Jan 30, 2019

In the 1970s, nine prehistoric boats were excavated in Butuan Agusan del Norte. Made from hardwood like dungon, the boats were of edged-pegged plank style construction were determined to be the first and oldest wooden sailing vessel discovered in Southeast Asia, dating back up to 1,700 years ago.

Using only its sails, a balangay has a maximum speed of 10 knots. These watercraft are evidence that our ancestors were into seafaring and participated in overseas trading of goods, and ultimately culture. It is for this contribution that lawmakers are pushing to name it as the national boat.

House Bill No. 1177 introduced by Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Lemuel H. Fortun has been passed for a third and final reading last Tuesday. The bill originally filed in 2015 under the name HB 986 aims to “recognize the historical and cultural significance of the boat as well as the ideals, values, and traditions it represents.”

A similar bill authored by Sen. Antonio Trillanes in the Senate was filed in 2016 and has since been pending in the committee.

Last year, three replicas of this ancient boat voyaged from Poro Point in La Union to Xiamen, China to retrace the journey that Sultan Paduka Pahala of the Sultanate of Sulu embarked on to the Middle Kingdom in 1417.

Header photo courtesy of Inquirer.net

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TAGS: balangay house of representatives national boat