In cooperation with the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Mt Everest Expedition team formally launches the Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation project dubbed as “The Voyage of the Balangay”. This event, held at the CCP Grounds on June 27, 2009, officially marks the start of the maiden voyage of the modern Balangay as it circumnavigates the globe. Former DOTC USEC Art Valdez leads the opening ceremonies of this event.
This voyage retraces the migration of our ancestors from mainland Asia to the Philippines using the native Balangay. Furthermore, the Balangay’s voyage reactivates the Filipino’s seafaring nature and rouses the people’s minds of rich heritage as a maritime nation. Aside from these goals, the Balangay and its crew will also visit 67 ports in the country to conduct coastal clean-ups, historical presentations, interact with local communities to foster unity and promote tourism around the country.
The crew, comprised of Philippine Mount Everest Team members Leo Oracion, Edwin Emata, Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon, Janet Belarmino-Sardena, Dr. Ted Esguerra, Fred Jamili and Dr. Voltaire Velasco, is joined by two enlisted personnel of the Naval Special Operations Group joins the crew of the Balangay. Aside from providing crew members, the Navy also transported 220 different kinds and sizes of lumber that was used in the construction of the Balangay.
The Balangay sets sail within Philippine waters this year on a tentative seven-leg journey that will take it to various ports around the world through celestial navigation methods. These methods include the use of heavenly bodies such as the sun, stars, cloud formations, wind, birds and wave patterns. Phase 1 of the journey will cover 2,108 nautical miles or 3,908 km. The projected timetable of the expedition will cover the Southeast Asian region by 2010, Micronesia and Madagascar by 2011, and navigate across the Pacific toward the Atlantic all the way around the world by 2012, and return to the Philippines in 2013.