Dragon Boat Racing in Boracay

For a boating sport that requires you to paddle while digging your fist into the water and taking in so much splashes, you would prefer to be paddling on a sea that is clear, clean and panoramic, like in Boracay Island.

The beach scene during the 11th BIDBF
The beach scene during the 11th BIDBF

As dragon boat race sites all over the world vary in terms of clarity, weight, size, texture and odor, the clean and soothing crystal clear sea of Boracay is certainly a dream destination for all competitive dragon boat paddlers.

Water spectators cheering for the dragon boat teams
Water spectators cheering for the dragon boat teams

While dragon boat teams from all over the world commit to their training schedules, teams from Boracay, each consisting of more than 22 paddlers devote a pleasurable two hours every day in a two-month training period, in exchange for a fun and enriching opportunity to be out in the center of the sea’s revitalizing splendor.


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Flag raising of all 33 participating teams
Flag raising of all 33 participating teams

The thing that most dragon boat teams have in common, however, is the anticipation of coming to Boracay Island and competing in the annual Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival.

Since 2007, paddlers hailing from all walks of the globe take advantage of coming to Boracay to paddle on the clear blue sea in the BIDBF and spend the summer holiday in Boracay in order to immerse in the local culture and meet dynamic people along the way.

The official dragon boats marvelously docked on the shore
The official dragon boats marvelously docked on the shore

This year, with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Canoe and Kayak Federation, the 11th BIDBF was able to invite 33 teams from North America, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and the Philippines to come to the island and compete in a fun and friendly race, which ran from April 20 to 22.

Dragon Boat teams such as Dragons of North America, UP Dragon Boat Team, De La Salle University, DBS Asia Dragons, Filipino Dragons Singapore, Stormy Dragons, PADS Adaptive Dragonboat Racing Team from Cebu, Balasador, Philippine Titans, Boracay Bumshells, Boracay Dragonflies, DPW, Gruppo-Habagat Paramount, Onslaught Racing Dragons Qatar, Angry Dragons Qatar, Manila Blazing Paddles, Shangri-la Flying Foxes, Smart Dragonboat Team, Team Hilera, Singapore Barbarians, Boracay Dragon Force, Boracay Sea Dragons and more, gathered on Boracay’s famous white beach on the first day of the festival for the traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Parade.

The booths of Dragons of North America
The booths of Dragons of North America

This traditional Chinese sport dates back to Ancient China to commemorate the unification of fisher folks protesting the death of their well-revered poet Qu Yuan.

Like the Qu Yuan’s fisher folks, these 1018 passionate paddlers participated in the race to perform their collective commitment for the sport that they love in the name of fun, fitness, camaraderie, and victory.

Adding the striking summer heat and the surprise upheaval of the current to the first race day, the 500-meter race turned out as a challenge and as an exercise of the will to finish at their fastest time regardless of boats capsizing or of difficulties in stirring the boat within their respective yet wavy lanes.

With the sea slightly calmed down on the second day of the race, all participants got to compete on the 250-meter category at their heightened confidence and satisfaction within a quicker time of an average of 1-minute and 20-second finishing time for every race heat, eventually ending the race by 2pm, which allowed the participants extra time to explore the rest of the island.

Gold Medalists of a Women's Masters Division, the Boracay Bumshells with 3 of the 4 founders of the BIDBF (photo by BIDBF fb)
Gold Medalists of a Women’s Masters Division, the Boracay Bumshells with 3 of the 4 founders of the BIDBF (photo by BIDBF fb)

At the end, even as some teams bagged awards on the 500 and 250 divisions of mixed, men’s and women’s teams on 5-pair small boat races and 10-pair big boat races everyone came out winners for being able to fulfill their love for the sport and to enjoy the beauty of the island known as Boracay.

To learn more about the Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival and to know how to join the next race on April 19 to 21, 2018, visit https://web.facebook.com/Boracay-International-Dragon-Boat-Festival-292219274711/.

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