An old saying goes ‘You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water’ and nobody knows this more than the Friendship Kayak Expedition Team who’s currently on Day 22 of their arduous 100-day journey.
The expedition that started out as an attempt to add another record to his list, Singaporean adventurer and Guinness World Record holder Khoo Swee Chiow’s daring Philippine adventure has taken a forward ferry to become an exploration of friendship.
“This expedition has been aptly called Friendship Kayak in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Filipino-Singaporean diplomatic relations.
It’s the friendship of the people of this land that has made it possible for us to come this far,” writes Swee Chiow in his expedition blog that details the progress of the team.
In fact, there has been one too many instances wherein it was the Filipinos’ innate hospitality that has gotten the team out of a bind. “It was getting dark. We couldn’t wait for the support boat. The villagers helped us find a resort to spend the night in,” recounts Swee Chiow of their experience at Gumasa in Sarangani. Another instance was when the Swee Chiow got separated from the rest of the team at Luban in Davao Oriental and had to rely on the villagers for directions on how to get to Cabuaya which is 9 km away.
But a crucial part of this ambitious expedition is the full support they have been getting from the local government units (LGUs) in all the stops they’ve made. He notes that Governor Miguel Dominguez of Sarangani Province and Governer Corazon Malanyaon (Davao Oriental) along with Mayor Enrique Yap (Glan), Vice Mayor Mario Guillermo (Nuing), Mayor Alex Bangoyan Wangkay (Caboran), Mayor Domingo Lim (Samal), and Mayor Alicia Mori (Caraga) have helped immensely in making the journey possible by providing them supplies, food, accommodations, land transportation, security and endless assistance.
“At this point in our expedition is where we really need the LGUs help to stretch our shoe string budget,” says Swee Chiow, referring to their already depleting funds that they fear might cause an end to their expedition “We hope that more people will give us support, because ultimately we want more people to be able to join us in this groundbreaking adventure, no pun intended.” He also adds that having additional funds allows them to stock more on food and provide safety gear to all kayakers that will take part in the journey.
This positive response by the local officials to the kayak expedition will prove to be advantageous to the Department of Tourism’s bid to make the country ‘The Kayaking Capital of Southeast Asia’. Recently the Department of Tourism (DOT) has launched the Philippine Kayaking Series 2009 to celebrate the sport as one of the fastest growing worldwide and is one of the country’s nature-based products.
Being the second largest archipelago in the world, the Philippines is a natural playing field for water sports, environment and adventure tourism activities such as kayaking. “We have natural assets for this ecosport because we are surrounded with different bodies of water like oceans, seas, rivers, marshes, mangroves and wonderful 30,000 coastlines,” says DOT Secretary Ace Durano.
And already local and international brands such as Primer Group of Companies, ROX, Habagat, 100 Plus, Kayakasia Paddle Sports, Water Cross, Columbia, Tahe Marine, Perspectiv Technologies, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Traders Hotel, Changi Sports Medicine Centre, Energizer, Temasek Polytechnic, Oakley, Blood Red, The Magic Touch, Banana Boat, Adventure 21 Outdoor & Travel Outfitters, Shuqun Primary and Bukit Panjang Government High School are seeing the potential of kayaking for the country as they take part as sponsors in this pioneering expedition.
“We’re hoping that this becomes the first official kayaking trail in the country,” says Toby Martin, Expedition Manager. “And we couldn’t stress enough that the success of this expedition would not at all be possible without the overwhelming help of every one involved, from LGUs to our sponsors and to villagers that we’ve met along the way.”
The Friendship Kayak Expedition started on August 31 and estimated to reach its destination on November.
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