Scene City | Kampilan Dragon Boat Team

AS RIFTS create continents and further into small islands, so they do to social circles and groups. And in Kampilan Dragonboat’s case, there was one such break up that created the unprecedented existence of a dragon boat team that might not have been.

Barely six months after the formation of Davao City’s first dragon boat team, Hiraya Minokawa Dabaw, a clash of heads and egos happened. This resulted in a division wherein most of the founding members of what will be Kampilan Dragonboat packed their gears and left.2

It was late August of 2014 when this rift transpired. With no very little experience of dragon boating, the separatists were led to believe that they were to be in some sort of “elite” team, which will be named Davao Drakons.
Everything was looking bright at first. However, with no boat and internal problems, that sense of hope and clamor for superior competition sank before it even set sail, and after barely two months of existence, Drakons faded into the ebbs of the Davao Gulf tides.

There remained, however, a handful of members who didn’t have anything better to do at the time and were stubborn enough to let go of the sport they had come to love. With one dedicated coach, what was left of the team stayed on. Training would consist only of land drills and “stand-up paddling” by the beach.

January 2015, the team had to come up with a name because they were planning to join a local race, thus Kampilan Dragon boat became its official moniker. Kampilan is a long sword used by the Chieftains, Sultans and Datus when going to battle. An apt choice of team name because it represents strength, courage, honor, and most importantly, Mindanao pride.

In July 2015, the team finally decided that land drills alone were no longer adequate and if they were to continue to pursue a paddling sport, they should have a boat. Piggy banks were broken; family members and friends were hassled so that they could come up with the funds to have a boat built. Four months after that, and almost a year of land drills and “stand up paddling” they were finally able to call their training – a dragon boat training.

January 2016 – a Davao team with great potential, unfortunately, Poseidon, disbanded. Its founding members decided to merge with Kampilan so that they, too, could continue paddling. And together with the Kampilan’s original core group, the merger formed the team’s core members that remained intact until today.

One of the maxims that Kampilan Dragonboat maintains is “You either win or learn – you never lose.” This is what has kept them going even though they met a handful of disappointments during competitions. And they kept tab on the lessons they met along the way.
They also nurtured team spirit and camaraderie as top priority over the mad pursuit of recognition and hollow victories. This motivated them to keep on grinding because they enjoyed each other’s company on and off training.
Last May 26, 2018, Kampilan Dragon boat has achieved a milestone in its more than three years of existence and finally brought home a championship trophy after reigning supreme over other highly competitive teams from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, as well as from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Canada.

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