written by Guest Blogger Jocelyn E. Morano on February 3rd, 2010
The 24.7-meter long 2nd replica of Balangay christened Masawa Hong Butuan, was finally launched on January 31, 2010 witnessed by local and foreign tourists amidst the muddy ground of the Luna Compound in Barangay Bading, Butuan City and intense heat of the sun. Caraga and Butuan City proudly celebrated the historic launching of Balangay boat that comes to life.
Astoundingly, Masawa Hong Butuan glided into the Agusan River at past 1 in the afternoon almost the same hour when the 20.12 meter long Diwata ng Lahi was launched into Manila waters in June of last year.
It took more or less 3-hours, 2-backhoes and a lot of helping from the experts to lift the Masawa Hong Butuan from the muddy ground of its building site.
People screamed when 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 move smoothly into the river with cheers from people who witnessed the historic event.
In a very touching and inspiring message, former DOTC Undersecretary Arturo Valdez, Voyage of the Balangay Team Leader said in his speech, “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.”
Masawa Hong Butuan will be joining the newly repaired Diwata ng Lahi to continue the journey of the Voyage of the Balangay on February 4, 2010 for their Mindanao 6th leg which is the Butuan – Ozamiz route and the first stop would be in Carmen, Agusan del Norte.
After finishing the journey visiting ports of Mindanao, Voyage of the Balangay will begin its Southeast Asia travel before coming back to Manila by the end of October while Masawa Hong Butuan will be back in Butuan on December, 2010. This could be an astounding accomplishment of the peoples of Butuan and Caraga.
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.
photos courtesy from Jocelyn E. Morano