What is a balangay? The balangay is a plank boat adjoined by a carved-out plank edged through pins and dowels. It was first mentioned in the 16th Century in the Chronicles of Pigafetta, and is known as the oldest watercraft found in the Philippines.
The balangay was the first wooden watercraft excavated in Southeast Asia and is evidence of early Filipino craftsmanship and their seamanship skills during pre-colonial times.
The name barangay originated from balangay, the Austronesian word for “sailboat”. It was one of the first native words the Spaniards learned in the Philippines when they arrived in the 16th century. They found the Filipinos living in well-organized independent villages called barangay.
The balangays of Butuan was declared as National Cultural Treasures by President Corazon Aquino. It was also declared as the National Boat of the Philippines by the House Committee on Revisions of Laws.