Tuna Fest’s dragon boat race draws 8 top teams

Dragon boat teams race each other on the waters of Sarangani Bay during the 2nd GenSan Tuna Festival Dragon Boat Race on Sunday (3 September 2017). Delegates from the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as amateur dragon paddlers, came to participate in the event. Photo courtesy of Cocoy Sexcion for GenSan CPIO

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 31 August) – Eight top dragon boat teams from parts of Mindanao will see action in the third edition of the Tuna Festival Dragon Boat Competition slated on Sunday, Sept. 2, at the Sarangani Bay.

Bertilo Cuaton, event coordinator, said Friday they are all set for the competition, which will be joined by more than 350 professional paddlers.

The competition is among the highlights of the city’s 2018 Tuna Festival, which runs from Sept. 1 to 5.

“This will be an open race featuring club crews or professional paddlers,” he said in a press conference.

Cuaton said the participating teams, which are all accredited with the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation, are from Surigao provinces and the cities of Davao, Iligan, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro.

Most of the participants competed in the recent dragon boat races of Cagayan de Oro City’s Higalaay Festival and Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival.

Cuaton said the teams are scheduled to test the waters and the race course off the city’s Queen Tuna Park in Barangay Dadiangas South.

An event briefer said the competition proper on Sunday morning will feature long distance and short or print races.

The long distance race will cover 1,000 meters or one kilometer while the sprint was set for 200 meters.

The teams will compete in the qualifying, semifinal and final rounds, with all vying for the best race time.

The prizes at stake are P17,000 for the champions, P12 for the first runner-up and P8,500 for the second runner-up.

Cuaton, the president of the Davao City-based “Bugsay sa Pagpukaw” dragon boat club, said they raised the level of competition this year in line with the city government’s efforts to institutionalize the event.

“Bugsay sa Pagpukaw” organized last year the second staging of the event, which was joined by local and school-based dragon boat teams.

He said among those confirmed to join the Sunday race was the team of Cortes Mayor William Angos, who will anchor his 40-person crew.

Angos has been promoting the sport to highlight the environmental protection conservation programs in their coastal barangays.

“We’re also aligning the event towards that direction,” Cuaton added. (MindaNews)