“Banka” is a small traditional wooden boat used by local fishermen and merchants in the Philippines to transfer goods from one area to another with or without a gasoline engine. It looks like a typical dugout canoe but with an attached float – normally called an “outrigger” to provide stability. Some small ships like these may or may not have sails since people accustomed to this mode of transportation use paddles.

If you are visiting a beach in any part of the Philippines, chances are, there are boats like these for rent. Some would charge around $3 per hour (depending on the boat size and type). Some guides will offer you a packaged tour around the different islands surrounding the place – it is all your choice as long as you’ll enjoy your trip. For me, I’d like to have an adventure as well as have a new experience – one thing is to ride a unique boat like this across the sea!

BANKA BASICS:

Empty the boat!

Because the boats are made of wood, the passage of water is somehow inevitable in selected cases. Sometimes, boats that were not used for a long period of time will remain submerged in the water. The best thing to do is to empty the boat by getting rid of the water inside. What’s better to do is to use a pail of any container to speed up the process. When the boat is now floating, then that’s the time that it can be used again!

“Emptying the boat” – at Villa Igang, Guimaras [10.517012,122.523651]

Make sure to have a paddle!

I remember a significant experience in Negros that I actually lost my paddle and I ended up using my hands to get back to shore. Always remember to have it at all times! Unless you have a sail – well, you can’t really rely on wind power around noon.

Position yourself.

For a small boat like this, make sure your center of gravity is intact. Sit at the center of the boat to prevent off-balances.

Tight grip always.

This requires muscle power. Hold on to the paddle tight. One hand holds the fulcrum, and the other hand on the handle – preferably the dominant hand. Dig into the water, pull, raise, then repeat. Do this alternately when you paddle. You’ll do fine! Experiment on different maneuvers.

I’m kidding about the whole “muscle power” stuff. Apparently it is very easy to pull off!

Go out and explore nature! Rent a boat and cross the sea with precaution! Dip into the water and have fun! Life is too short to let things like this pass! Have you ever tried riding a banka before?