Reviving the Lost Art
The BALATIK (“constellation of Orion” in Hiligaynon, a language in the Western Visayas region) is our 74-foot long traditional paraw. The vessel, adorned with tribal carvings, has two outriggers and no deep keel — a design patterned after the cargo and passenger boats that navigated shallow reefs between Philippine islands over 1000 years ago. It took us two years and the shared knowledge of historians, craftsmen, and sailors to take this boat from our memories and back to the sea.
“Finding men to build the boat had been the initial hurdle. There were no blueprints or diagrams. Knowledge of boat-making was passed down from generation to generation, so they searched the Philippines to find three master carpenters who still remembered the traditional structure. After two years of research and building…they fulfilled their dream and successfully launched the largest paraw in the Philippines.” – The Guardian
Precolonial Philippine beliefs were animist, so building boats with timber often came with various rituals. Ancient boats were given anito (guardian spirits) and carved with tribal symbolisms. The Balatik is made of five different kinds of wood and was blessed by a tribal leader before its maiden voyage.