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First Solar lit native fishing banca in Palawan, Philippines

Updated on December 21, 2016

A total success! The solar lit banca at night.

The very first all solar lit banca. The fishermen came back with a hull full of tuna on the first run.
The very first all solar lit banca. The fishermen came back with a hull full of tuna on the first run. | Source

Night fishing will never be the same.

Our own home here on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, out of necessity from constant electrical brownouts, has been solar powered for years now. I think it was a natural transition to place them on a banca for night fishing.

We live near the sea and as such, we have owned several native bancas or pump boats for our recreational use. We met a local fisherman who needed a boat to catch tuna this year, so we decided to outfit our 44 foot banca for fishing and use all solar power and LED lights to give him and his crew a livelihood.

Bancas are basically canoes with outriggers. The fishermen use them for catching tuna and other fish. For night fishing they use noisy and polluting diesel generators. The lights only last about 3 hours until the generators run out of diesel. The solar lights on our banca last 13 hours!! The crew has been burning the lights from 6pm to 6 am!!

A good catch of yellow fin tuna.

Hull full of tuna on the first run for the solar lit nigh fishing banca. The fishermen use hooks on lines and have a limit of 2 fish per night.
Hull full of tuna on the first run for the solar lit nigh fishing banca. The fishermen use hooks on lines and have a limit of 2 fish per night.

The first ever solar lit native fishing boat

Solar lit banca at sunset at sunset at Mangingisda pier, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Solar lit banca at sunset at sunset at Mangingisda pier, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The solar LED lights last 13 hours!

Every night while parked at Mangingisda pier in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the banca has a bigger and bigger audience of fishermen who come to see the marvel. Many have given our boat captain a lecture on wasting light, until they find out it is powered by the sun.

It is only a little more expensive to outfit a banca to solar, as compared buying a diesel generator, plus the added expense of buying the fuel for each trip, along with the oil and maintenance of such. We are told that the fishermen spend up to 10,000 Pesos for a 3 day run at sea to power their lights. Once installed, our solar lights cost nothing. No dirty fuel, oils, noxious emissions and sound pollution!

The diesel powered lights run at 220V and many fishermen have been electrocuted by them. It is quite a safety hazard. The fumes from the diesel motor are bad for the fishermen to breath and not great for the environment! The 12 volt solar lit system on this boat will not do that.

Diesel operated lights only run for 3 hours and then they have to stop fishing and refuel! Our solar lights last for 13 hours!!

Celebrating the success of the banca

Celebrating with a famous local brew, San Miguel beer, on the successful installation of the solar lights.
Celebrating with a famous local brew, San Miguel beer, on the successful installation of the solar lights.

Lampshades made of flower pots

The fishermen use large tins recycled into lamps. After observing how flower pots at home last for years in the tropical sun, our assistant thought to use them as lamp shades and sprayed on a few layers of epoxy paint to protect them.
The fishermen use large tins recycled into lamps. After observing how flower pots at home last for years in the tropical sun, our assistant thought to use them as lamp shades and sprayed on a few layers of epoxy paint to protect them.

Getting creative with the lamp shades

Our assistant on building the solar light system, is our very own all around helper, Jhun Solis. He noticed that my plastic flower pots last for years in the hot sun here. So he used plastic flower pots as the light shades!! He covered them in epoxy paint to give them more protection from the sun. It was a low cost solution and they look great!

The solar lit banca at sunset

The solar lit banca is the talk of the fishing community here in Mangingisda, Palawan now.
The solar lit banca is the talk of the fishing community here in Mangingisda, Palawan now.

No noise or fumes from solar powered lights!

The solar lights have been attracting thousands of squid and fish in the port already. The children who live there can now swim at night!
The solar lights have been attracting thousands of squid and fish in the port already. The children who live there can now swim at night!

A healthier solution for local fishermen

The fishermen on our boat will not be exposed to noxious diesel fumes nor will the environment be polluted. We are so pleased to have found a way for our crew to earn a living and stay healthy without breathing the diesel gasses!!

There are 2000 fishing boats or more in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Every night, more and more of them come to the port to see the wonder of solar lights! Most fishermen here have not even gone to high school; to them, this is a miracle.

The lights allow for night swimming

Every night we take the kids swimming now. The lights make it safe. The water is warm, clean and clear and the kids don't get sunburned.
Every night we take the kids swimming now. The lights make it safe. The water is warm, clean and clear and the kids don't get sunburned.

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5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Solar lit banca

A growing audience!

Every night we take the kids swimming at the dock by the banca. The local children come and watch!
Every night we take the kids swimming at the dock by the banca. The local children come and watch!

Palawan's first solar lit banca

The lights provide allow the children to swim and cool off during these hot summer nights.
The lights provide allow the children to swim and cool off during these hot summer nights.

A fishing success! Tuna!

Solar lit night fishing boat a success. Hull full of yellow fin tuna and headed to market. Each tuna weighed approximately 80 kilos or 167 lbs.
Solar lit night fishing boat a success. Hull full of yellow fin tuna and headed to market. Each tuna weighed approximately 80 kilos or 167 lbs.

Now for a real celebration.

Nightfall calls for something more celebretory than beer! It's now tequila time!
Nightfall calls for something more celebretory than beer! It's now tequila time!

Please do leave us your feedback

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    • profile image

      Ernie N 

      13 months ago

      Very informative topic. I am interested because I am building one banca (36 footer) at present, few more weeks and it will be finished. I am new to this venture. and inputs like yours shortly helps big time to a rookie like me. In your picture they catch tuna, where do they fish for this huge fish? Thank you in anticipation.

    • theonlineventures profile image

      Jonathan Caquilgan 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! Really amazing! I want to see that personally.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 

      3 years ago from Australia

      Diana, this is wonderful news! I'm very pleased you are leading the way.

      Voted up and sharing. :)

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