The Balangay Will be the Philippines’ National Boat

The Balangay Will be the Philippines' National Boat

Here’s something for culture buffs: the balangay, which was first mentioned in the 16th century, will now be the Philippines national boat.

The House of Representatives has approved the third and final reading of a bill declaring the balangay to be the national boat.

Under House Bill 6366, the state should “promote nationalism, appreciation, and pride in the cultural and historical heritage of the nation, including national symbols of the country, which embody its ideals and tradition.”

The bill states:

The balangay is hereby declared as the National Boat of the Philippines. It refers to the prehistoric edged, plank-type of boat discovered and excavated in the city of Butuan.

The bill was authored by Reps. Frederick Abueg, Nicasio Aliping, Erlpe Amante, Leopoldo Bataoil, Lawrence Fortun, Ibarra Gutierrez, Marie Ann Pernes, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, and Arthur Yap.

Agencies that worked on the bill were The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCHP), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Museum, Department of Education and other concerned agencies. They will also enforce the rules once it is enacted into law.

The balangay is the oldest watercraft found in the Philippines. Nine balangay were accidentally discovered by Butuan locals while searching for gold. Three have been preserved while the six are left in their original waterlogged condition, which is considered the best way to preserve them.

In 1987, they have been declared by then president Corazon Aquino as National Cultural Treasures by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 86.

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