By Mike Crismundo
SURIGAO CITY – Three known Chinese dragon boat teams will challenge other foreign and Philippine teams in the most thrilling big sea sporting event of the year — the three-day 2nd Surigao City International Dragon Boat Tournament/Festival that will kick off in this northeastern-tip city of Surigao, in Southern Philippines Friday.
The 24-man Guangzhou Shipai Youth Dragon Team, the 21-team Shenzhen International Dragon Boat Club, and the 20-man Dong Guan Rongwei Dragon Boat Team, are set to show their expertise in the dragon boat sporting event.
“They are the team to beat against other foreign dragon boat teams and our national dragon boat teams,” said Surigao City Tourism Office Supervising Tourism Officer Ms. Roselyn Armida Merlin, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin on Thursday.
These Chinese teams would compete against the 13 teams from Mindanao, five teams from Visayas, and one from Luzon, she said.
The Chinese teams have been competing in the dragon boat races in China for years and their participation would be a great challenge and experience for the Filipino teams, Regional Director Ma. Ana T. Nuguid of the Department of Tourism (DOT) also told The Manila Bulletin on Thursday.
The 2018 Philippine team champions during the 1st International Dragon Boat Tournament/Festival here – the Kampilan Dragon Boat Team (Davao City), the Bugsay Marajao Team (Surigao City), the FSUU Alumni Team (Butuan City) and Speed Devillz Team (Manila), will defend their respective crowns in this year’s tournament.
Some of the dragon boat teams have already arrived to familiarize themselves with the sea waves here.
“All of them are seen to capture the championship crown this year,” said DOT 13 Director Nuguid, who accompanied Undersecretary Art Boncato to grace this country’s big sporting event of the year.
The DOT 13 official is expecting a big number of sea sporting enthusiasts, including tourists, both foreign and domestic, during the three-day event.
Top local government unit officials led by Surigao City Mayor Ernesto “Estong” Matugas and his father Vice-Mayor Ernesto “Nitoy” Matugas, Surigao del Norte Gov. Francisco T. Matugas and 1st District Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose F. Matugas ll will spearhead the grand opening ceremony at the City Boulevard here tomorrow.
“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 Mayor Estong Matugas and Vice-Mayor Nitoy Matugas, respectively, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin.
Also invited to grace the big sea sporting event here are Senators Manny Pacquiao and Bong Go.
The competition will run up to July 7, 2019.