The entire Philippine Dragon Boat community is brimming with excitement over the impending clash between long-time rivals, Army and Navy, this April at the 2nd Cobra-PDBF Club Crew Challenge in Dauis, Bohol!! The Army and Navy paddlers have long dominated the local dragon boat scene, until something spoiled the otherwise healthy match-ups in the local dragon boating scene. This April 26-30, everyone is waiting with bated breath as the true heavyweights in dragon boat competition are all weighing in.
A decade ago, the Army and Navy, together with the Air Force, were clearly a cut above the rest in the dragon boat flock. This domination by the three comrades-in-arms in the military establishment would be challenged by the entry of teams from Boracay and Camarines Sur. Boracay’s development commenced in 2008, when it started to host local and international dragon boat competitions. CamSur emerged as a strong contender in 2009 when Gov Elray Villafuerte, who had a vision to make his province a prime water sport destination, announced that he wanted a highly-competitive dragon boat team. Those were the glory years of local dragon boating, when the best of the best would converge in Manila Bay for friendly games that would only serve to upgrade the national standards in the colorful sport of dragon boating.
This came to a screeching halt when the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) was scratched from the Philippine Olympic Commission (POC) in 2011. I will not go into the merits or demerits of that decision; but today, the Navy dominates the leagues under the Philippine Canoe Kayak Association (PCKF), while the Army has been slugging it out with Lake Buhi and a fast-developing Coastguard in the PDBF-sanctioned tourneys. Much like the Pacquiao-Mayweather non-fight, the absence of this dream match-up between the Army and the Navy in the local dragon boat scene has left a bad taste in the mouth. And it has been an agonizingly long two and a half years without a true championship match.
This month, there is cause for celebration. The Army and the Navy will be seeing action together for the first time in years! This is the match every paddle-master has been waiting for. This is the fight for all the marbles. This is the true Battle of Champions!!! Indeed, there is still hope for the unification of our dragon boat society.
The 2nd Cobra – PDBF International Club Crew Challenge is produced by the Provincial Government of Bohol, the Department of Tourism, the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation, and Tapok Tapok Bol-anon; with Cobra, Philex, the Sandugo Foundation, and Smart Philippines. Co-producing the event are Lj Lumayag of K & N Productions, Bohol Paddlers Association, Tagbilaran City, and the municipalities of Dauis and Maribojoc, Rotary Tagbilaran and Jaycees Bohol.
The major sponsors are: Bluewater Panglao, SunLife, Bellevue Hotel, First Consolidated Bank, Cetaphil, and Zoocolate Thrills. Other sponsors include: Oishi, 2Go, AMR, Starlite, Eskaya, Ramasola Studios, Truckworld, Island Prints and Cong Rene Relampagos.
The media partners include: the Manila Bulletin, Sports Digest, Philippine Star, Business Mirror, TV5, Solar Sports, Sports Unlimited, Bohol Chronicle, DYRD and DZRH.
Everyone is invited to watch the exciting dragon boat ‘battle of champions’ on April 28-29 in Dauis, Bohol!