Saturday, May 15, 2010


The Filipino Young Professionals of Washington DC (FYP-DC) fielded two teams at the Dragon Boat Festival this year.

The Lapu Lapu Warriors won the gold in the 250-meter “A Minor” and silver medal in the 500-meter “A Major” events in last year’s races. This was a marked improvement from their silver and bronze finishes at the 2008 Dragon Boat Festival.

The Rizal Revolutionaries made their debut in this weekend’s races. This is only the third year the FYP-DC is joining the regatta that traces its roots to China.

They formed the second Fil-Am team to accommodate other members who wanted to compete in the Potomac River races, explained FYP-DC president George Faustino.

The Dragon Boat Festival is timed with the yearly observance of Asian American Heritage Month in Washington DC.

Faustino said the river race helps build camaraderie among Fil-Ams in the Metro DC region. “This is good exposure for us,” he declared.

The FYP-DC is one of the most active Fil-Am organizations in the region. It mounted one of the largest calamity relief campaigns in northern Virginia following the massive floods that devastated the Philippines last year.

They hold regular “happy hour”, charity shows, career workshops and other events designed to help aid Fil-Ams and also strengthen links with other Asian American communities.

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of Chu Yuan (340-278 BC) who according to folklore became so despondent over the inept administration of his native state that he drowned himself in a river. The people tried to rescue him but failed so every year, on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, there is a re-enactment of the frantic race to save Chu Yuan.

The Dragon Boat race was not introduced to the world until the 1970s. Today, some 50 million join the competitions across the globe. Its success has been attributed to the low cost, ease of getting started in the sport and power to bond people together.

Many Dragon Boat teams are sponsored by corporations as a way to build teamwork among their workers.

The Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival also has a number of breast cancer survivors participating in the races as a way to help raise awareness.

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