I am sure you have been on a boat at one time or another. Unless you have been to the Philippines before, I would expect that you have never had the joy and experience of travelling on a Philippine Banka (or Bangka) boat. Their main difference from the conventional norm is that they are double-outrigger crafts, consisting of a narrow main hull with two attached outriggers.
Outriggers look like skis or stabilizers that run parallel to the hull, the bottoms of which sit at water-level. The outriggers are there to keep the boat stable almost like active suspension on a car, to improve the boat’s buoyancy and to ensure the boat does not capsize. They are also great fun to jump off.
Aesthetically speaking, I love how they accidentally marry the romance of the Asian fishing boat – lots of bamboo and traditional building methods – with the ultra-futuristic look of the x-wing fighter from Star Wars.
At Atmosphere Resorts, our main boat – Victoria – takes inspiration from the great ocean going liners of the early 20th Century. She is painted a rich dark blue, she is large and comfortable enough to carry snorkelers, divers and day trippers with ease and makes easy going in any conditions. Her layout means there is plenty of space for sunbathing, relaxing in the shade or for those looking for more action, giant stride entry for diving or snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of Apo Island.
In order to keep this dame in peak condition, she is dry docked once a year to give her a re-paint and makeover and also to add any new innovations that someone may have suggested. This also gives Captain Marvin the chance to ensure the engine – which is a 62-2 truck engine – is in peak condition so as to make short work of any journey. On average it only takes 30minutes to get to Apo Island.
With bankas, much like many of the best things in life, if you give a little bit of love you will reap huge rewards.
/Adam – Dive Center Manager