Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the images to view the 360-degree VRs. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 1.9Mb each.
After over a month since the balangays exited Philippine waters for the start of their Southeast Asia journey, I joined the crew in Batam Island, Indonesia once again and sailed to the tiny city state of Singapore.
Having arrived in Singapore days prior to the rendezvous due to the unpredictability of the voyage, I spent the time exploring some of the city’s iconic attractions, visited old friends, sampled the local cuisines, and shopped for electronics.
Getting news of the impending balangay arrivals to Nongsa Point Marina sent us packing for Batam Island onboard a fast ferry, leaving Singapore. The 60 minute ride of crossing the Singapore Strait to Indonesia was actually shorter than the time it took from our hostel to the ferry station.
From the Marina, we tracked the position of the balangays via GPS and saw the boat’s silhouette as they finally entered the marina under a full moon around 10pm on September 23rd.
The boats spent the following day provisioning while the crew enjoyed the creature comforts of the resort after their arduous 4-day voyage at sea.
At 6 in the morning on September 25, we set sail towards Singapore, crossing one of the busiest maritime highways of the shipping industry. With ships of all sizes, ranging from VLCCs (very large crude carriers) to fishing boats, the 3 wooden balangays with colorful sails and Philippine flags fluttering, proudly and carefully navigated its way in the Singapore Strait.
The flotilla arrived at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club a little past 11am for a rousing welcome led by Amb. Minda Cruz, officers of the yacht club, and the Filipino community in Singapore; setting another milestone, braving another foreign shore in proving yes, the Filipino can!
All VRs taken from September 21-25, 2010. The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org