FITFIL, Dragonboat dreams and water lilies

As the FITFIL Fitness Boot Camp ended last night, a lot of us are thinking of what to do next. The first thing that came to my mind is to resume dragonboat paddling. Another is to get into running and strive to finish a 5k race in 30 minutes or less.

During the FITFIL boot camp's first week, I joined Nick Fontanilla's practice session with the Triton Dragonboat Team where he actively participates and competes internationally. Despite not knowing how to swim, I embraced the adventure and joined 3 sessions.

Dragonboat rowing or paddling brings a different high and adrenalin rush. It is something I want to pursue and make it part of building my upper body strength. After 3 sessions, the Triton dragonboat team went to Hong Kong to compete and I went to Palawan for a DigitalFilipino Club activity.

While in Palawan, I asked locals if there's a local dragonboat team where one can join an early morning practice. Found out there's none. Hope they will have one soon. Being a beautiful place with sparkling blue sea waters can surely make it a great dragonboat adventure space.

From July 9 to 27, I got tied up to an Internet security workshop while completing the FITFIL Fitness Boot Camp. Very joyful to complete my first 5k run and do a 500 workout during this period. Being able to do exercises under heavy rain with my advance team mates inspired me a lot as well. I would not have lasted long without them.

With my plans of learning the dragonboat sport more, I can't help but think of precautions I take each time based on friends suggestion because of its practice venue, the Manila Bay. Tips given to me includes:
  • "Clean yourself well, sanitize, after practice as the bay is not clean."
  • "Close your mouth and protect your eyes when paddling. Make sure not to accidentally drink bay waters. Clean your eyes if bay waters hit it."
Am not sure if those tips given to me were over-exaggerated. But it did not stopped me from still trying it out.

Getting exposed to Manila Bay brought me face-to-face with the reality as well that its smell and trash problem is still an environmental issue that needs to be resolved.

Last July 19, I got the chance to listen to Cynthia Villar as I covered the 7th Water Lily Festival where it made me thought of Manila Bay again. I learned:
  • A lot of clean-ups are being done in a lot of rivers but very few benefit from the garbage collected. In Las Pinas case, garbage is processed and even create income opportunities for the locals. Barangay captains and church leaders play an important role in educating the citizens on proper disposal.
  • Water lilies are also processed and turned to raw materials to produce various products. As there are no more water lilies in Las Pinas, they now get their supply in areas like Muntinlupa and Taguig.
  • Water lilies don't grow in clean river. In the case of Manila Bay, I am not sure if that is the case as the smell and garbage are still very much visible.
  • Las Pinas used to be known in making salt as white as snow. Although that is not the case anymore.
The festival made me feel like being in a provincial feast or school competition. The adrenalin was very high and the community is very proud of what they have done with the water lilies (putting them into greater use). Hope advocacies like this will spread throughout the country.

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