Carvings – 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.
Design – “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: Jaime Maltos and Bernando Conche from Palawan, and Celso Conde, a boat builder from the Sulu sea to the east. After two years of research and building…they fulfilled their dream and successfully launched the largest paraw in the Philippines.” – The Guardian
Crew, Sail, and Sailing School – Island youngsters are keeping tradition alive by learning how to sail again.
Future – Wood from large forest trees are required to build boats. Over the past ten years, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has been working on using fiberglass in an innovative redesign of the bangka. A fiberglass bangka would still have two outriggers and no deep keep to allow it to float over the Philippines’s shallow reefs, but will be much safer and come with a more fuel-efficient engine.
Sail on the Paraw Voyage.