Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the images to view the 360-degree VRs. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 2.2Mb each.
I found myself in Erik Lacson’s car speeding towards Sangley Point, Cavite City on an impromptu decision that day after seeing the balangay off in CCP grounds for the start of its maiden voyage. It was a decision that I never regretted.
The weather that morning was radiantly sunny like the day before. The sky was in a deepest blue, and crystal clear. A slight breeze was coming from the west and temperature was on a steady increase as we approached mid day.
When I arrived on the site, a sizable crowd and well-wishers from sponsors and supporters were already gathered. The sent-off ceremony was brief and simple; highlighted by a few speeches and a prayer for safe voyage.
As before, the balangay crew paddled their way out of the make-shift dock, the birthplace of the boat for the very last time, a moment of excitement and serendipity. Sails were unfurled as they passed the breakwaters of Manila Bay and from then on, the journey of a dream has indeed begun.
It took the Diwata ng Lahi about 3 hours to transverse the distance from CCP to Sangley amidst strong waves and wind.
Upon arrival at their first waypoint, the crew was welcomed by a group of maritime students, a navy band, and representatives of both Philippine Navy and Coast Guard. A light lunch followed by a tour of Fort San Felipe, an old Spanish fortification that interestingly features a balangay exhibit. After which, the crew set-off to Ternate and we returned to Manila with plans of joining her other ports of call.