Chinese dragon boat paddlers to feature in int’l tournament in Philippines

Three Chinese dragon boat teams from Guangdong province will challenge Philippine and other foreign teams in a three-day Dragon Boat tournament that will kick off in the southern Philippines city of Surigao on Friday.

The 24-man Guangzhou Shipai Youth Dragon Team, the 21-member Shenzhen International Dragon Boat Club, and the 20-man Dong Guan Rongwei Dragon Boat Team are set to show their expertise in the annual Surigao City International Dragon Boat Tournament and Festival which was founded in 2018.

These Chinese teams will compete against the 13 teams from Mindanao, five teams from the Visayas, one from Luzon, and other foreign teams, said Roselyn Merlin, an official in Surigao City tourism Office.

“They (the Chinese teams) are the teams to beat against other foreign dragon boat teams and our national dragon boat teams,” said Merlin.

Some of the dragon boat teams have already arrived to familiarize themselves with the wave conditions here, according to Merlin.

Local officials are expecting a big number of sea sporting enthusiasts including tourists, both foreign and domestic, during the three-day event.

“I am sure that our city will again register in the world map of tourism because of this big international event and our local folks are also benefited by this economically,” said Surigao City Mayor Estong Matugas.

Dragon boat racing, which can date back 2,000 years and originated in southern China, is a traditional competitive aquatic sport. During the race, teams of some 20 paddlers paddle furiously to the beat of a drum, providing spectators with an exciting and colorful sight.