The 2nd leg of the Cobra-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta was also a highly anticipated rematch between Team Army and the Lake Buhi paddlers.
This is the video footage of the 300-meters Men's Open Finals during which we competed against two strong teams from Lake Buhi.
The Army was in the lead except in the 200m mark where it executed 'Power Long' to regain its perfect synchronization.
I had to dash up to the finish line in order to capture the image there. I was relieved to see that we were ahead by at least 'three men' on the boat.
After dominating the Bohol sprints against the formidable Navy elite team and Team Buhi, we can now proudly declare that the Cherifer Premium powered Team Army is the King of Sprints in the Philippines.
Lucky charms and amulets
Aside from the grueling hours of practices, the Army has found a way to counter the 'amulets' used by Team Buhi who have emerged as its strongest challenger.
In the past races that they won against my team, we noticed that these dark-skinned, lean but strong paddlers were performing rituals before embarking on their boats.
Some had red bandannas, mysterious looking necklaces and bandoleer-like 'anting-anting' worn as belts.
Believing that these amulets might have contributed to our earlier losses, some team members consulted some 'shamans' and 'albularyo' on how to devise our own countermeasures.
"Bring a live ammunition," said one firm believer of anting-anting.
"Carry this garlic in your pocket," came the suggestion of another old man.
"Let's pray wholeheartedly, that would probably ward-off bad spirits," said one devout Catholic member.
"We had devoted more time in practice and we have also prayed fervently all the time" I said, adding that "there is no harm in carrying counter-amulets".
So all team members brought their garlic chips and 5.56mm ammunition borrowed from our security escort.
My paddlers became more confident because they had the right formula against Team Buhi: adequate preparation, discipline, prayers and counter-amulets!
We won convincingly against our challengers who ended up scratching their heads in frustration. The Army has regained its lost glory!
Let's go Macau!
Having shown that we are the force to reckon with, my team is back to its back-aching daily practices in the murky waters of Manila bay.
The team is eyeing for the championship in the upcoming 2013 Macau International Dragon Boat Races that will be held in Nam Van Lake, Macau, China from 10-13 June 2013.
Armed with our back-to-back wins in Bohol and Manila Bay, our team is now ready to confront foreign competitors again.
Mr Tom Meneses of Intermed Philippines is the man behind the Army's foreign Dragon Boat races. His company has provided both financial support for the team aside from the endless Cherifer Premium vitamins for our athletes.
"I believe in the fighting spirit and winning attitude of the Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team. I am proud that Cherifer Premium has contributed to its remarkable successes in this sport," said Meneses.
Now that no less than Army chief Lt General Noel Coballes has approved our travel, our friends from around the world will meet a fierce rival in the 500m Men's Open Event come June 12, 2013.