The first Sun Soaked on the warm sandy beaches of Cabugao and Magsingal brought both jolt and encouragement to the otherwise serene coastal villages at the northern end of Ilocos Sur. Without much fanfare prior to its staging, the festival of sea, sand and sun challenges that included kiteboarding, surfing, beach volleyball, frisbee and dragon boat racing was able to attract droves of beach sports enthusiasts from the National Capital Region and the capital of beach events, where else but Boracay?
I lingered at the Cabugao Beach Resort to cheer for the PDRT Fireblades, one among the country’s leading dragon boat teams that made the 8 slots for the first ever dragon boat race on the shores of Ilocos. The race was held in cooperation with the Philippine Canoe and Kayak Federation, headed by Ms. Jonne Go.
As head organizer of Sun Soaked, Congressman Ronald Singson of the 1st District of Ilocos Sur mingled with the participants, and along with brother Gov. Ryan Singson, they hosted an after beach party and concert following the awarding ceremonies.
Cong. Ronald said when asked if Sun Soaked is the start of more sports activities to come in Ilocos Sur, “Yes, this is going to be a yearly thing. With our many beautiful beaches, we see the potentials of fun events in Ilocos Sur.”
Looking back, Ilocos Sur has successfully organized individual sports competitions, particularly motocross and enduro dirt bike challenges.
I crossed paths with the Sports Unlimited team covering the events. Hahah, first, it was Gene, the executive producer. Only until Marc Nelson holds the mic before the camera, he is incognito as always. I was happy the super friendly host remembers me and my family. The last time we hosted him and Dyan Castellejo in Norte was almost a decade ago.
A monk blesses the dragon boats on Pug-os Beach.
With Duch Gamboa-Co and Pinky Co, supportive mom to PDRT Fireblades paddlers Duch and Phil.
Moody winds threatened the races. La Salle’s boat overturned at one point, but made it back to the race.
Manila Wave beat Boracay All Stars at the 300m dragon boat race. PYROS came in close third while Manila Dragons made the 4th top spot.
Being an adventure junkie myself, looking forward to experience more action-packed events in the years to come.
Happy Kannawidan, Ilocos Sur!
Phil Co, an Ilocano paddler.