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Centuries-old wooden boat retrieved in Pangasinan

This centuries-old dugout boat was accidentally retrieved by local residents in Barangay Casanicolasan, Rosales, Pangasinan last week and is now on display in front of the municipal hall. EVA VISPERAS                    

ROSALES, Pangasinan, Philippines – Residents of this booming town in the eastern part of this province accidentally retrieved a “treasure” that will give pride here for its archaeological and historical significance.

It was not however, a pot of gold, but an un­finished centuries-old dugout boat found last week by residents in Barangay Casanicolasan this town in Lagasit River, about 500 meters away from the Agno River, the third largest river in Luzon and fifth biggest nationwide.

It was actually a boy who saw it while swimming in the river and he hurriedly called the help of the local folks. The curious men, about 30 of them, led by Ronaldo de los Reyes, tried to retrieve the treasure manually with the aid of two carabaos for three days but to no avail. 

Then, they decided to seek the help of Mayor Ricardo Revita to send a heavy equipment to lift it from the river and bring it to the town hall. 

With the size of the wood alone and its kind, excluding its submersion in the river, Revita said one can see that it is hundreds of years old. 

Revita said he believes this relic that looks like an unfinished banca is not kolloong, an Ilocano term for a material used for pounding rice by the people because of its size, as he said the people were small then and could not pound rice using this big artifact.

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He has written a letter and sent someone to coordinate with the National Historical Institute and the National Museum to conduct carbon dating to determine its possible age and the kind of wood it was made of.

It weighed more than five tons, measures eight meters long plus two meters wide in its front and back and a height of up to 1.5 meters. It can load 10 carabaos at the same time, the mayor said. 

Revita believes it was part of an unfinished dugout boat, a big banca. 

Revita said despite its heavy weight and size, this will float in the river or sea because of the force of water (buoyancy) that serves as the balance of the boat while sailing. 

He said its retrieval is a testament that old people used to live then along the river banks and this material was consistent with old stories that people used bancas as their means of transportation.

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