The 1st Pioneer Maestro Academy held its graduation rites ceremony honoring 12 students after completing a two-week workshop in wooden boat-building at Sitio Arosan, Barangay Concordia, Bolinao Pangasinan, August 4.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Jomar Peňafiel, Assistant Product Manager – Epoxy (Marine) of Pioneer Adhesives, Inc., Maestro Ricky Cacho, a master boat carpenter for 26 years; Hon. Teresita Celeste, Chairwoman of Brgy. Concordia; Ms. Blesilda Domagas, Municipal Administrator of Bolinao, Pangasinan; and Mr. Glicerio Legaspi, Senior Aquaculturist of Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) for Ilocos Region.
The students from the Pioneer Maestro Academy underwent a lecture on wooden boat building last July 23 spearheaded by Legaspi. The following day, July 24, marked the start of a 10-day training in building three boats that were donated exclusively to Barangay Concordia which is a coastal village where the source of livelihood depends mainly on fishing. One of the boats will be used for rescue missions and the remaining two are for the fisherfolks’ livelihood.
“Ang kahalagahan nito ay mapanatili ang kulturang kinagawian sa paggawa ng bangka sapagkat ito’y isa sa mga kauna-unahang ginagamit ng ating mga ninuno.”, Legaspi explained. (The importance of this is to preserve the culture of boat-making because it is one of the first tools made by our Filipino ancestors.)
With opportunities awaiting the graduates, boat owners expressed their interest in tapping them to make boats and assured priority in case the very few boat-makers in the area need helpers in the future as the demand for projects of new boat construction and repair increases and to continue harnessing their skills.
“The number of wooden boat-makers has significantly declined over the years as our people today have more job opportunities in nearby cities. This gave rise to Pioneer Maestro Academy” said Mr. Alben Manuel, Group Product Manager – Epoxy Cans of Pioneer Adhesives, Inc.
The Pioneer Maestro Academy is a program started by Pioneer Epoxy in cooperation with Angat sa Dagat® Organization to preserve the art and skill of boat-making in the Philippines and to help youth make a living out of it.
“This program aims to develop boat-making skills of interested youths in villages where there is a scarcity of skilled boat-makers to be mentored by a Maestro (master boatwright). This will eventually provide a livelihood not only to the graduates but also to the fisherfolk community and the LGU as the finished boat projects will be turned over to them. This is one way of giving back to the people where we owe most of our business, the boat-making and fisherfolk communities”, Manuel continued.