Apart from sports and justice, Pinoy Aquaman advocates marine conservation

Ingemar Macarine, otherwise known as ‘Pinoy Aquaman’, is a native of Surigao City, Philippines who currently works as a prosecutor in the Department of Justice while also juggling his sports as a renowned open water swimmer. His passion and experiences inspired Macarine to swim for a deeper cause — promoting marine conservation and tourism in the country.

Growing up, Macarine said since he grew up in the coastal area of the said city, he did not have a choice but learn how to swim. It was only when he entered Siliman University during his college years that he started formal training for open water swimming where he became a varsity swimmer. 

“Ang reason bakit nahilig ako mag swimming is dahil malapit kami sa dagat,” Macarine said. However, the swimmer also expressed dismay over the growing pollution in the ocean.

Being aware of the worsening condition of our water bodies, he then immediately thought of promoting marine conservation through open water swimming when his story became viral following his swim in Bosol Island, Surigao City in 2013.

“Dahil ‘yong pinost ko sa Facebook nakita ng mga kaibigan ko sa GMA 7 so ginawan niya ng story then pumutok doon and lumabas sa news and so nag viral yung swim. Naisip ko why not promote marine conservation through open water swimming kasi nandyan ako sa sports ‘e. Kaya iyon ang ginawa ko for the past 10 years kasi sumasali naman tayo ng mga events kaya iyon ang pino-promote ko, ‘yong marine conservation and healthy lifestyle,” the 47-year-old lawyer added.

Unprecedented, international swims

Macarine has logged several unprecedented swims over the past ten years which has a minimum of 10 km and is usually swimming from one island to another. Adding to his long list of experience are six international open water swims in the United States, two in San Francisco, two in Alcatras, one in Chesapeake Bay Maryland, one in New York, one in Chicago, and another one in Florida last year.

In 2016 to 2017, he stayed in United Kingdom for more than a month when he attempted to swim from UK to France. Unfortunately, the cold weather hindered the Pinoy Aquaman to successfully finish the 33 km swim.

Last 2017, Macarine broke his longest personal record when he swam from Dumaguete City to Siquijor, finishing the 24 km in 12 hours.

“I started swimming from Dumaguete City at 5:00 am and I arrived in San Juan Siquijor at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Twelve hours kong nilangoy ‘yong 24 km kasi very strong ‘yong current,” Macarine said.

37th open water swim 

Macarine’s 37th open water swim took event in the seas of Masbate as part of the lineup of Bagat Dagat 2023 on June 24 where he set a new record as “the first person to swim nonstop and unassisted” from Bugtong Island, Barangay Pio V. Corpus to The Lagoon, Barangay Matayum, Cataingan. 

Macarine swam the distance of 10.5 km in 4 hours and 22 minutes, which he considers as one of the most difficult crossings he had.

“A strong current caught us off guard and I had to battle it during the last 1.5 KM. While approaching the lagoon, the tide changed and caused a crisscrossing current. I tried to speed up but a strong wind coming from the east caused turbulent water, slowing my pace. That was also the reason why my two escort boats (Coast Guard & the PNP Maritime Group) had a hard time navigating my swim. Thank God I made it,” he said.

Thanking Gov. Antonio Kho for the opportunity to participate to another swim challenge, the open swimmer also carried a deeper cause with his swim which is to promote Masbate tourism. 

According to Macarine, during his swims, he prepares by ensuring he had enough sleep of at least 7-8 hours a day and practicing self-discipline by allotting at least one hour a day to swim and maintaining his diet as a plant-based athlete.

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Photos by Oliver Palma