Sunday, February 7, 2016

‘Pinoy Aquaman’ completes historic swim in Pamilacan

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last Friday was former Ilocos Norte Governor Chavit Singson. According to VRS, Singson visited Anda town for a possible business venture.

Scene:  Feng shui experts encourage everyone to throw away all the old stuff in our house to make room for new blessings for the Chinese New Year (Feb. 8). They also recommend wearing red to attract luck and fortune.

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'Pinoy Aquaman’ Ingemar Patiño Macarine has a goal: To swim the English Channel, Catalina Channel and Marathon Island to promote clean seas, environmental tourism and climate change awareness.

Macarine has been swimming his whole life. Born in a small coastal town of Placer in Surigao del Norte in Mindanao, he spent nearly every day of his childhood swimming.

“I love the seas. Never did I fear swimming in the open water. And I think my life is very connected with water,” Macarine, who is an election officer of Tubigon town in Bohol province, said.

He was eight years old when he first dreamed about the possibility of swimming across the Surigao Strait. 

 ‘I want our children to enjoy the same clean seas and beaches. 
That is my environmental advocacy.’ Contributed Photo
"I learned to swim when I was in Grade 2. My friends and I just enjoyed swimming near the seashores. I told my friends, 'I wonder if anybody could swim over there," Macarine recalled. 

In his college days, he was a varsity swimmer at the Silliman University in Dumaguete City. 

Macarine said he especially wants to connect with and educate young people, the importance of clean seas. He also wants to raise awareness about climate change.  

Open-ocean swimming is among the toughest sporting disciplines in the world, said Macarine.  

His first open water swim was on Dec. 30, 2013. He was the first person to swim successfully from Basul Island to Lipata, Surigao City. 

“My first open water swim was unforgettable because that was my first time to swim against a strong current.  Three of my companions gave up. I was the only one who successfully crossed it,” he said. 

But for Macarine his latest challenge in Pamilacan Island in Bohol province last Jan. 31, was "the hardest and toughest yet".  He completed the gruelling 14-kilometer journey for 5 hours and 59 minutes.

He said strong currents kept pulling him off course so he had to change direction at least 14 times.

“It’s very challenging. This is my toughest swim because of strong current and waves. I had no choice but to use backstroke. The current changed several times and I had really a very hard time swimming against the current,” said Macarine.

The Pamilacan swim was his second in Bohol since he swam the 13.4-km stretch from Balicasag Island to mainland Panglao Island in 2014 during the first anniversary of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. He did it to immortalize the Boholanos who had perished during the earthquake.

LAWYER  Ingemar Macarine says that his Pamilacan swim was the “hardest and toughest yet.’ 
Contributed Photo
Swimming in the open water is very safe so long as you have an escort boat, he said. 

Macarine said he follows the Marathon Swimming Federation Rules and performs his solo swimming without floating aid or help from any human or sea vessel.

The swim isn't easy.

"You need to be brave," he said. "And focus on what you’re doing."

At one point, he had been stung by jellyfishes. Sometimes, strong currents and big waves would somehow hinder his target.  Through it all, he held his mantra close: "Psalm 23...The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me...” His family-wife Raquel, and children- Lance, 6; and Colyn, 4, are his inspiration.

He said prior to his swim, he took time to read the Bible and pray.

"I read the Bible when I am in doubt, and of course, for the Lord's guidance. And my favorite is Psalm 23,” he said. 

He has since conquered seas in United States and Philippines.

Macarine had done similar feats in the past. He was acknowledged as the first Filipino to swim the 2.7-kilometer from Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco City in April 2014.

He was also the first man to conquer the Babuyan Channel by swimming from Palaui Island to Mainland Sta. Ana, Province of Cagayan with a distance of 7.2 km in 2 hours on June 15,  2014.

He was also the first man to swim from Santa Fe in Bantayan Island to San Remigio in mainland Cebu, covering the distance of 19.99 km. He spent seven hours and 45 minutes to reach mainland Cebu.

He was also the first man who attempted to swim from Visayas to  Mindanao by swimming from San Ricardo, Southern Leyte to Surigao City, Northern Mindanao. Although the swim was unsuccessful, he made a personal record of swimming 23 kilometers in five and half hours in May 2014. 

Macarine was selected as one of the three Heroes of the Environment for 2015 by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). 

“I am so happy that I can inspire more people to care more for the marine environment,'" he said.

At 39, Macarine said he is in good health, and just wants to do his part in bringing about peace and friendship, as well as clean seas.

“I want our children to enjoy the same clean seas and beaches. That is my environmental advocacy,” he said, “Clean seas are very important today for the future generations.”

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