With the onset of summer, and vacation just around the bend, watersports hug the limelight anew, particularly for the young ones who want to engage in socially fulfilling activities during their break from school.
One event that the city deemed worth watching was the Manila Bay Seasports Festival, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, between the Philippine Navy headquarters and the US Embassy Complex along Roxas Boulevard.
Not only did it feature the country’s foremost boatmen in a test of speed and skill in the annual bancathon’s stock and formula races, the event also highlighted dragon boat racing as a highly competitive sport among students and young urban professionals.
Dragon boats are slim, canoe-like racers, each with a brilliantly-colored, hand-painted and hand-carved dragon’s head at the prow and a flashy tail at the stern. Each boat holds up to 20 rowers sitting two abreast, with a steersperson at the back and a drummer in the front whose beat sets the pace for the crew. It is an activity wherein teamwork, coordination and cooperation take precedence over individual strength.
The 2000-year-old spectator sport has increasingly gained enthusiasts and serious competitors all over the world. The Philippines has in the past years brought home medal after medal from the world championships, the latest of which was a third place finish in 2016. The conuntry’s national team is the reigning ICF Asian champion.
This year’s Manila Bay Seasports Festival Dragon Boat races has seen participants such as Triton, Onslaught Racing Dragons, RCP Sea Dragons, Philippine Blue Phoenix, Rogue Pilipinas, Dragons Republic, One Piece Drakon Sangres, Pilipinas Wave Warriors, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, NTMA Dragons, Amateur Paddlers Philippines, Bruins, Speed Devilz, and Maharlika Drakon.