Galleon San Diego is shipshape and ready to set sail.
Officials of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) yesterday gave the go-signal for the Spanish galleon-inspired vessel to be used for the first fluvial procession of the image of St. Pedro Calungsod on Nov. 30.
The statue of the Philippines’ second saint will be accompanied down the Mactan channel by a festive flotilla to the venue of a national thanksgiving Mass at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City.
The motorized vessel, owned by the family of the late Ernesto Ouano Sr. of Mandaue City, was retrofitted to look like the galleon used by Spanish explorers and Catholic missionaries in the 16th century.
“We can guarantee you that the galleon is sturdy,” said architect Dorie Narandan of Duros Development Corp.”
“We’re giving our best efforts for this. This is part of history,” he told Cebu Daily News.
The original vessel, an all-white ship, has been used every January for the the fluvial procession of the Sto. Niño de Cebu.
It is now accented with stained wood to resemble the original Galleon San Diego which brought Visayan teenager Pedro Calungsod and Jesuit missionaries to the Ladrones Islands in 1668. The mast will fly a white flag with the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Cebu.
At least 18 workers have been working on the ship for the past four weeks.
“The galleon is 98 per cent done. The complete cladding is in place,” said Narandan.
The vessel will undergo sea trial tomorrow and sail from the Mactan Channel to the waters off the SRP in Cebu City before Marina issues a special permit allowing the vessel to sail.
“We see no problem with the vessel. In general it is seaworthy,” Philip Geneston, senior shipping operations specialist of Marina, told CDN.
Geneston and Marina supervisor Rico Magsalay visited the ship docked at the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City.
The same galleon replica can also be used in next January’s Sto. Niño fluvial procession, another event that celebrates Cebu’s patron and most famous religious icon, which was a gift from Spanish invaders to island natives of Cebu in the 16th century.
“We don’t have to dismantle what he have made to transform it into a galleon,” said Narandan.