How were the Balangays Built?

How were the Balangays Built
How were the Balangays Built? | @nmenmindanao

How were the Balangays Built (Butuan Boats)?

THEY WERE SEWN! The Butuan Boats have planks EDGE-JOINED with wooden dowels and no metal fastenings. They were also built using the LASHED-LUG boatbuilding tradition which was once common in maritime Southeast Asia.

Each boat is approximately 15 meters from the prow to the stern and 3 meters across its widest. The technique involves joining and fastening the planks permanently with dowels, which are inserted through the holes bored into the sides of the planks. The frames that will support the boat are attached to lugs or “tambuko” which are regular protrusions carved from the planks. The lugs have holes to allow the cabo negro (Arenga pinnata Merr.) rope to be inserted to lash the frame to the planks.

Normally, a watercraft blueprint is needed to ensure that every detail and instruction is strictly followed to guarantee a first-class ship. However, Butuan boats are designed without the use of a blueprint. Amazing! right?

The details and instructions on how to make a boat are passed on from generation to generation for the preservation of knowledge. Indeed, Butuan boats represent the early Filipino boat-building intellect and seamanship expertise during pre-colonial times.

Since they were first unearthed, the Butuan Boats came to be popularly referred to as “balangay.” In 1987, President Corazon Aquino signed Proclamation No. 86 “declaring the balangays in the vicinities of Butuan City, National Cultural Treasures and the sites where these balangays are found archaeological sites.”
Read more about the Butuan Boats here:

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