Butuan schools hope to make city dragon boat race capital of Mindanao

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/17 September) – After the first dragon boat race here, the heads of the three teams that raced in Agusan River over the weekend expressed optimism they could make the city the dragon boat race capital of Mindanao.

Three local schools – Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), Butuan Doctors College (BDC) and Agusan Colleges Incorporated (ACI) – joined Saturday’s race as part of the Run and Row for Mother Earth, an event held at the Philippine Ports Authority riverside complex in the city.

Fr. Chito Butardo, vice president of FSUU cited the initial efforts that all three schools have put into pioneering the sport in the region.

“The event has been a huge success and it all started with just three schools. Hopefully, as the sports progresses more and more teams not only from other schools but [also] institutions would join in our efforts and make the event bigger,” he said.

The school official said he is looking forward to the day that Butuan would be able to send a team to compete in the national level.

“We hope to position ourselves in making Butuan City the dragon boat capital of Caraga region and hopefully throughout Mindanao. This we know is a huge undertaking, but since we try to pursue this as a mainstream sport, we hope to create and develop dragon boat teams that are capable in competing outside Butuan,” Butardo said.

Pebbles Estacio, assistant executive administrative officer of BDC said the school team was excited and thrilled at having finally experienced the race.

“Experiencing the race is much too different from the practice and training that they all go through. The race is a test and a benchmark on how our team fares with the rest of the competing teams and hopefully make adjustments from it,” said Estacio.

She emphasized that even if it did not win in any of the three race categories, the school was still proud for the enthusiasm the students had shown during the race.

Thucyoides C. Sadiasa, ACI chairman of the board welcomed the turn of events as beneficial to both the schools and the community since it has created a happy atmosphere along the river.

“The river is once again alive; you can see people along the riverside cheering while the race was ongoing. This effort will hopefully bring more people and awareness about our mighty Agusan River,” said Sadiasa.

Roland Mark T. Torralba, team captain of FSUU, pointed out the changes and how much the different teams have developed.

“Since the start of our training last July, you can see how much the performance has grown. Now we are well synchronized and the discipline level has significantly matured. We do acknowledge that there are still a lot of things we can learn to be at par with other teams nationwide,” Torralba, a 4th year law student, said. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)