Bigiw is a Samal-Kagayanen word for a needlefish. A long and narrow jawed fish that can jump out of the water up to 33 knots when spooked or excited. The spear-like projectile are feared by night fishermen on outriggers because they also get attracted to artificial light.

Like any other Bangka that have prows designed after sea creatures, this unique outrigger canoe have the same features of a needlefish at the bow and stern. No flat decks at both ends, just an open cockpit located at the middle third of its overall length.

Bigiw can slice thru waves and ride on following seas, with minimal risk of swamping. The bottom half of the hull is made of dug-out log while the hullsides are made of 5mm thk marine plywood. Outriggers and sailing rig are made of Bamboo. Crab Claw or Sprit (Banog Pindang) sails are used. Bigiws are often sailed single-handed and steered by a paddle.

Bigiw boatbuilding is still practiced in Samal Island, but only a few exist. I haven’t found similar designs in other places of Mindanao and Visayas, except the one displayed at Bohol museum.

If you see sightings of Bigiw outside Davao Gulf, let me know. It will be a treat to see their own design of the prow.

Bigiw boatplan is now available in PDF format. For builders who don’t have access to a log or prefer a wood-fiberglass-epoxy composite, the boat can also be built using a strip-plank method. The mold frame lines are included in the plans.