‘Pinoy Aquaman’s’ latest feat: 2.7-km swim in Buluan
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol—Environmental lawyer and triathlete Ingemar Macarine on Monday (Feb. 24) added a 2.7-km swim from Buluan Islands to the Buluan port in Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay to his list of feats meant to promote tourism and clean seas.
Macarine, also known as the “Pinoy Aquaman,” said he timed his swim to coincide with the 19th Araw ng Zamboanga Sibugay fest last Monday.
The 2.7-km swim was dubbed as “Langoy Para sa Kinaiyahan ug Malungtarong Turismo (A swim for the environment and sustainable tourism).”
“The swim is for marine conservation and sustainable tourism in Zamboanga Sibugay,” said the 43-year-old Macarine who also serves as election officer of Tubigon town in Bohol province.
The swim was organized by Rep. Ann Hofer of Zamboanga Sibugay’s second district who said it would boost the province’s tourist destinations such as Buluan Island and Serendipity Isle.
Buluan Island, located some seven kilometers from the port of Ipil, features white sand beaches and clear blue waters. Away from the hustle and bustle of city living, the island offers seclusion and tranquility.
The marine sanctuary on the island was declared the best-managed marine conservation site in the Philippines in 2015 during the 5th Marine Protected Area Awards and Recognition.
Macarine swam with 15 others from Zamboanga City and Zamboanga Sibugay, including Jlo Jainar and his cousin Kyle Jainar, both 14 years old.
“We are proud to swim with Aquaman,” said Jlo.
Macarine, who has been swimming here and abroad, made history by pioneering swim routes in a country where open water swimming is still in its infancy.
He earned his popularity in the country when he crossed Alcatraz Island to mainland San Francisco in the United States in 2014.
Philippine Sport Commission (PSC) commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who witnessed Monday’s event, is pushing for an open-water swimming sports in the country.
He said the Philippines is surrounded by a number of seas and lakes and rivers but relatively few understand exactly what open water swimming is.
Unlike the typical pool setup, he said time and speed are two keys to finishing the race in open sea. For open water swimming, only distance matters.
“It is endurance,” Fernandez said.
He said the PSC is promoting open-water swimming in the country since it is now an Olympic event.
“And if you look at the map of the Philippines, we are a peninsula. We are in the top 5 of longest shorelines among other countries in the world,” said Fernandez.
The PSC, he said, would now focus on open water swimming and they could tap Macarine for the sports.
“And it’s cheap, you just need swimming trunks and goggles,” he said.