Mandani Bay Dragon Boat Regatta 2022: First of many world-class sporting events in Cebu

·3 min read

Cebu is not new to firsts. It was the first center of the Christian faith in the country, the first capital of the Philippines, and hosted the first flag-raising ceremony months before Aguinaldo’s flag-raising at Kawit, Cavite.

Years later, Cebu continues to be a province of many firsts as Mandaue City hosted the first Dragon Boat Regatta at the Mandani Bay Boardwalk on Aug. 20.

Officially called the Mandani Bay Dragon Boat Regatta 2022, this event was the first major sporting event held in Cebu after the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 40 teams from all over the country signed up for the event—twice the number of teams organizer John Paul Maunes expected.

Maunes is the founder and chief executive officer of Philippine Accessible Disability Services Inc. (Pads), an organization dedicated to providing accessible services to People with Disabilities. In collaboration with Mandani Bay, the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Mandaue City local government, Pads made history by successfully hosting the first dragon boat racing tournament in the Visayas.

When asked about the event’s location, Maunes said: “Mandaue City is home to the Pads Adaptive Dragonboat Racing Team. While training, we saw huge potential in Mandani Bay.”

He then went on to explain how Mandani Bay is the perfect location for the event because its waters are very calm—an ideal situation for dragon boat racing, which is designed for the waters of the river rather than the sea.

This, Maunes explained further, dated all the way back to the origin of dragon boat racing in Southern-Central China, on the waters of the Yangtze River. “Race officials from the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation see the potential for Mandani Bay and they want to propose it to the International Dragon Boat Federation to put Mandani Bay on the spot as a premiere location for dragon boat racing in the Philippines.”

Mandani Bay project director Theodore Gilbert Ang asserted that Mandani Bay has always been supportive of such activities, especially if it’s in collaboration with the local government of Mandaue City.

“This event is a collaborative effort between the public and private sector,” he said. “The Mandani Bay Boardwalk is the perfect place to host the regatta because it stretches 500m, allowing everyone a full view of the race from start to finish.”

He continued explaining that while the Boardwalk is still under development, it should be complete by the second or third quarter of 2023: “I hope it passes international standards because it will be landscaped and have retail spaces for restaurants and cafés, making it the perfect area for an international event.” Ang hopes that this will help push Mandaue into becoming a world-class city that meets world-class standards.

To instill Mandani Bay’s dedication to providing a world-class experience to the contestants of the Mandani Bay Dragon Boat Regatta 2022, Ang revealed that the grand champion will receive the highly coveted Mandani Bay Cup, which is a trophy that commemorates an event the Mandani Bay team deems “world class.”

But this world-class event also had a more heartfelt goal in mind. Maunes shared that one of the main goals of the Mandani Bay Dragon Boat Regatta 2022 is to raise funds for a rehabilitation center in Mandaue that will provide free rehab services to all Mandauehanons with disabilities.

Mandani Bay looks forward to more partnerships with Pads in the future. Likewise, Pads looks forward to the development of the dragon boat racing scene in Mandaue City and hopes for another successful partnership with the Mandani Bay team in order to bring about a world-class experience right at the heart of the Mactan channel.