Sports Unlimited: 6th Boracay International Dragonboat Festival

By Jasmine Perez, Multimedia Producer, Sports Unlimited

Posted at May 15 2012 11:50 PM | Updated as of May 16 2012 07:38 PM

Tourists are not the only ones who troop to our country's favorite tropical island beach. Each summer, paddlers from all over the globe also arrive in Boracay to participate in the famous Boracay International Dragonboat Festival.

Boracay Island Paddlers Association made sure that this year's edition wasn't only the biggest but also the most relentless competition ever. With 26 teams kicking off the competition, this year’s edition was surely launched with a flying start. The festival’s record-breaking turnout out not only made the ceremonies into a rapturous celebration, it also awakened the dragon with enough fire and Boracay’s signature party flavor.Dragonboat racers are not only known in this world for their brute strength. This breed could also fire up the stage with their energetic vibe.
Once the music stopped, these paddlers tuned a different beat -- the pounding of drums, signaling the start of the intense heats ahead. The first event was the 500-meter race where different teams from the Netherlands, USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada and the Phillippines battled for a whole day all-out war against each other. 
Most teams have already competed in previous Boracay Dragonboat races.

But this year, some paddling crews came here for the first time to have a taste of our famous festival.For old timers, dragonboat racing is beyond the ordinary competition, it is also about building strong ties across the globe and treating each newcomer with a fitting dragonboat welcome.

Tourists flocked to the white sands of Boracay to join the celebration and witness the fierce heats while chilling on the beach. In between the races, the mood changed from intense to downright fun. The face-off didn't just stop on their boats but they also continued the showdown with a whole lot of cheering and grooving.
The Fleet Marine Team was geared to have their first sweep in all three final heats -- the Men's Open, the Women's and the Mixed Team categories.As expected, the men’s championship was a tight match between the Navy and the Boracay Guardians but the seasoned Navy men fired their oars faster, edging the Boracay team with a few milliseconds.

The Fleet Marine continued to display their dominance, easily claiming the Women's and Mixed Team categories.
Day two of the festival was the 250-meter event. And this time, the shorter race was all about speed and power. Teams who didn’t make it to the finals on the first day were more than motivated to stage a comeback. But for the Fleet Marine, they’re determined to dominate another day of paddling.

The finals of the female category sprints was a much-awaited event with the strong women of Navy facing their equally talented squad, the Boracay Bumshells. Bugsay Boracayand UP Dragon Boat Team tried to chase the two feisty teams but the sexy Bumshell ladies paddled their way fast, spoiling Fleet Marine's plan to sweep all heats.
Dragonboat racing entails a lot of team coordination, indomitable strength and unwavering spirit. One thing the Navy force mastered was their synch. They moved as one team and they roared their "no mercy" battle cry in unison. And sure enough, the masters of the sea carved the waters of Boracay, showing their pure supremacy over the PDRT Fireblades in the Mixed category and the Boracay Guardians in the Men’s Open category.

The Fleet Marine Team emerged the most victorious in the festival, bagging 5 out of 6 events in the two-day competition, proving that their Pinoy strength is world-class.
May 12, 2012