5 Reasons I Love Dragon Boat Paddling

Earlier, I had a chance to be a guest paddler with FDS. Some of my colleagues are thinking of organising a corporate paddle and I wanted them to see how it’s like to paddle with Filipino Dragons (Singapore).


With Daniel, Melissa, and Miriam.

It was nice of Daniel to mention (without me feeding it to him) that being with FDS feels like family. Yes, it’s very true with FDS. Having paddled with the team for four years, I learned many values like teamwork and relationship-building. We paddle as one. We have to be sync or we will fail. It’s something I apply in my career too.


Daniel introduced me to two of his friends (one of which is also my colleague from a different business unit). Glad they had fun! They commented later that they were so impressed with our women’s captain’s paddling form.


Definitely a beautiful day. I’m happy when I get to see my FDS family. They might not understand or see it from me much… but I miss them. ❤


Here are five reasons why I love dragon boat paddling:

You build your endurance. Paddling on weekends and doing additional training on Tuesdays and Thursdays builds not only your strength but your endurance. I noticed it’s helped me run faster and at greater distances. It works both ways. Running regularly has built my endurance and it’s made me paddle longer on the boat.

You learn the importance of teamwork. There are no divas on a dragon boat team. At least, there shouldn’t be. Teamwork is CRUCIAL. Everyone needs to paddle together and as ONE. When you paddle at your own pace, you break that teamwork and it will cause the boat to jerk. Being on a dragon boat team means you have to collaborate, listen, and do your part.

Your network increases with the number of friends you gain in a team sport. In the process of paddling, you expose yourself to a team filled with various professions and backgrounds. I’ve met teachers, architects, interior designers, IT professionals, retailers, call centre agents, advertising executives. It’s amazing.

You get a nice skin tan. I really don’t like pale skin… it’s a personal preference. I love the skin tan I get from dragon boating. It’s probably what I miss the most.

You can enjoy some occasional eye-candy and learn from it. This is true lol. Women and men. Gay, straight, lesbian. You name it. Such diversity and such eye-candy you’ll encounter. There are two ways to go about it. Be intimidated by those biceps. Or work your damn way to developing and building your own. In dragon boating, you’re surrounded by people who are dedicated to sports and fitness.


The rest in photos from today’s session… paddles up!


Paddling with Daniel, Melissa, and Miriam.


Leo… all tanned up!


Nice to see you all again!

Paddler Update: 5 August 2017

What makes paddling difficult for you is the mental game behind it. You’ve seen improvements in strength and endurance. But the voices in your head are what distract you from going further. You doubt yourself sometimes. It’s unnecessary. It’s also aided by observing the smallest things: not getting into the line-up you wanted, seeing someone with less training end up on the stronger boat, not being corrected (are you worth “being corrected”), or being corrected (works both ways)

But you forgot this: You’ve had your best time trials yet. You shattered personal bests in push-ups, sit-ups, and dumbbell rows. You’re within striking distance of becoming one of the faster runners on the team. Your water time trial is improving each and every time.

So what can you do? You keep going.

Next Race: Singapore River Regatta (November 2017)

Attendance Photo of the men’s crew taken on 5 August 2017.

Race Report: Sports Hub SDBA Dragon Boat Century

Some photos from our first race of the year on March 11! Our boat made it into the semifinals. While our seniors crew landed 4th place in the grand finals.

  • Team: Filipino Dragons (Singapore)
  • Length: 100 meters
  • Venue: Sports Hub Waterfront
  • Team Boats: Four (3 mixed open, 1 mixed seniors)
  • Placement: 4th in the Grand Finals (Seniors Crew), 1 mixed crew in the semis

We started the new training year off with sprints (our usual bread and butter is 500-meters and 200/250-meters). This was the inaugural 100-meter sprint under the Sports Hub and SDBA banners. Normally the first race of the year is the SAVA Sprints but that event has been postponed to May.

I think we were pretty strong given that there were many new faces on the team. The competition was tough. There were no separate categories for the international business community (expats).

On a personal level, this was the first race I did not sit as a reserve. The captains/coach gave me a chance to paddle in every heat our small boat competed in. I think I also competed in every heat possible during last year’s Singapore River Regatta (SRR), but I was assigned as part of the FDS-SAVA Crew.

I felt I gave my best during this race. On the boat were former team captains… the pressure was there. But I was determined to give what I could give.

Photos from SDBA

9 Reasons I Love Dragon Boating

Dragon boating can be a tough sport that builds you physically, mentally, and emotionally. For me, it is about trying to be strong in all three.

There are wonderful resources for new dragon boat paddlers. I recommend visiting Paddle Chica, Dragonboat MVP, and Eugephemisms for plenty of inspirational stories.

After paddling for two years, I’ve come up with my 9 reasons to love dragon boating.

