before going back to the Philippines.

"We want the balangays to not only be the source of unity for the country but also as a source of unity for the whole of Asia," said Art Valdez, team leader for The Voyage of the Balangay.

The Voyage of the Balangay started in Manila on September 1, 2009 and arrived in Zamboanga City on May 1 after 70 multi-port stopovers, covering 2,500 kilometers which lasted for 8 months.

The 3 boat flotillas are expected to reach Vietnam in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in September 2010.

The Balangays are also expected to dock in mainland China by mid-October for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

The World EXPO has provided an unparalleled opportunity for the tourism industry and an opportunity for Butuanons and the Filipino nation to feel with pride the message of Art Valdez who said: “We want the Balangays to not only be the source of unity for the country, but also as a source of unity for the whole of Asia.”

The theme of the exposition is "Better City – Better Life" and what it does to China hopefully will be trickled down to the Philippines....and perhaps to Butuan?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Masao Beach

El Rio de Butuan, now called Masao is the only beach in Butuan City known by its history as Magellan's Landing Site.

Every year on March 31, Butuan City celebrates MAZAUA DISCOVERY DAY to commemorate a historic milestone.

In 1995 a bill was filed by then Congresswoman Charito B. Plaza of Agusan del Norte claiming the Easter mass on March 31, 1521 was held at Butuan not Limasawa. The bill's contention was that the wooden boat called "balanghai" dug up at Butuan proved it was Mazaua.

The National Historical Institute officials "adopted" the finding of the Gancayco Panel which dismissed the Ginés de Mafra account as fake and forthwith unilaterally reverted the discussion to pre-de Mafra context which was back to whether the "site of the first mass" was Limasawa, the isle without anchorage, or Butuan, which is not an isle.

The NHI re-affairmed its previous pronouncements that Limasawa is Magellan's port.

Despite NHI's decision, Butuan Historians believes otherwise based on documents.