Safe voyages for The Hang Out Express

It was a big day at the Hang Out Beach Resort! Our friend Bong Bong built a boat we call The Hang Out Express, and I think it’s absolutely beautiful.

Bong Bong is our friend’s his nickname (far left in the picture above), like Len-Len is my Filipino nickname (thanks Riri!). Nicknames of this sort are part of the culture here.

Also part of the culture: boat christenings that are way different how it’s done in America.

The Hang Out Express

Bloodletting and incense

I missed this cultural ceremony. And, I’m kind of glad. But Mom Diane was there for it, and she took videos. The ceremony is nothing like breaking a bottle of champagne on the hull.

Instead, Filipinos cut the throat of a live chicken, and its blood is splashed on the outside of the boat. It’s a sacrifice for safe voyages. And I don’t think I could have watched, had I been there.

The bloodletting was followed by several rounds around the boat with a small pile of burning incense.

After the ceremony, men carried the boat to the beach here on mainland Malay, Aklan, Philippines, to fit her with outriggers.

Then, Bong Bong and Joe Joe and Vindezel took her for a test ride. And that’s when I arrived ‘home’.

The Hang Out Express is seaworthy, and she’s fantastic.

Making The Hang Out Express

It took many, many hours to build this boat from scratch. For countless days, I saw Bong Bong hard at work, building The Hang Out Express here at the HangOut. And he did it in all types of weather: blazing sun, pouring rain, from morning til night.

A while back I asked him how in the world he knew how to build a boat – among his many other talents. He told me he learned from his father, who came from Boracay.

Bong Bong had a little help from neighborhood men, also knowledgeable about fishing and boats. One helped with the prop shaft with the proper tools to make it straight.

And Joe Joe (another nickname) got the used motor up and humming.

Everything else – all done by Bong Bong’s talented hand.

Once the boat was out of the water, and Bong Bong and other men carried it to its storage spot on shore, I let out a cheer and congratulated my friend.

Later that night, Tedly enjoyed a beer and rum with the guys.

Men, including Bong Bong, far left, carry The Hang Out Express onto the rock beach on mainland Malay, across the channel from Boracay, in August 2020, as neighborhood kids watch and Snow sniffs around.

Fresh fish

The reason to make the boat is to go fishing, of course. Anything from the sea is free. That means more now that the pandemic has stopped income related to tourism to nearby Boracay.

While Filipinos won’t get wealthy from a fishing fleet of one, a boat can provide free protein, so any sales from catches is practically free profit.

We eat a lot of fish. Tedly often buys fish from roadside stands for around 250 pesos per kilo – that’s about $5 for 2.2 pounds. Marlin, grouper, tuna, and more.

I bet that shocks some of our readers who are used to the frozen, prepackaged variety in the supermarket aisle, or much, much higher prices for ‘fresh’ fish.

Next steps

The boat will be registered tomorrow, and then it’s time to go fishing! Tedly and I both want to go with Bong Bong.

It will be yet another experience of how Filipinos live in a culture different from ours. And yet, in many ways, we are the same. Everyone needs to eat, and everyone has a talent (or two or three).

So look for an update in the coming weeks about what we might catch with Bong Bong and his beautiful creation.

Thanks for reading, “Safe voyages for The Hang Out Express.”

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Safe voyages for The Hang Out Express

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