Boracay’s Famed Dragon Boat Competition

White Beach on the tropical island of Boracay in the Philippines, honored by many praising reviews… Sweltered vacationers relax on the chaise lounges in the salvational shade of the palm trees of one of the most famous beaches in the world and… observe a group of brave women fiercely exercising on the Beach… (!!!)

Boracay Dragon Boat Festival, promoted by BIPA (Boracay Island Paddlers Association) has been held for the last four years and was crowned with “international” status from the first splash of the paddle. For the small Boracay community these competitions became the essential part of its social life.

Not the Festival itself but the Great Joy of Friendship, Fun and Health building brings people together. You may happen to paddle together with GM of a big resort, yacht owner, web-designer or a chef-cook. The variety of participants can be compared only to the diversity of exotic plants in Mimie’s garden. Mimie with her husband Ariel own and manage the charming boutique Boracay Beach Club (BBC) hotel. They are known as generous hosts to their guests (from guest’s comments on TripAdvisor) and caring “parents” to their employees (from all the happy smiles of BBC’s dedicated staff).

Mimie joined the dragon boat team “Master Bathers” two years ago. Somehow people managed to pronounce second part of the team name slightly differently which sounded as “only for adults” content. As a result their team had trouble finding new adherents and the President, Candy de Tagle Ledesma, Tootsie Rohnholm, and the club members decided to change name for “BumShells”. That’s how the team entered modern digital history book – Boracay Dragon Boat Festival webpage.

Preparation for the competition began four months before the actual Dragon Boat Competition. Twice a week Bumshellers would gather for Sport, Sun and Friendship and to be observed by surprised tourists. In the heat of Boracay sun they devoted some hours of their precious time to prepare for the Competition. Not only is the striving for the golden medal moving their bodies in the heat of Boracay weather but desire for the golden relationship, Island Team Spirit.

They want to have Fun and share it with everybody around…. That’s why Boracay Beach Club’s restaurant Ariel’s House, for a day, became the office which helped other teams to get information and organize their visit to the Festival. BBC became the “BBC” of the Dragon Boat Competition: this small spot on Boracay map became broadcasting station for Boracay dragon boat festival information.

One month left before the competition…Atmosphere tensed. Exercises became every day practice. Warmth from limbed up bodies heats up already hot air.

One day before the Opening Ceremony all Mimie and other Bumshellers came to Boracay Beach Club to prepare for the presentation of their team at the Welcome Cocktail. Taking Mimie’s and her friends’ opened hands & mind & heartfelt attitude to life and people her group managed to bring together an incredibly international team: Livonian, Latvian, Mexican… And that’s when all the Fun started! Wigs, gigantic glasses, rainbow stockings enhanced by great enthusiasm, rays of striking energy and happiness.

Here you are, Great Day of Festival Opening! First day participants underwent one of the hardest trials- enjoying welcome cocktails without feeling hangover on the next day of competition:)!! During that event teams presented their Songs of Soul & Cries of Heart to introduce themselves.

The next day was 500-Meter Men’s, Women’s & Mixed Open Races. That day Mimie silently returned to BBC We were able to see her only in the evening, tired but smiling, she told us about some difficulties and exhaustion of waiting in the sun but with the consolation of joy that the camaraderie brings.

On third day teams had 300-Meter Men’s, Women’s & Mixed Open Races which went easier and more smoothly. Same day, 24 April, at the Awards & Farewell Dinner Party medals were given away. Bumshellers enjoyed participation and making new friends as the supreme reward for months of preparation! Not only new friends but new guests as well: one of the Canadian Dragon Boat participants moved to stay in Boracay Beach Club.

After the competition some of Bumshellers went for Nature & Adventure & Relaxation – to Ariel’s Point Trip. 30 minutes cruise on the speed boat brought them to the beautiful corner of Buruanga. Flourishing nature enhanced by creative thoughtful care makes this place unforgettable experience for many travelers. The main fun of this place is cliff jumping/divingfrom different heights, swimming, snorkeling, savoring barbecue lunch, and unlimited drinks, and enjoying Grand Life!

Ariel’s Point Trip has become THE Must-Do attraction on Boracay: It hosted Miss Earth 2009, part of “Nokia Team Building 2010” and was featured in TV Program Sports Limited, in the Manila Bulletin, Boracay Sun and other TV programs and publications. Great place for well-deserved Dragon Boat contestants to restore their strengths and get ready for new forthcoming competitions… plus the added Fun, as Ariel Abriam (owner of Ariel’s Point) declares: “God is good! Life is good!”

The Exciting 2011 Boracay International Dragon Boat Competition will be in April. The exact date to be announced.