“Abandon Boat!” was the scream commanded by the drummer when the Bogo Paddlers’ boat was about to capsize!
Rough seas pounded the Bogo Paddlers during their race in the First Panglao Dragon Boat Challenge. Typhoon Ineng and the south east monsoon were a horrible mix to the event, but ones that turned the paddling indeed a challenge. A number of boats were swallowed by the waves, including that of Bogo Paddlers. Quite a number of them capsized in a movie-like fashion. One drummer fell into the sea. And the zig zag direction of boats during the races added spectacle to the excitement of the paddlers and the 1000 spectators in that fine-white-sand beach of Alona Panglao Island.
The Bogo Paddlers was set and ready to battle as soon as the sun showed up on the horizon from Alona beach. Then they joined the gathering of paddlers coming from different parts of the country. The fun of the event already picked up heights when paddlers rub elbows, take selfies, chit chat and exchange warm greetings with other paddlers. Bogo Paddlers returned the warmth to Bohol Paddlers who showed them the same warmth during the First Bogo Dragon Boat hosted by Bogo City, held in Polambato, Bogo City, last May of 2015. The drum rolled and a parade of paddlers occupied a long stretch of Alona Beach.
The program opened with a bang as all paddlers danced and goofed with it. This energized them and the crowd who dance along with them in that early morning zumba warm up. Bogo Paddlers proved to be all experience dancers. The chattering laughter swept the air after the zumba session and it died down almost as fast as it rose, when the paddlers prepared to race.
All teams took their spots, did their final briefing and set themselves up for the race. Then there went the first race, then the second, then the third and then… Bogo Paddlers were called to load up in lane number 4 for their first race. Incidentally, lane number 4 was the outer lane facing the ocean, the first lane to be hit by the big and strong waves caused by the typhoon and south east monsoon.
As soon as they set foot on their boat they felt the pounding of the waves which tossed them here and there. The drummer beat on the drum to command the paddlers to row. The boat glided but once in a while changed directions and would lean to one side as the wave would continue to pound. The Bogo Paddlers knew that was a foreshadowing of what would about to happen. Despite this, they were undaunted and continued to row to the starting point.
As soon as they reached the starting point and maneuvered to go to their racing lane, the seawater flooded their boat. They remained afloat, until a sudden gust of wind and a sudden slam of huge wave sunk their boat. Although sank, the fiber and wood material of the boat kept them afloat just on the surface of the water. They tried to draw the water out form their boat but another wave pounded, forcing their boat to capsize. Abandon boat! the drummer shouted as the where all suddenly tossed into the air! All crew found themselves into the water. Despite the series of unfortunate turns of events, the Bogo Paddlers scrambled to the side of their boat to salvage it. With the help of the marshals, they turned their boat back and drew out the water from it making it afloat again.
Are you ready!, the marshal shouted. Attention! Embattled Bogo Paddlers, dripped with their own sweats and seawater, rose their paddles ready to drive them down the water. Row! One, Two…… the drum beat forcefully as the Paddlers drove their paddles forcing the boat to accelerate fast! Ready for long!, the drummer shouted! Long! the Paddlers reached longer loading their strokes with more sustained acceleration! They were head to head against Lex Mark team and Bohol Paddlers in lane 3 and 2. Then the persistent waves pounded stronger. Seawater again flooded the boat. Tining shouted, power long! the drummer gave the command, Power, Now! the crew gave their all until about 20 meters away from the finish line, the waves swallowed them once again. Their boat sunk. the crew momentarily tossed, rocked and thrown off their seats. That time, all of them knew the race was lost! Then the drum continued to pound! Tining exclaimed! Boys, oars up! row!
Bogo Paddlers rowed their sunken boat to the finish line as the crowed applauded to the spectacular display of spirit and determination amidst the series of unfortunate events that befell the Bogo Green City Paddlers.
In the afternoon races, the Bogo Paddlers bounced back to race some more. But the weather continued to worsen capsizing two more boats including that of the Bogo Paddlers, broke one, and damage another. The event Organizers were forced to call off the race and transferred the remaining races to a nearby Municipality (Dawis).
Paraiso Dawis Wild Dragon emerged champion in that race, followed by the Panglao Blue Dragon, Tubigon Aquagon, and lastly the Sagwan Pilipinas.
Presently, the Bogo Green City Paddlers is composed of 10 crew, they need 15 more paddlers to complete its line up for both short and long dragon boat races. They will meet on Sunday August 30, 2015, 7:30 AM at Polambato Port to practice. everyone who is physically fit and willing, is welcome to try out!
for more information, kindly leave your message in the comment section below. Or contact the author at his email address.