By Rey-Luis Banagudos

ZAMBOANGA CITY – In a coastal barangay located 35 kilometres from downtown Zamboanga City, one can witness a craft that has existed in the region since time immemorial – boat building.

The boatyard there is one of a handful that can be found along the city’s long coast, including on one island.

Since local pre-history the inhabitants have been building a great variety of wooden boats used for fishing, trading and rituals, among other things.

According to legend, the first royal datus in the country travelled by boat from Indonesia to establish pre-Islam and pre-Spanish sultanates in different parts of the archipelago.

Centuries ago, A Tausug sultan travelled by boat – likely a parao or long balanghai – to China to visit the kingdom’s emperor.

Tausug in English means ‘people of the current’. The Badjaos are called sea nomads, who until recent times lived in houseboats all their lives.

The Sangali boatyard is located in Sitio Malasugat, along a large cove where the Zamboanga Fishing Port Complex and an adjacent ship repair yard – a varadero – are also found.

The cove teems with many fishing boats that unload catches bound for the refrigeration plants of the complex, to be shipped out to other provinces in Mindanao or to be sold in local markets.

  • PNA