Paddlers mark 123rd PH Independence Day with outrigger canoeing expedition

Published June 11, 2021, 2:46 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

PADDLERS IN EXHIBITION – A group of paddlers led by Buzzy Budong (center, standing) will embark on a five-day paddling expedition starting Saturday, June 12, from Cebu City to Moalboal, Cebu, to mark the 123rd anniversary of Philippine independence. (Calvin D. Cordova)
CEBU CITY – Thirteen paddlers will mark the 123rd Philippine Independence Day celebration with a five-day outrigger canoeing expedition dubbed as “Paddle Forward Cebu Expedition.” Leading the expedition is renowned Visayan paddler Buzzy Budlong, who holds the current record as the only Filipino to have paddled a 3,025-kilometer stretch from Sarangani to Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte in 88 days.

Joining Budlong are his co-captain Faye Jimiera and Sugbu Mighty Dragons’ Ludivino Alvez Jr., Josephine Baquero, Rain del Socorro, Shiela Solana-Alvez, Alberto Saavedra, and Arnold Boniao.

Jimiera is an experienced ocean paddler of the Singapore Paddle Club, which is a world champion group.

The 200-kilometer outrigger canoe paddling expedition will start off South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City. The team will end the expedition on June 16 in Moalboal, Cebu.

“We’ve been planning this since last year but it didn’t push through because of the pandemic,” said Budlong.

Budlong said the expedition is meant to promote the sport and raise awareness on marine conservation. “The goal also is to help the tourism in Cebu to recover,” added Budlong, who is the founder and president of the Philippine Outrigger Canoe Club (POCC).

Budlong explained that the group will be using a six-man single outrigger canoe in the expedition. The team is looking to paddle 50 kilometers a day to complete the expedition.

“This is going to be a test of endurance. We practiced the techniques which are more on endurance then power and strength,” said Jimiera.

Aside from coordinating with the concerned authorities such as the Coast Guard and the Bantay Dagat, the group has also trained to prepare for emergencies that they may encounter during the open-sea expedition. “We trained what to do when the canoe capsizes,” said Jimiera.