…victory at sea…


Back during my first adventure to the Philippines in 2005, around the same time New Orleans was on the eve of being changed forever, I had cause to set foot upon a banca, which is another name for a boat in this country. Usually made of wood with a rigging of sorts lashed to its sides (I suppose to help from tipping over), this is a usual form of transportation on the water. All sorts of water. From rivers to the open seas. And the bigger the body of water doesn’t necessarily mean a bigger banca…

Now on this particular occasion, I had to take this mode in order to transport myself from the local airport to the island resort we were staying on. Not much choice here. But given the circumstance of the local airport (here we are standing on the runway), I couldn’t very well complain about getting into a boat afterwards.

 

Fast forward to today, where I again have the need to transport myself via banca as I am ferried once more from a larger island to a smaller island. Again, not much choice and I am used to it and besides, the boat is full.

Now comes the interesting part, where I actually pay somebody about $25 bucks to joyride around the island as if I’m on the New York Circle Line going around Manhattan. I take a look at the vessel and think to myself, oh well, it’s just like the ferry ride only a wee bit smaller and there’s more crew than passengers, which is good since I cannot swim.

I was okay until we met up with another banca whose captain gave us snorkeling equipment (yeah, like I was gonna do that!). The look he gave was a little disconcerting, however, and I wondered if it was a look like he either didn’t see many Black Americans or what the hell was I doing on this particular craft…like he knew something I didn’t. Maybe I was just imagining things…

We passed another banca full of people and we all waved; I realized then they were wearing something that we weren’t….life jackets (ours were somewhere in the bottom of our boat).

Then we chanced to pass one of those magnificent sailboats – I felt better because at least we had a motor. But the clouds were beginning to thicken and I could see other bancas full of people going the other way. I realized, of course, that they were heading towards the shore while we were going out to sea.

As the skies were getting a little darker and the rain drops were hitting me on my forehead,  I was thankful to have brought along my storm gear to protect the camera. But I was still a little nervous and seeing this dot bobbing in the water in front of our boat didn’t help much, until I saw the size of their banca (which I couldn’t quite make out; it looked like the raft Huck Finn used to sail the Mississippi). I saw then that we weren’t as bad off as these guys. Instantly I’m feeling better because we’re in a bigger banca than they are, and we’re out in the middle of the sea!

But I can’t swim and we’re out in the middle of the freakin’ sea.

I know, I said that already. And we made it, or else I wouldn’t be here to write this.

As always, use your mouse to click on each photo to get a caption/further description of each image. All images except the first were taken around Boracay Island, in the Aklan Province of Panay Island in the Philippines’ Western Visayas Region; the first was taken on the runway at the El Nido Airport on the Palawan Province in the southern Luzon Region.

Until next time!

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