‘Pinoy Aquaman’ conquers Cebu channel

SAN REMIGIO, Cebu (MindaNews/13 April) — Lawyer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” P. Macarine crossed the channel between Bantayan Island and San Remigio town in Northern Cebu on Sunday, achieving yet another feat as a long-distance swimmer.

Macarine, 38, who hails from Placer, Surigao del Norte, finished the marathon swim in seven hours and 45 minutes with a distance of 19.99 kilometers (17.6 km straight line tangent) from Santa Fe town in Bantayan to San Remigio.

He was the first person to cross the channel.

But the former varsity swimmer at Silliman University said big waves and strong currents swept him away from Lapyahan Public Beach, where he had planned to end his swim.

“The waters were so rough and I almost gave up because I was so tired,” he told MindaNews.

Macarine set out from Kota Beach Resort in Bantayan at 5:08 am, swam nonstop and reached Barangay Bancasan in San Remegio at 12:53 p.m.

His navigator, Edwin Dela Cruz, who was riding in the support boat, thought Macarine could not finish the swim saying the current was very strong.

“There was a point where we’re just moving forward at only 700 meters in 30 minutes because of the strong current,” Dela Cruz said.

Macarine’s average speed in freestyle is 3 kilometers per hour.

Due to rough sea conditions Macarine’s navigator boat capsized shortly before noon but he continued swimming.

“I was quite scared because I couldn’t see my guide boat. I did not know that it capsized already. Good thing everyone on it was safe and they were rescued right away,” he said.

Macarine’s swim aimed to promote public awareness on the effects of climate change and promote tourism.

Bantayan Island and the northern towns of Cebu including San Remegio were severely damaged when super typhoon Yolanda hit the country in November 2013.

Antonio Villamor, Association of Barangay Councils head in San Remegio told MindaNews that they are educating the people on climate change by pushing for solid waste management and greening program of the town.

“What a feat, we could not believe that he made it. People were stunned by his fantastic performance,” Villamor said.

After his swim, Macarine was greeted by his wife Racquel, his five-year-old son Lance, and three-year old daughter Colyn who were waiting on the shoreline of Lapyahan.

More people clapped and cheered as the marathon swimmer arrived in Lapyahan.

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 km due to strong currents that made it difficult for him to stay on course. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)