The Women’s month of March was welcomed by the unleashing of the dragons through the friendly race among the dragonboat teams of Davao, namely: the Base Camp, Dragons del Sur, Kampilan, and Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw (HMD). The fun race dubbed: Paddle for Life: save Davao Gulf was held last Sunday, March 8, 2015 at the Baywalk.

HMD prides itself as the 1st dragonboat team of Davao, representing Davao in the May 2014 Rody Duterte cup and reigning over-all champ of Northern Mindanao in the Bugsay Mindanao held in Cagayan de Oro last December 2014.

In the friendly race, HMD emerged champion of the 200 meter mixed category and 1st place in the 200 m-open (men’s) category and 1st place in the 200-meter women’s category. The time records of 1:01:41 for mixed, and 59.74 seconds for Open and 1:16 for women’s is a bar that HMD has set for itself to further challenge its team members to come close to, if not overcome Philippine records.

Philippine paddlers are known to be the fastest boat crew in the world. In the recent 2014 World Championship race held in Italy (9th International Dragon Boat Federation Club Crews World Championship – Open), the Philippine Army Dragonboat team finished 200-m at 43.87 seconds.

It was a dream come true for HMD to paddle alongside the dynamic dragonboat community of Davao and to organize its first solidarity planting at its adopted mangrove area in Bucana (nursery of CENRO/City Environment and Natural Resources Office). The solidarity planting was undertaken a week after the race, on March 14, 2015. Base Camp gave its all-out support and planted 667 piapi (Avicennia marina) with the HMD family.



“We are competitors only during the race, but outside the water we are one with HMD in its advocacy to protect the rivers and oceans”, was the chorus of the Base Camp members present in the activity.

Majority of HMD members/founders are Ateneans (faculty, college students, alumni, parents) who live out the mission of the Ateneo for the environment through dragonboating and ocean/riverside protection. Regular trainings also include coastal clean-ups and post-race activities include mangrove/treeplanting. One of the goals of HMD is to clean up Bangkerohan river and work with riverside communities to bring back the health and integrity of the river.

Team captain John Buno (Ateneo alumni and San Beda paddler) says of HMD: We are paddlers not just for our personal love of the sport, but for our team’s advocacy – in sports/youth development, for the environment, and for peace.

Hiraya is a term that connotes, the wishes, dreams, aspirations and desires of every member of the team, shares Michelle Mari Mercado, drummer/paddler and Ateneo de Davao Grade School guidance counselor. She adds: “In HMD, we are not just a team, we are family. As a family, we are united by our shared identity and common purpose. Each paddle is a slice for Life.”

Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw is back to its weekend training at the Bonguyan beach in preparation for the 2nd Bugsay Mindanao to be held on May 15-16. This time, Davao will be hosting this event through the Davao Dragonboat Association (DDBA).

Ten (10) dragonboat teams across Mindanao (including Boracay, Manila and possibly Malaysian/Singapore teams) will come together to paddle for peace.

HMD is one among the other dragonboat teams in its Call for Volunteers in the conduct of this event. Individuals are encouraged to join as program committee, marshalls, photography team etc. Partner companies/institutions will be allowed to join an exhibition race.

For more information, kindly visit the FB page/s of Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw and DDBA (Davao Dragonboat Association). Or send an email to:

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