1. It builds your strength.

When you have a teammate encourage you to LIFT HEAVIER, you really do lift heavier. Nakakahiya kasi lol. So you keep trying. You keep lifting. Until bit by bit you can see yourself lifting heavier. What you couldn’t do before with heavy weights… it’s suddenly possible. Consistent training required!

2. It improves your endurance.

A few years ago, I used to get tired easily after doing the simplest kind of jogging. But with paddling (and running regularly in short distance races), I noticed my endurance improve. I find myself running further and faster. It feels great!

3. It enables networking opportunities.

Joining a team means you get to meet all sorts of people, FAST. In the past two years, I have met interior designers, teachers, architects, engineers, and aircraft mechanics. From casinos to telecom stores. It is great to meet people from different industries. This allows you to connect with each other. Job openings, rentals…

4. It makes you more “social”.

Not only do you get to socialize with your teammates (and bond with them over a beer or hard drinks especially after a race), you also get to meet people from other teams. In the Singapore case, the dragon boat community stretches across corporations, schools, and expatriate teams. Other expat teams organize events which give you the opportunity to network (see No. 3) and to socialize.

5. It saves you money from an expensive gym membership.

Gym memberships in Singapore are pricey. I feel it’s meant for people serious about bodybuilding or cross-training. Joining a dragon boat team is cheaper and worth it. In our team alone you get four trainings each week. At the swimming pool, on land, and in the water. You gain experiences and memories for less than 300 SGD in a year.

6. It allows you to face your fears.

I had stupid fears like “removing my shirt at the pool” (insecure about my body) or “fear of the deep water”. But you realize that these are really just hindering you from achieving your own goals. Who cares? These teammates will see you without a shirt, ANYWAY. And they don’t care. What matters is if you paddle and strive to improve your form. Scared of the water? You have a PFD or a personal flotation device. It’s not so bad!

7. It brings out your competitive side.

This can work both ways. It can be negative when you compare yourself to others. Honestly, I never had a “competitive side” until I joined the team. Joining a dragon boat team is great to give you direction and to help you gauge where you are towards achieving your goals. It is important to add that it is a competition with YOURSELF. Not with another teammate (some people make that mistake!). It is about striving to be the BEST VERSION of yourself.

8. It gives you a nice tan and a better-looking physique!

Pale skin is boring. LOL

9. It makes your wardrobe easy-to-manage.

Half of your wardrobe is suddenly dry-fit! And easy to pack!

These are some of the things I love about joining a dragon boat team. What excites you about joining a new sport like dragon boating?


It’s that time of the year when the lights are up and people start dressing up for things. Two parties this past weekend. Our company “Dinner and Dance” (D&D) and our dragon boat team’s year-end party.

Our D&D’s theme was “A Night of Treasures”. I really wanted to dress up for it… kaso, with my lipat bahay this weekend AND my family visiting me in Singapore next week… I can’t afford to rent a full costume. LOL. Imagine that, I’ll dress up at the D&D.

I wanted to be Jafar from Aladdin or I wanted to be Bianca Del Rio during the Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 7 finale when he crowned Violet Chacki. You know… glimmering silver… head to toe and all over.

Scrap that.

A colleague accompanied me to the Tekka Centre in Little India. It’s a whole floor of more traditional Indian clothing (and don’t get me started I don’t know the particular ones OK… I’m not pretentious lol). It just looked nice and colorful. Some stuff were cheap like $20 and below. Others were in the hundreds. These were the ready-to-wear ones.


Eventually went for a black top for about SGD 30.00. It was a short-sleeve one. Kishan lended me his scarf.


The venue of this year’s D&D was Aryaa. Love the place… but I don’t know how the hell I got home afterwards. Uber I think.




The next party was the FDS Year-Ender. We had it at Boat Quay.


Because I was nursing a hangover from the D&D, I decided it wasn’t in my best interest to go home drunk again. I didn’t drink much. I was mostly just chilling in the corner or taking videos or whatever. 🙂

Oh, and I picked up an award! I’ve never won anything like it with FDS in my two years with the team. I didn’t expect it at all but THANK YOU.


Good times. And better times ahead!


Now the focus shifts to my lipat bahay this weekend. And prepping for my family’s arrival in Singapore. ❤

The River Regatta

This was the best dragon race I’ve taken part in so far.

There were no medals for me to bring home this time. But I’m happy because I know gave my all. I got a chance to paddle every time our boat was called to race.


That’s me! Right in the middle of our small boat. Awesome captures by Right Exposure Photography. ❤

The team went home with two silvers in two categories under the International Business Community. The team also made minor finals for other categories. Overall, the energy during the Singapore River Regatta was enthusiastic. We were a large team and we had multiple boats.

What to look forward to next year?

Two years doing this and I am in love with the sport. There’s no doubt that this is not just some hobby. I love paddling and I see myself doing it for years to come. I guess the struggle is being consistent and being disciplined. Both will get me closer to the desired result: being excellent in this sport.

I know I still have a long way to go.