Two weeks ago, I was in Cebu to promote the 2nd Cobra-PDBF International Club Crew Challenge to be held this Apr 26-30 in Dauis, Bohol. I had the opportunity to talk with key media personalities such as Michelle So of Sunstar, Irene Sino Cruz of Philippine Daily Inquirer, plus Atty Frank Malilong Jr, Atty Omar Redulla and Atty Briccio Boholst, all of Radyo5, and of course, my media adviser and amiable cuzin, Rosemarie Borromeo of TV5. I also had the singular honor of meeting Ms Karla Kintanar Fernandez, wife of one of the best basketball players ever produced by the country, and certainly one of my all-time favorites – the great Mon ‘El Presidente’ Fernandez. And I had a wonderful time talking with them about all kinds of issues, not just the dragonfest.
And as we were discussing the 2nd Cobra Dragon Boat Challenge, a lot of stuff were being bounced around about the who, what, when, where and how of the event. But the question that got me stumped for a while was the why. “Why Bohol?”
Indeed, why hold the dragon boat extravaganza in Bohol? Why not Cebu? It had easier access, it could generate more noise, more interest, more viewers. Hands down, Cebu provided far better possibilities than Bohol. At first, I tried to look for valid reasons to answer that. But I realized it would be futile to even try to justify it. The one honest answer to that was that I was – and am – from Bohol. The main reason I want to hold this event in Bohol is because I want to help develop the province. I want to give Bohol something to brag about, to call its own. Yeah, simple as that.
We have this group in Manila called the Tapok Tapok Bol-anon. We started out as a weekend get-together fun-and-leisure group. But eventually, it developed into something more than that. We asked ourselves how we could best help our home province. And so, in 2001, we started sending computers to the less-endowed schools of Bohol. This later evolved into welding machines, sewing machines, cooking stuff, etc. We also got involved with disaster relief programs and sports activities.
This time though, we decided to embark on an even bigger project: the 2nd Cobra – PDBF International Club Crew Challenge. Humongous! Mind-boggling!! Truly ambitious!!! A lot of people were asking if we could still hack it considering the time constraint. (We started working on this project only last December.) Not a few people were saying it’s either we were too brave to do it, or too stupid not to know what we were getting into! (Hmm, come to think of it, it could be the latter.) My own kids rolled their eyeballs to the sky in unison when I announced I was ready for this new adventure. (What the heck, dad?) So there; a great idea that’s preposterously huge, refreshingly novel, and yes, significantly more beneficial.
But this is for Bohol. This is not about Tapok Tapok Bol-anon anymore. This is not about me. This is not about making money, for we are bound to give the proceeds of this event to a social project in Bohol anyway. This is about Bohol. This is about bringing more tourists and commerce to Bohol. This is about bringing sporting opportunities for Boholanos. And perhaps, more than anything else, this is about bringing honor and prestige to Bohol.
And so we went full speed ahead despite the difficulties and apprehensions. We brushed aside the cynicism and the negative thoughts. We continued to dream big for Bohol. For we want to make Bohol one of the prime water sport destinations in the country. And holding this tourney here, and making it a regular annual affair, will move that dream forward. Equally ambitious is the dream to produce world-class dragon boat practitioners in Bohol. We want to produce the Manny Pacquiao of dragon boat racing in Bohol! We want to sustain dragon boating in Bohol, and make it – hold your breath now – the dragon boat capital of the country! Nothing wrong with dreaming, right? At the very least, it gives us something to shoot for.
Bohol has always been laid back. Kind of. But it certainly has what it takes to become a world-class tourist destination. It has beaches far better than Bali. Its dive spots can compete with the best in the world. Balicasag was the reason my whole family became addicted to scuba-diving. Aside from these, Bohol has other diverse options from adventure tourism to nature to history to religion, etc. Quality stuff, too. You name it, we have it! Except golf. (Groan.) But we’ll have that pretty soon too. Because the Boholanos here and abroad will demand that. Bohol is ready for the big-time. In fact, DOT realizes this and is giving priority to Bohol’s development.
Indeed, I should no longer think twice in answering that question: why Bohol? Because Bohol deserves a better place in the sun. And Bohol is blessed with so many beautiful resources to make it to the top. Besides, there are a lot of fellow Boholanos who are willing to give of themselves to make this noble cause a reality. Let’s all do our share to make this project a resounding success!! Join us in this effort to make Bohol a prime water sport destination in the country.
The 2nd Cobra – PDBF International Club Crew Challenge is produced by the Provincial Government of Bohol, 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, TIESA, Cetaphil, and Zoocolate Thrills. Other sponsors include: DOT, 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 action on April 28-29 in Dauis, Bohol!