Philippine Bangka

One of my long time interests has been nautical. More specifically, vernacular boat construction methods.

While I was in the Philippines in 2013, I had plenty of opportunity to study and photography the local area version of the Philippine Bangka. Notice I said local area version. Every island and community has their own version of the bangka and method of construction. But all of them have commonalities; their evolution originated with the log canoe, they all use bamboo outriggers, and they are all designed sharp bowed for wave cutting.

Even within the local area (in this case, Batangas), no two bangka are constructed the same way. Each builder has their own methods that have been passed down for generations. So each and every one of them is unique in its own way. They vary in size from around 6 feet ( 1.8m ) to more than 60 feet (18m) in length.

In times past, the bangka was butted plank constructed with seam caulking. But in today’s world, they are constructed of plywood and lumber yard wood with the exception of the bottom.

Most of the smaller ones, are still human powered, while the larger ones have engines. In some cases, multiple truck engines. There are still versions in the Philippines that are sail powered as well. Unfortunately, I did not get to the locale where they are still popular, but that version of the bangka is called a paraw.

All of the bangka pictured here are from the Batangas BayPuerto Galera Region.

An additional note: “Another Day in Paradise” was my bangka.