‘Pinoy Aquaman’ crosses Hinatuan Passage to promote environmental protection

CAGDIANAO, Claver, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/02 January) — Triathlete-lawyer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” Macarine achieved another feat as the first man to swim across the Hinatuan Passage in Surigao del Norte.

Macarine said he embarked on the swim to promote protection of the marine environment, tourism and healthy lifestyle.

Macarine, 38, swam from Bucas Grande Island to Claver town on Friday.

He said he became worried when he was carried three kilometers away from the shoreline in Cagdianao because of siltation.

Siltation has been one of the major problems in Claver due to mining operations that have been blamed for the degradation of the town’s marine environment.

“I was so anxious because I drank water with silt. I don’t know the negative effect,” Macarine said.

He said he was saddened to see the extent of damage to the marine resources of Claver.

“There’s no fish I’ve seen at the silted portion. It’s all yellow and dead corals,” he told MindaNews.

The Surigao-born swimmer covered a total distance of 10.5 kilometers in five hours and eight minutes.

He considered the swim as one of the toughest he has ever done as he was swimming against strong currents.

“Supposedly I could finish it at the maximum of four hours but due to strong current I almost gave up because of physical exhaustion,” he told reporters.

People in Bucas Grande and Claver even doubted that Macarine could finish it, saying no one had ever attempted to swim across the passage because of the current and sharks.

Bucas Grande Island has beautiful spots such as lagoons, caves, coves and the attractions that have made it a tourist destination.

Claver, on the other hand, hosts several mining companies which extract mineral ores, mostly nickel, and ship them to China and Japan.

Macarine started swimming from Barangay Dona Helen in Socorro at 6:30 a.m. and reached the reef of this barangay at 11:38 a.m.

“No one ever did that. In my whole life no one really tried it,” said Claver Mayor Eddie Gokiangkee told MindaNews.

Gokiangkee provided a speedboat for Macarine’s support staff and family including reporters who witnessed the record-setting swim.

Congratulatory messages were either uttered by people who waited at the shoreline and several others who called via mobile phones.

Redeemer Gabunada, village chief of Cagdianao said he was awed and shocked by Macarine’s feat.

“I’m so thankful that he landed on our shore, it’s my great pleasure to welcome everyone especially Atty. Ingemar Macarine for this historic swim,” he said.

A varsity swimmer during his college days at Siliman University in Dumaguete City, Macarine did several open-water swim since last year.

He said this was supposed to be a yearend swim originally scheduled on December 30, but he postponed it to January 2 due to Typhoon Seniang.

Macarine is the first man to swim Basul Island in Surigao to mainland Surigao City, a distance of 4.28 kilometers, on December 31, 2013.

Earlier this year, Macarine swam 12.82 kilometers from Hikdop Island in Surigao Channel to Surigao City.

Last April he also swam from the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary to Aquatic Park in San Francisco, a span of nearly three kilometers, in one hour and two minutes, the lone Filipino to have swam in that area.

Macarine, who is president of the Surigao Runners Club, tried to cross the treacherous Surigao Strait from San Ricardo, Southern Leyte to Surigao City but stopped after a few kilometers due to strong currents.

He successfully swam Babuyan Channel in Cagayan and Balicasag Island to Panglao Island in Bohol. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)