By Fung Yu
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 2.3Mb each.
My foot kept slipping from the palm-leaves covered roof of the "Diwata ng Lahi" as I tried to balance myself and the camera-tripod combination; any sudden jerk or misstep would mean the lost of the precious equipment to mighty Poseidon, not to mention a wet and injured photographer, the first person to fell off from the balangay as she sails in the middle of Manila Bay.
Fortunately, it was a smooth sail as the balangay glided thru the water at about 4 knots; I was able to get a good foot-hold to the opposite side and finished panning my shots in a complete circle. Such was the inherit 'thrills' of shooting in 360, you sometimes live the excitement of the scenario and gets to brag about it thereafter.
One day before the balangay was set for her historic maiden voyage across the Philippine archipelago; I finally found the time to join her for my first, and her last training sail within the safe confines of Manila Bay. Having witness her from construction to launch, I felt a certain connection as I stepped into her bosom that day. Like a father who watched his child grew-up and was now ready to conquer her world, with full knowledge that the sea will sometimes be harsh and tempest awaits yonder, nonetheless, I'm confident she will achieve her eventual purpose and glory.
We set out from the breakwaters of CCP at around ten in the morning under a clear blue sky, a glorious sun, and a light breeze. The waters were calm and particularly 'clean' too, a perfect condition indeed for sailing.
Assisted by "Tiririt", the motorized service-boat of the balangay, Diwata ng Lahi unfurled her multi-colored vinta-like sails upon reaching suitable wind position, from thereon; she's right in her elements, cruising just like her ancient sisters, a gallant bygone era where she ruled the seas, a maritime heritage that this undertaking hopes to instilled, a pride of the Malay race that Filipinos everywhere can be proud of.