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Waking Up Paoay Lake: The 2nd Paoay Lake Dragonboat Competition

July 20, 2018

A dragonboat team paddles to the starting point.

Shot with DJI P3S. ISO100, 1/800 sec., f/2.8.

 

20th day of July 2018. 

This blog post is long overdue. If you're a frequent of ilocanoshutterman.com, I apologize for delaying this. I was bombarded with school stuff the past few months. The storm whipped the metro heavily at the middle of the week, classes and clinics are suspended, so I finally got the time to rethink and write.

 

Remember the blog post I wrote about Samuel Blas' Kamarrín Cafe? Well, this kickstarted my 'gig' at the Paoay Lake last April 28 and 29. If you have visited this blog a week before the event, you might have seen some advertisements about the 2nd Paoay Lake Dragonboat Competition popping out of your screen. Well that was it. It was Architect Phillip Co, a fellow Ilocano hailing from San Nicolas, I.N., who kindly invited me to this local sporting event. I immediately accepted even though I was still in the metro - for I knew in myself I wouldn't miss this becoming water sport in the province and I couldn't wait to be a part of it. If you missed it, here's a summary of the whole event in the form of a vlog.

 

 

 

 

Familiar with the legend of the Paoay Lake yet? You can read it here

 

Truth be told, growing up in the Philippines made me place even more confidence in cultural folktales than in realizations of political promises. Put it on the table, yes I believe in the myth! Add more townsfolk stories there (yep, I live just nearby) and you'll go nuts. Well, that's not only in my case. If you have been passing through this lake from time to time, you seldom see people walking along its shores because of this legend that's known to the whole province. Instead they spend time watching the serenity of the lake from a distance: in balconies of establishments (such as in Vista de Lago and in Kamarínn) or at the viewdeck. No one dares to get closer to the water, but not in Arch. Phil and his wife Duchess' case.

 

Architect Phillip Co, kayaking during the practice day.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO800, 1/1250 sec., f/1.2.  

 

 

Dipping your little toes into the water? Easy (for them). Scrap the myth, Arch. Co loves the water very much that he kayaks at Paoay Lake almost every morning. This routine and their enthusiasm to water sports gave them the idea of bringing dragonboating to Ilocos Norte. Sir Phil himself is a recognized and certified PCKDF (Philippine Canoe, Kayak & Dragonboat Federation) coach, and Ma'am Duch is a coach of the National Team.

 

 

Architect Phillip Co, after kayaking during the practice day.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO800, 1/500 sec., f/1.2.

 

 

You read it right, Team Philippines made an attendance to this event.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO800, 1/400 sec., f/1.2.

 

Dragon head.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/1000 sec., f/1.2.

 

Dragon tail.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/1000 sec., f/1.2.

 

 

STARTING LINE

 

I arrived in Ilocos Norte the morning of the first day of the event, Apr. 28 Saturday (practice day). I found myself in Paoay Lake before going to Laoag to check on the practice sessions of the competing teams. I went down from the main road to the event area near the shore to have a little chat with Sir Phil. Of course, the first question to ask was how all of it started.

 

I don't know if I'm allowed to say all of it, but here's the gist (I know you hate reading long paragraphs as much as I hate writing them): One regular kayak morning, the municipality Mayor Jessie Galano visited Paoay Lake and saw Arch. Phil just finishing up his routine. The mayor pointed out how good-looking his kayak was and this brief encounter started it all. 

 

The event in eagle's eye view

Shot with DJI P3S. ISO100, 1/1600 sec., f/2.8.

 

During the event: paddlers getting in their respective dragonboats.

Shot with DJI P3S. ISO100, 1/1600 sec., f/2.8.

 

Full parking along the Laoag-Paoay Rd. during the event.

Shot with DJI P3S. ISO100, 1/1600 sec., f/2.8.

 

The 30-minute talk with Sir Phil made me forget I was standing along the shores of the

mystical Paoay Lake. First time getting near its waters, honestly. 

 

I remember when I started Dental School - the first subjects I took were focused on human anatomy. Well the conversation made it seem like it, only that it was the anatomy of the dragonboat. Here's a graphic art about it from the internet (ctto). 

 

After finishing up anatomy, well there's physiology, right? I don't remember it all, but all the parts arrowed above are vital to keep the dragonboat in its pace. The drummer keeps the paddlers in unison for their every stroke, and the steerer directs the boat to the desired direction. One of these elements goes out of unison? The boat's pace gets dysfunctional, no matter how other elements go about. Worst to happen is when the boat flips upside down.

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

 

He also explained the planned grassroots development of water sports in the area, starting with the nearby barangays and most interestingly, with the young. The lake is calm and is in its most ideal state to practice water sports in before going to the real deal - the tides.

 

THE 1ST PAOAY LAKE DRAGONBOAT COMPETITION

 

The couple started the 1st Paoay Lake Dragonboat Competition by inviting teams from other regions of the country, with teams even coming from as far as Polillo, Quezon. The 3x World Champions - The Philippine Dragon Boat Team, also made an attendance to this event.

 

The 1st Paoay Lake Dragonboat Competition was held also around the same time last year and had an estimated attendance of 350-400 participants. I'm so bummed I missed this.

 

Paddles arranged in a bonfire fashion, by the PNP paddlers.

