PADRE BURGOS, Southern Leyte (MindaNews / 19 March) — — Endurance swimmer Ingemar “Pinoy Aquaman” Macarine did another first by crossing the 10.4 – kilometer stretch of the Canigao Channel from Limasawa to this town Sunday.
The 40-year-old triathlete lawyer from Surigao City crossed the historic island from the shores of San Bernardo village in the town of Limasawa and reached the shores of Tangkaan village in Padre Burgos town in Southern Leyte clocking four hours and 32 minutes.
Before reaching the shores of Tangkaan, several foreign divers joined him all the way to the shores for more than a kilometer swim.
The Petracorta brothers — Nilo, the mayor of Limasawa, and Melchor, the vice mayor, swam with Macarine for several meters.
Dozens of villagers of Tangkaan waited on the shore to congratulate Macarine and have souvenir picture with the open water enthusiast.
Among those who witnessed the arrival of Macarine is 8-year old Jessnar Mullaneda who said, “I cannot do what he did.”
Macarine endured the choppy waters and strong currents and a few jellyfish sting.
“Despite the rough condition of the seas this morning, I made it to the shoreline of Padre Burgos because I’m in my best shape,” Macarine told MindaNews.
Macarine’s swim on Sunday was his 13th open water marathon swim and 25th open-water swim since December 31, 2013 when he began crossing channels in and outside the country.
From four towards seven kilometers, Macarine said he had to shift from freestyle to breaststroke due to the choppy waters.
He added he drank more than two liters of water.
“It was very challenging because the water was pumping while the last four kilometers I had to swim against strong currents,” Macarine said.
Macarine could have made history if he crossed the English Channel from United Kingdom to France last August. The swim was canceled due to bad weather.
Padre Burgos mayor Helmenegildo Culpa was totally impressed by what Macarine did.
“Everyone is awed. Everybody thought that this swim is impossible but due to Macarine’s strong determination, the impossible has now become possible,” he said.
“No one ever dared swim that area because of the presence of sharks,” the mayor said.
The Petracorta brothers of Limasawa said they were impressed by his performance.
“His feat has inspired the young ones and even us leaders,” they said.
Macarine embarked on this crossing as part of his lifetime advocacy for clean seas, environmental tourism and climate change awareness.
In Limasawa, the mayor said, they have a program a kilo of thrown away plastic materials gathered by residents can be exchanged for a kilo of rice.
He recalled that during the launching of the program last year, the community collected a total of 300 kilos of plastics for upcycling.
He said they share Macarine’s advocacy.
Limasawa is referred to as the site of the first Catholic mass in the Philippines officiated on Easter Sunday of March 31, 1521 by Father Pedro de Valderrama under the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan. This claim, however, is being contested as the first mass was reportedly held in Mazaua (Masao), Butuan. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)