‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims 23 kilometers for peace in Mindanao

Pinoy Aquaman Ingemar Macarine celebrates the completion of his 7-hour, 23-kilometer swim from Camiguin to Misamis Oriental on June 4, 2017. Macarine made the long-distance swim as his way of promoting peace in Mindanao. (PHOTO BY LEO UDTOHAN / INQUIRER VISAYAS)

By Leo Udtohan/inquirer.net – Environmental lawyer and triathlete Ingemar Macarine, dubbed as the “Pinoy Aquaman,” has responded to the siege in Marawi City in Mindanao in the way he knows best – swimming for peace.

Macarine, 41, has been swimming to create awareness of the need to keep the seas and all of the natural environment clean. But last Sunday’s swim was focused on peace and hope in Mindanao.

“I am saddened by the ongoing war in Marawi City. It is sad to think that fellow Filipinos are killing each other in Marawi. This swim is my humble contribution to promote peace between our brother Muslims and Christians in Mindanao,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The armed conflict in Marawi started on May 23 when a combined team of military and police operatives raided a suspected hideout of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilion Hapilon and Maute leaders. The death toll in the Marawi City siege has reached 175.

Macarine started his swim at 6 a.m. on Sunday from the town of Guinsiliban, Camiguin Island to Balingoan town in Misamis Oriental.
“The swim started from Guinsiliban Port, Camiguin Island. Our original landing point was Balingoan Port, but I was carried away by the strong current,” he said.

Macarine, who battled strong current and waves and few jellyfish along the way, completed the 23 kilometers instead of the 12 kilometers swim in seven hours and 47 minutes.

“It was a difficult swim because of the unexpected strong current,” said Macarine.

“My target was three to four hours. But it reached seven hours and 47 minutes for 23 kilometers instead of the 12 kilometers distance,” he said.

Macarine was joined by triathelete Gilbert Grado, municipal accountant of Mambajao town in Camiguin, when they were at least 3 kilometers from the shores of Misamis Oriental.

Grado served as Macarine’s swim pacer for the last few kilometers while they were approaching the Sipaka Point.

Macarine was drifted to coastal Barangay Calamcam in Talisayan town, a neighboring town of Balingoan town, Misamis Oriental, the supposed landing point.

Grado, 39, said Macarine inspired many to pursue open-swimming and promote Camiguin Island.

“We are planning to have water sports adventures in Camiguin as we are inspired by Pinoy Aquaman,” said Grado, who has been organizing a triathlon event in Camiguin for September.

Macarine is a native of Placer, Surigao del Norte and currently the Commission on Elections Officer of Tubigon town, Bohol province.

He recently crossed the icy-cold water of Hudson River in New York, USA in a distance of 8.4 km.

The crossing of Camiguin Island to mainland Mindanao is part of his preparation for his second attempt to cross the dangerous English Channel between United Kingdom and France in August this year. He tried last year to plunge the channel but was prevented by bad weather.

“This swim is very memorable for me because I am from Mindanao. I was born and raised in Surigao del Norte,” he told the INQUIRER.

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