Davao Does Dragon Boat

After its successful foray in Bohol for the 2nd Cobra – PDBF International Club Crew Challenge last May, the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) takes its grassroots development program a step further by hosting the annual event in far-away Davao City.


This May 1-4, 2014, Davao City will for the first time host an international dragon boat competition. This exciting event will coincide with the city’s Summer Sports Extravaganza, and is being organized jointly by the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) and the City Sports Development Division (CSDD). Expected to lure around a thousand foreign and local participants and followers, the dragon boat festival will provide opportunities for sports and youth development, as well as provide commercial and cultural benefits for the city and the adjoining provinces.


The planned sports spectacle will also help clean up the Davao River and provide a greater impetus for flood prevention and control. PDBF has recently teamed up with Greenpeace Philippines in order to promote awareness for the need to clean up our waterways and seas. This advocacy will fit right into the City’s aspirations in its own environmental consciousness program.

In expressing his support for the activity, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte instructed the City Sports OIC Butch Ramirez and City Tourism Head Lisette Marquez to immediately prepare the groundwork by studying the best practices and templates to successfully host such a fun-sporting event. Ramirez and Marquez will shortly meet with officials from the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) to ensure proper supervision and management of the event.


Based on the timeline presented to the Mayor in the presence of City Executive Assistant Bong Go, a training program will be effected before the year-end in order to enlist more players and followers. These local paddlers will compete in a tournament to be held during the Araw ng Dabaw festivities this coming March. The local races will be held along the Davao River, the results of which will determine who will represent the City in the upcoming international competition come May 1-4.


Dragon boating is a sport where we Filipinos can excel in. It is a sport that does not need height nor bulk in order to excel. What it needs is teamwork, synchronization, unity of effort, one leader and one direction. On top of that, with the country’s archipelagic nature, paddling comes naturally for the Filipinos. Hence, we are revered in the world of dragon boating, and we continue to hold the world records in the 200 meters standard premiere open category with a time of 40.02 seconds; and the 200 meters standard premiere mixed category with a time of 43.50 seconds.

The 2014 Davao International Dragon Boat Club Competition is part of the PDBF’s grassroots development initiatives, in the hope of finding more paddling talents this side of the country. Aside from the obvious benefits in health and fitness, the sport is also a good vehicle for team building and character development activities. The competition is the first of its kind in the island of Mindanao, and this early, there are already plans to create a Mindanao circuit which will bring the excitement and drama of the sport to other Mindanao cities.


Finally, the competition is also envisioned to show the world that Davao City is a secure and ideal site for international events, be it in sports or otherwise. With the recent developments in Zamboanga and some parts of Mindanao, hosting this international competition will convey the message of hope, peace and prosperity for the region.


For inquiries on how to avail of the free orientation and lessons in dragon boating, please call Mr Ronnel Abrenica or Mr Charles Maxey of the City Sports Development Division at Davao #221-2266. City Sports OIC Butch Ramirez is encouraging LGUs, schools, companies and clubs to develop their own teams in preparation for the training. Registration will start very soon. Training is expected to start by mid-November.

(Photo credits to clickdavao.com, lakwatseradeprimera.com, theblacktwig.wordpress.com, davaotoday.com, sunstar.com.ph, ramasola’s studio)


  1. I’m waiting for an invitation to the Mayor’s mother.
    Team from Indonesia, Surabaya, East Java will be participating.


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