Alongside the growing popularity of running bloomed into the health and wellness psyche of the Filipinos dragon boat racing. And why not, runners seeking to equalize lower body muscular development produced by running took to paddling for their upper body enhancement. Here in the metro, early morning traffic-less travel to Manila Bay area where dragon boat teams have their home bases is a breeze.
Even I have a very short-lived stint with dragon boat racing (a day!) together with some members of the Fabulous Running Divas having done our introductory session with the Maharlika Drakons. The team was then trying to put up an all-gay roster and they were looking for additional members to fill in. We tried our very best to fit the bill. But, for me at least, sad to say, there was no “love at first try” spark at all!
Add to this is the fact that I live a good distance away from the base, which is the Philippine Coast Guard area of the Manila Bay near the Quirino Grandstand that I needed to wake up very early. I hate waking up very early in the morning! If there is a will though, I believe, there is a way. Just not a sport for me I suppose. Other teams have bases scattered throughout this Manila Bay stretch. I saw one team having theirs near the CCP area where some fun runs have their start/finish areas.
The Philippines Canoe Kayak Dragon Boat Federation (PCKDF) is the sanctioned officiating body by the Philippines Olympic Committee to represent the country in kayak, canoe, and dragon boat races. The federation have been at work at developing future national team paddlers from the grass roots with several projects conducted all over the country to discover and train young talents. Just recently, the federation held a canoe, kayak and dragonboat clinic at Sulok North Buhangin Malita Davao Occidental.
Photo Credit: PCKDF Facebook Page
“Few years back our paddlers right now where developed from this program. They started when they were nine in canoe and kayak and now they are sixteen and eighteen and they are competing already.” PCKF Head Coach Len shared obviously referring to her Taytay Boys, so called because most of the team members live and train in Taytay, Rizal. The result of this early training development, discipline, and good moral conduct is a champion team that have conquered major competitions here and abroad.
The current roster of Philippine national team consisting of 52 members including the coaches was seen recently doing some charitable works like the one they did at the Bahay Ampunan Foundation, a foster home for destitute old women of Tanauan. This is in keeping not only the body strong but the heart and soul as well.
Photo Credit: PCKDF Facebook Page
The Taytay Boys and their story at Dragonboat.ph.
Okey so the dragon boat community has grown leaps and bounds not only locally but internationally as well. But they are not resting on their laurels. This coming November 11-13, the PCKDF in partnership with the Philippines Scports Commission, the City of Puerto Princesa, and the Philippine Olympic Committee will be hosting for the very first time in the country, the 2016 Asian Dragon Boat Championship.
The first 2 days will be the Asian Dragonboat Championship where national teams from other powerhouse countries will be competing. The second and third day will see action from different international dragon boat clubs in the 2016 Puerto Princesa International Club Crew Championship. This event promises to be one extravanganza of dragon boat competition that the PCKDF is trying to successfully stage to cement their credibility as the premier dragon boat federation not only in the country, but in the world of canoe, kayak and dragonboat as well.