The paddlefights last 28-29 April were so evenly matched that we never saw a lopsided result for the whole duration of the races. There was always a team – or teams – that would challenge the eventual winner of each heat. The races were so riveting, the drama in the water so keen, that leads could change hands at the blink of an eye. And the crowd would go wild with anticipation as each team tried to outlast each other at the finish.
And with the high level of competition available, it is to the credit of the PDBF Technical Staff, led by the indefatigable SecGen, Ms Priscilla Castillo, that she was on top of the situation at all times. Also around to ensure the smooth handling of the games was the President of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation herself, Ms Marcia Cristobal. Job well done, Marcia and Pinky!!
Our title sponsor, Cobra, was also ably represented with the presence of Ms Jinky Sebastian, Senior Brand Assistant. She was all over the place, making sure that the everything was going on as smoothly as possible. She also provided a lot of help in entertaining guests and media personalities who graced the affair. Hats off to you, Jinky, for the help you provided to make this a good show. Another key figure present was Ms Joy Balagot, manager of the tourney’s darlings, the Lake Buhi Sinarapan Paddlers. The Buhi Team almost didn’t make it due to fund constraints, if not for Joy’s persistence and commitment to the competition. Seeing the high level of competition already aboard, Joy felt that it would be a great sin to the fans if she denied the Buhi Team a chance to show their wares.
On the local scene, Gov Ed Chatto provided the guidance despite his hectic sked. He was ably represented by his provincial admin, Ayi Damalerio, and the Provincial Sports Chair, Joel Molina. Ditto for Atty Doy Nunag, Dr Doyet Dumaluan and the Department of Tourism’s Dir Weng Montecillo. Our salute also goes to Mayor Jimmy Jimenez of Dauis, and his able sidekick, Reuben. Fr Jingboy Saco of the Dauis Parish Church was on hand to provide assistance as well.
But I have to pay special tribute to the core group of talents who burned the midnight oil planning, implementing, laying the groundworks, charming, cajoling, what-else-have-you ….. in order to make the event a truly memorable one. This group of ‘event warriors’ stood their ground, despite the unfamiliarity of the terrain, the enormity of the task at hand, the lack of available personnel and resources, and the many unexpected challenges thrown their way during the “Battle of Tagbilaran Strait’. I am extremely proud of this group, and I’d like to say that come crunch time, you cannot have a better team by your side. They’ll suck their guts, they’ll go to work, and they’ll ask for more. I loved the ‘can-do’ spirit, the ‘bring-it-on’ attitude that these guys have imbibed. To Gen Juachon, LJ Lumayag, Ghen Lumayag, Raul Gatal, Liza Macalindog, Maleth Zafra, Maria Escabarte, Mark Aranas, Girlie Garcia, Cana Apale, Ian Anino, Gelan Morales, Alma Lim, Bay Magallanes, Angie Hoffman, please take a bow. Let me also give special mention to Jojo, Hyacinth, Jerson Gamas, Rey Donaire, Rey Chiu, the Coast Guard’s Aga Bibat, Sylvia Fortich, Nonet Bolo, Edna Ballesteros, and Ed and Josie Torralba for the wonderful assist job they provided us. You are truly all heavensent.
The 2nd Cobra-PDBF International Club Crew Challenge was not without its imperfections, of course. There were bound to be some glitches obviously, as is usually the case for first-born babes. Birth pains, so they say. But by and large, considering the time and resource constraints, considering the distractions and the detractors, we did good. Bohol today has breached some old traditional limits, and is ready to march on forward. If only for that realization, we have all been made better. Thanks to that brief period of time – when dragons ruled Bohol.
To everyone who joined the first-ever dragon boat festival in Bohol – from the athletes, to the sponsors, to the organizers, the spectators and fans – we are all winners here. For this event has brought us all together, and has taught us the value of working together as one. It gifted us with a poignant lesson: that of having one direction, one focus, one leader. And it imbibed in us the importance of synchronization, grim determination, and finally, unity. All these, in the grand tradition of the dragon boat.
The 2nd Cobra – PDBF International Club Crew Challenge was produced by the Provincial Government of Bohol, the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation, and Tapok Tapok Bol-anon, together with Cobra, Philex, Smart Communications and Cetaphil. Co-producing the event were Lj Lumayag of K & N Productions, Bohol Paddlers Association, and the municipalities of Dauis and Maribojoc, Rotary Tagbilaran, JCI Bohol Kisses and JCI Chocolate Hills.
The major sponsors were: Bluewater Panglao, Bellevue Hotel, First Consolidated Bank, TIEZA, Zoocolate Thrills, and the Department of Tourism (DOT). Other sponsors include: Dep Comm Danny Lim, Oishi, 2Go, Adnama Mining, Hyundai, Danao Adventure Park, Starlite, Eskaya, Ramasola Studios, Truckworld, Lite Shipping, Island Prints and Cong Rene Relampagos.
The media partners include: the Manila Bulletin, Sports Digest, Philippine Star, Business Mirror, TV5, Solar Sports, Sports Unlimited, BCCTV, Bohol Chronicle, DYRD, and Xync Magazine.
Till next time, everyone, I say: Paddles up!!
Photo credits: The Original Ramasola Studios