MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Paddling is more than just a sport for members of the Bohol Paddlers Association, Inc.
According to its president, Dr. Theodore “Doyet” Dumaluan, it is a way of life that teaches them personal development. At the same time, the sport also helps raise awareness on the particular importance of water in our lives.
“The main goal of this dragon boat is for personal development and [for us} to be developed individuals, [so that] we will be contributing to the community. Dragon boating is also intended for us to be aware of our water environment. So, the only way nga ma aware ta sa atong (that we become aware of our) environment is to be actively present there and not just being present but to enjoy the presence associated with our environment, ” he said.
Their association, he said, also would want to contribute to Bohol province’s economic stability, especially after the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to do this, they are organizing their first national competition in July 2023, which is timed with the Sandugo Festival in Tagbilaran City.
“When they [the paddlers] come here, they will have to spend diri (here). Ilang plete (their fare), especially the particular organizations. When they come here they have to be billeted to hotels and then they will spend for their own meals, and after that our races will become held on a Friday and Saturday and on a Sunday. It will certainly be R and R (a rest and recreation) for them. So these people will go around, so they will be spending. They will be helping the economy by spending here in Bohol, ” this individual said.
Dumaluam said that a year after their group was established in 2012 to turn out to be the first dragon boat association in the Visayas, they have been organizing local races.
And next year, they are planning to go big by arranging a national race.
“We started with small events locally. And then, we were always aiming for bigger events, ” he said.
Dumaluan said they planned to invite a maximum of 20 groups, including some elite teams from Manila plus parts of the Visayas and Mindanao to join the competition called “Bohol Island Dragon Boat Festival 2023. ”
The competition will be held at the Tagbilaran Strait that separates Tagbilaran City within the mainland from Dauis town.
Dumaluan said the race area would be “perfect” for the competitors because it had very calm waters. Bohol province furthermore has several beaches that will may be used as alternative venues for the particular competition.
“What we believe is that Bohol has a very potential race area. As far as race area is concerned, we have the best so far. We have been in order to other places, even Boracay. Although gwapo ilang beaches didto pero for racing, dili kaayo ingon ana ka as wonderful (the beaches there are good for racing, it will be not as wonderful) because our place (here) because we have so many options, ” he stated.
Racing in Dams
And in the future, Dumaluan said, they wanted to make the race an international event.
They also envision of bringing their races to the different dams in Bohol province.
“With this events sa mga (in our) dams, that will would make us also aware of the watersheds so it will become part of the awareness of the group, ” he or she said.
The particular province of Bohol, according to Dumaluan, has more than six dams.
But before they will be able to bring the particular races to the dams, they will have to start by teaching locals how to race. This will end up being in addition to the clinics that they are now conducting for interested college students.
Dumaluan, a doctor by profession, said that before he and the other members of their team would retire from joining dragon vessel races, they hoped in order to share their passion towards the young generation and to create new teams from among the locals.
Their association now has close to 100 members plus 13 boats for their use.
Dumaluan said that over time, he already had four training boats, five small boats and four large vessels made for his team.
These motorboats that are made associated with a combination of wood and fiber glass take months to complete and are fabricated at his shop.
Dumaluan is also into the business of making dragon boats.
“Visayas Dragon Boat events started here in Bohol. We opted to make it a very sustainable event. What we did in our group is we made our own boats that is why we are able to sustain. There are locally made dragon vessels and the specs are usually within the required standards with regard to the events, ” this individual said.
And when they are not coaching for competitions, Dumaluan mentioned, they participate in worthwhile activities like relief operations organized by local governments in their island province, in the event of calamities.
Dumaluan recalled that when a strong earthquake hit Bohol within October 2013, they were tapped to facilitate the transport of relief goods to families that were isolated by the collapse of the Abatan bridge located along Tagbilaran City’s north road.
“The only transport was (a) dragon boat so we provided it to them. Pila ka weeks to nga (It was how numerous weeks of) commitment until the bridge was restored, ” he said.
Their group furthermore helped in rescue procedures during the Loboc River bridge collapse in April 2022.