Bohol unleashes Sandugo dragon boat festival races

By Rey Anthony Chiu | 09:32 AM March 15, 2023

Water sports enthusiasts get another reason to be in Bohol during the Sandugo season: the interesting races in the Bohol Island Dragon Boat Festival taking Tagbilaran City Strait, July 21 and 22, 2023.

We are bringing out very interesting race formats that would make visiting paddler teams remember Bohol, said paddler and festival co-presentor Dr. Theodore Dumaluan.

Organized by the Bohol Paddlers Association Incorporated and the Provincial Government in cooperation with Pagpakabuhi, the Bohol Island Dragon Boat Festival hopes to open up another sports activity that draws tourists, help athletes bolster their discipline, fortitude, patience and teamwork, while getting reconnected to their Asian roots.

Dragon Boating is an open canoe race, which may be sanctioned by the International Dragon Boat Federation, or may not.

The race, which can be done with ten paddlers: a steersman and a drummer on a short boat or twenty paddlers and steersman and drummer on a long boat, is a test of body stamina, teamwork and supporting each other from “paddles down” to “paddles up” at the finish.

Introduced to Bohol in the 1990s, dragon boating here created so much ripples with BPAI spreading the sports to Cebu and elsewhere in the Visayas, according to BDr. Dumaluan, who is also BPAI president.

The first to fully organize teams in Central Visayas, Bohol paddlers, who at one time were a force to be reckoned with after beating some of the country’s powerhouse dragon boat teams, were all ready to play in Malaysia, a few days before the 2013 earthquake.

Hesitant to leave home and recovering from the disaster, Bohol Dragon Boat team composed of other paddlers from local teams to sit as pacers, engine room and booster, instead used up their training for a volunteer work transporting passengers and relief goods when Abatan bridge collapsed.

At one time, dragon boat paddlers deployed themselves for rescue and relief operations when rains brought by storm Senyang flooded Loboc to the rafters.

Already forming a formidable team, Bohol paddlers however has to lie low due to the pandemic.

As Bohol now reopens it economy and spread the doors wide for tourism, dragon boat paddlers also see this as the perfect time to unleash the dragons.

During the launching of the Bohol Island Dragon Boat Festival, Governor Erico Aristotle Aumentado hoped the sports tourism activity unites Boholanos to paddle as one, to steer Bohol to new ports.

Already this early, BPAI Vice president Asterio Pocot Jr., said around 20 national teams have signified their intent in joining the festival races, of which Bohol is getting very famous of.

Tagbilaran City is also organizing pre festival races next week at the Tagbilaran City Strait. (rahc/PIA_7/Bohol)

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