Shot with Canon 600D + Canon 10-18mm IS STM lens. 10mm, ISO100, 1/100 sec., f/4.5.

 

Vice Gov. Angelo Marcos Barba and Mayor Jessie Galano with Paoay's young paddlers.

Shot with Canon 600D + Canon 10-18mm IS STM lens. 10mm, ISO100, 1/400 sec., f/4.5.

 

Mayor Jessie Galano and a member of Philippine Dragonboat team assisting young paddlers going off their boats.

Shot with Canon 600D + Canon 10-18mm IS STM lens. 10mm, ISO100, 1/160 sec., f/4.5.

 

 

Mayor Jessie Galano and a member of Philippine Dragonboat team assisting young paddlers going off their boats.

Shot with Canon 600D + Canon 10-18mm IS STM lens. 10mm, ISO100, 1/160 sec., f/4.5.

 

THE 2ND PAOAY LAKE DRAGONBOAT COMPETITION

 

Well I won't miss it this time. 

 

Day 2 started as I headed to Kamarínn Cafe for breakfast, they were actually shooting a promotion video for the cafe that morning and owner Sam Blas was very kind to invite me. I shot a few videos for the vlog and watched as the contest proper got into preparation. The cafe served as my station because it was in close proximity to the event area and was a perfect viewpoint during the contest proper. 

 

Breakfast at Kamarínn.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/1600 sec., f/1.2.

 

The main event started with an opening program. Opening speeches were given by Mayor Galano and Board Member Matthew Marcos-Manotoc. The Consulate of the Republic of China in Laoag, headed by Consul Wang Jianqun, who was the event's Guest of Honor and Speaker, donated two dragonboats worth a total of P800,000!

 

There was this Dragon Eye Dotting which interested me. I didn't think it was too literal, but it is. It's the practice of painting the dragon's eyes (of the donated boats) which can further be translated as some sort of "waking up the dragon".

 

The two dragonboats donated by the Consul General of China to the Philippines.

Shot with Canon 600D + Canon 10-18mm IS STM lens. 10mm, ISO100, 1/400 sec., f/4.5.

 

A team eats the local empanada after paddling.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm f/1.2 lens.

 

 

I only spent brief moments at the contest area for it was too damn hot outside; I had to stay put in one place (that was in Kamarinn). I can watch the contest perfectly from there while enjoying iced coffee (had about 3) and halo-halo. My family and friends even placed bets among themselves, seriously.

 

KAMARÍNN PORTRAITS

Not me. That's my brother, Marco, enjoying the halo-halo at Kamarínn.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/1600 sec., f/1.2.

 

*All photos in this gallery were shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/1600 sec., f/1.2.

 

The ability to withstand the 34-degree heat alone made all of them winners already; even add the sleepless night of traveling to Ilocos Norte to that. I didn't care about who will get the first place anymore because it's not something to measure one's dedication and perseverance to the sport. 

 

So to all of you who were a part of this event (and of course reading this blog), CONGRATULATIONS! I may not know all of you, but I'm extremely proud of you. 

 

Happiness taken candidly during the event.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/640 sec., f/1.2.

 

The University of the Philippines huddling up after a successful race.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/640 sec., f/1.2.

 

Team PNP getting ready.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/500 sec., f/1.2.

 

Due to the extreme heat, contestants go for a quick 'shower' every after each race.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/400 sec., f/1.2.

 

Some local food stores were also present during the event. Unfortunately they were already gone when I went for my last trip to the event area.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm lens f/1.2. ISO100, 1/500 sec., f/1.2.

 

But wait, there's more: a gala night held at the Fort Ilocandia Resort in Laoag City. 

PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

A team takes pictures to remember this event.

Shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm f/1.2 lens. ISO1000, 1/60 sec., f/1.2.

 

 

BY THE NUMBERS (LOGISTICS)

There were 14 teams from different regions of the country. Some were teams from the University of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and Polillo, Quezon. This also includes the Philippine Dragonboat Team.

 

 The author with Coach Duchess and Coach Phil during the gala night.

Shot with an iPhone X.

 

Who would have thought that an unexpected conversation with the Municipal Mayor on a regular morning would turn into a big, annually-growing event like this? 600 participants and it is only in its 2nd year. Can't wait for the 3rd!!!

 

The 2nd Paoay Lake Dragonboat Competition became possible with the combined efforts of Arch. & Mrs. Phillip Co and the support of Mayor Jessie Galano of Paoay, Consul Wang Jianqun of the Consulate of the Republic of China in Laoag, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.

 

Today, Arch. Phil and Ma'am Duch are heading an every-Sunday dragonboat practice session at the lake with the children from the nearby barangays. Kudos!

 

SCRAP THE MYTH!

 

This event made me look at Paoay Lake as something that's more than just a fairy tale. For it's not just a simple body of water that gives beauty to passersby's eyes, but also a great training ground for water sporting events. Little did I know, it was also my very own training ground for both of my hobbies: photography and writing. 

 

Special thanks to:

Sir Phillip and Ma'am Duch for inviting me to this event.

Sir Samuel Blas for the kind accomodation at Kamarínn Cafe, as always.

My family and friends with the utmost support to my non-dental causes.

 

HERE'S THE VLOG ABOUT THIS WHOLE EVENT.

Feel free to like my page on Facebook for more blog and vlog updates: Wayne Manuel

 

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