The Butuan Boat (Balangay)

The most well-known historical figure unearthed in Butuan is the Balangay also known as "The Butuan Boat". This historical discovery boasts the name of Butuan City.

This wooden boat was excavated in 1979 in northeastern Mindanao near the city of Butuan at a depth of about two meters and the original boat is said to have a measurement of about fifteen meters long and three meters wide across the beam. These boats were constructed using a very ancient technique. The planks were joined together edge-to-edge with the use of wooden pegs, and the hull is further made strong by bindings of fibre cords through holes in raised lugs on the inside surfaces of the planks - an ancient Southeast Asian method of boat-building. The wood of the boat has been dated to 320 A.D.

Called Balangay, a reference to the smallest political unit in Philippine society, these boats are evidence that early man in the Philippines was seafaring and was relatively technologically advanced. The discovery reveals too that there was already a contact and trade with areas outside of the Philippine islands as shown not only by the artifacts dating to this period that could only have come from other place, but is also suggested by the ability of local peoples in reaching outlying areas through the use of sea-going crafts.

Today this historical figure, Balangay 1 lays at the Balangay Shrine Museum in Ambangan, Libertad five kilometers east of the city proper and so far, nine (9) balangays have been documented to exist. The National Museum excavated three of these boats while the rest are still waterlogged in specific sites in Butuan City.

About Butuan

The City of Butuan is the regional center of Caraga Region, is located in the northern part of Mindanao sprawling across the Agusan River. It is bounded to the north, west and south by Agusan del Norte, to the east by Agusan del Sur. It is said that before there was Philippines, there was already Butuan.

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