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Text By: Jorge B. Navarra – Butuan Global Forum
In the morning of January 21, 2011, “Balangay MASAWA HONG BUTUAN” arrived in Sangley Point after more than an hour of sailing in Manila Bay from CCP Harbour Square. The crew was privileged to have on board the following guest passengers: Laurice Guillen-Feleo, her daughter Ina Feleo, Bibsy Carballo, Behn Cervantes, Nestor Torre, his mother Isabel Urbina-Torre, Nestor’s niece Angeli and nephew John, Djanin Cruz and brother Bodie Cruz (children of Tirso Cruz III), and TV reporters from Manila and Hongkong.
“Balangay MASAWA HONG BUTUAN” is returning to its home port in Luna Compound, Barangay Bading in Butuan City. “Balangay SAMA TAWI-TAWI” is escorting MASAWA HONG BUTUAN all the way to Butuan. The first balangay replica to be built for the Voyage of the Balangay, “Balangay DIWATA NG LAHI”, has been transferred to Coast Guard headquarters where it will undergo processing as a boat relic exhibit in the National Museum.
The three balangays went on an epic journey to 8 countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, covering a total distance of more than 14,000 kilometers and encountering about 14 storms and typhoons at sea. The balangay flotilla stopped over in 122 ports of call (not counting places previously visited). Big crowds welcomed the balangays and the crew of 37 men and 3 women.
A grand welcome awaits “Balangay MASAWA HONG BUTUAN” during its arrival on February 4, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. in the PPA pantalan (port) in downtown Butuan City. The Butuan-built balangay is returning to the home of the balangay boats – BUTUAN!