By Carla N. Canet
Bacolod City – Environmentalist Art Valdez will lead a crew that will sail to China on replicas of the “balangay,” or native sailboats that date back to pre-colonial Spanish times.
Valdez’s team will use balangay replicas for the voyage.
“When we cross the South China Sea, we will be travelling on our own to the north-bound and almost near Shanghai,” said Valdez, a former environment and transportation undersecretary.
The team was in Bacolod for a week for maintenance work. It sailed to Manila last Tuesday and will stay there before heading to China.
The voyage will commemorate the 600th anniversary of the trade maritime mission led by Sultan Paduka Batara of Sulu. The sultan died after falling ill after reaching China and was buried there.
Valdez told Manila Bulletin the maritime expedition will strengthen the people-to-people relationship between China and the Philippines.
Valdez, who also headed the Philippine team that scaled Mount Everest in 2006, said they hope to arrive back in Manila for the 119th Independence Day celebration on June 12.
He said the weather will play a crucial role in the voyage and hopes the fleet won’t encounter any difficult conditions at sea.
In 2009, Valdez also led a team that sailed in a balangay around Southeast Asia.
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