Iloilo River is suited for hosting an international dragon boat race which will boost Iloilo City’s growing reputation as an ideal sports tourism destination.

The first national dragon boat competition here will kick off on Aug. 18 at 9AM as one of the highlights of Iloilo Esplanade opening at the riverbank in Mandurriao district.

City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog said the Esplanade will become an attraction for Ilonggos and visitors to enjoy water sports activities and public entertainment.

The 1.2-kilometer Esplanade stretching from Aquino to Carpenters Bridges provide a good view of racing boats making splashes and waves in the river.

At least six national teams and two local groups will showcase their rowing and paddling skills in the first-ever dragon boat competition in the city.

Some members of the Philippine team will see action in the adrenaline-rush even as most of national players are regularly playing in Boracay Island in Aklan.

The Philippines ranks third in competing Asian nations even as the sporting discipline is being considered to be added as an Olympic event in the future. 

“The Iloilo River has been inspected by the technical team from Philippine Sports Commission and assessed to have passed international standards for dragon boat races – high tide or low tide,” stressed Rommel Castro, sports development officer of City Hall.

He noted Iloilo City is very fortunate to host a dragon boat race considering only a few cities in the country can do so even as it takes costly resources and logistics to realize such exciting big sports event.

Senator Franklin Drilon and boxing superstar and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao will grace the Esplanade inaugural program at 8AM.