Another first: ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ finishes 15-km swim in Bohol

PAMILACAN ISLAND, Baclayon, Bohol (MindaNews/01 February) — Sheer guts and determination led triathlete-lawyer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” Macarine into another record-setting swim on Sunday.

Macarine, 39, defied the rough waters to cross the 15-kilometer stretch from Pamilacan Island, which is part of Baclayon town, to Baclayon proper in Bohol up north.

He left the island Sunday at 5:32 a.m. and completed the swim at 11:31 a.m.

At the start, the Pinoy Aquaman faced currents of 2-4 knots, according to Bent Roisby, a Norwegian skipper who is now based in the island.

Macarine would often swim using freestyle stroke but Sunday’s swells brought by the northeast monsoon forced him to shift to breast stroke.

“I felt very tired at three kilometers from the finish point. In my mind I wanted to quit because I drank more than three liters of water. I could not swim straight because of rough waters,” he told MindaNews.

Even if he did lateral breathing, the swimmer had no choice but to use breast stroke to avoid drinking seawater.

Decoroso Pingkian, 65, a local fisherman said no one had ever dared to swim this island.

“Everyone in town thought it’s impossible to swim from this island to the mainland. Now I witnessed how Macarine did it. I’m very impressed by his performance and we are awed,” he said.

He said he thought Macarine had an amulet or gills, but was surprised to learn that the swimmer had neither of the two.

Pamilacan Island is famous for dolphin and whale watching. Its white sand beach has attracted foreign and domestic tourists.

Sunday’s swim was the 17th open water swim for Macarine, not 19th as earlier reported.

Last January 17, Macarine swam from Sumilon Island in Barangay Lipata to Barangay Punta Bilar in Surigao City with a total distance of 11 kilometers.

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

Just like in his previous open water marathons, Macarine followed the Marathon Swimming Federation Rules and performed solo swimming without floating aid or help from any human or sea vessel.

Last January 1, Macarine ranked 3rd on the annual “Man of the Year” Award by World Open Water Swimming Association.

The former varsity swimmer of Silliman University also received the “Hero of the Year Award” from World Wide Fund for Nature late last year. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)