Leo Gerardo C. Leonardo
Balanghai was the first prize-winning entry in the first competition held in 1996. Leonardo drew inspiration from our pre-colonial history: the boat known as balanghai used by the Malays who were among the early settlers in the Philippines and barangay, the local name for the communities formed by these settlers. Similarly, the artist also reflected then on the notion of the birth of a new community, a newly established baranggay that is now Bonifacio Global City.
Balanghai is a stylized vinta or Moro boat with colorful and curvilinear sails representing the sarimanok and okir elements from Mindanao. Designed as a kinetic sculpture, each sail responds individually to different wind shifts but reacts communally in an animated fashion. With its translucent sails, Balanghai represents the “vitality and dynamism of Filipinos, our animated and cheerful nature”. It was completed in 2001 and was moved to its present site in 2002.