“Pinoy Aquaman” conquers Sarangani Bay

GLAN, Sarangani (MindaNews/10 May) — Triathlete-lawyer Ingemar Macarine knocked out boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s province by setting a personal record as the first man to have crossed Sarangani Bay on Sunday.

The 38-year old Macarine, dubbed “Pinoy Aquaman,” found the 12.95 kilometer swim one of his toughest as he met strong currents midway.

“The swim was quite tough, the current was changing 16 times but I braved it,” he said.

Macarine swam across 12.95 kilometers in five hours and 55 minutes, from the municipality Maasim to the town of Glan in the province of Sarangani.

The legendary swimmer has been gaining popularity in the swimming community in the country and abroad for being the only consistent open water cum marathon swimmer in the Philippines.

Macarine earned the reputation being the first man to have swam across Sarangani Bay.

He started swimming at 5:03 a.m. in Barangay Kamanga, Maasim and 10 minutes later chanced upon a huge whale.

“I wasn’t bothered by it, but I was surprised by the presence of that whale,” Macarine said.

The Surigao-born and raised former varsity swimmer of Silliman University said he is not afraid of sharks.

“What bothers me most is the stinging jelly fish,” he said adding he was stung a couple of times but ignored it and continued his swim.

Like his previous feats, Macarine’s swim on Sunday is part of his lifetime advocacy for clean seas, environmental tourism, and climate change awareness.

“This swim is to promote tourism in Sarangani Bay and for clean seas and beaches. I’d like to thank Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon and wife, Michelle, and the people of Sarangani for sponsoring the swim,” he said.

Every May, Sarangani Bay hosts the longest open water five-man relay swimming competition in the country.

“It’s a great honor for us that Macarine is here, we share the same advocacy. For the part of provincial government of Saragani, we are seriously addressing the degrading marine environment of Sarangani Bay by protecting it at the same time embracing sustainable economic activity to create commerce,” he said.

Solon said without solid protection, economic activities will not thrive, citing the bay’s importance in progressive countries like Singapore,” he said.

Macarine’s swim in Sarangani was his 13th in open water and this is his sixth marathon swimming. Marathon swimming is at least 10 kilometers distance.

Melody Cosep, a staff of provincial governor’s office told MindaNews that he was amazed by Macarine’s prowess.

“He swam non-stop, I really can’t believe he did it,” she said.

An environmental lawyer by profession, Macarine is the first person to swim nonstop the 12.8-km Surigao Channel from Hikdop Island to Surigao City, the 7-km Babuyan Channel in Cagayan Valley in Northern Luzon, and the 10.5-km Hinatuan Passage in Claver, Surigao del Norte.

He is also the first person to cross the 13.4-km stretch from Balicasag Island to Panglao Island in Bohol, and the first Filipino to swim the 2.8-km channel from Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco City in the US.

He attempted to swim from San Ricardo, Southern Leyte to Surigao City in May last year but had to stop after 23 kilometers due to strong currents that made it difficult for him to stay on course.

On April 12 last month, Macarine conquered the 20-kilometer crossing Tañon Strait from Bantayan Island to San Remegio town in northern Cebu.

He said the Sarangani swim also serves as a prelude to his two open water swim in the US.

Macarine will swim in the San Francisco Bay in California – the 10-kilometer span from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge on May 22.
On June 9, he will swim the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA with a distance of seven kilometers. (Roel Catoto / MindaNews)