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Rowing A Philippine Adventure Sport

The sport of rowing in the Philippines has a long history that dates back to the early part of the last century. The Manila Club – the defacto British club in the Philippines – had a very active sports section covering tennis, cricket, rugby . . . and rowing.

During the time of World War I the Manila Club changed its character somewhat and moved inland, away from the waterfront of Manila Bay. Subsequently, the various sports disciplines formed there own separate clubs: the rowers formed the Manila Boat Club, and eventually moved to the shores of the Pasig River.

Between the World Wars the sport of rowing was rather elitist and was mainly the sport for expatriates. After World War II ended, the senior colleges of the Philippines started to become active participants in the sport of rowing. The Philippine universities of La Salle, Ateneo, UP et al, were active members of the Manila Boat Club and participated in regular regattas along the Pasig River.

During the period of martial law (1972-1981), imposed by former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, the spirit of rowing was expunged from the colleges and for many years the only members of the Manila Boat Club were a handful of expatriate rowers. At the turn of the 21st century, a new spirit of rowing entered the senior colleges and today they are returning to the Pasig River and to the Manila Boat Club.

Rowing Locations In The Philippines

There are two recognized locations in the Philippines that are accessible to the public for rowing: the Pasig River in Metro Manila; and, Paoay Lake, near Laoag, Ilocos Norte. There is a third location at the Angat Dam, Bulacan, but this is largely off-limits to casual rowers; Angat Dam is the training centre for the Philippine Olympic Rowing Team.

In the latest rowing news in the Philippines another new venue may be open within 2016: Caliraya Lake is offered as a new venue for rowing and a realistic alternative to the restricted Angat Dam. Caliraya Lake offers the opportunity of serious distance rowing, with the ability to row continuously for 10Km or more.

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Renting Rowing Equipment & Guides In The Philippines

The best place to rent rowing equipment and to learn to row in the Philippines is at the Manila Boat Club, on the Pasig River. If you want to learn to row at the Manila Boat Club then you will have to be prepared to rise early as the rowing takes place before 8am on the Pasig river – before the commercial river boat traffic builds up.

Paoay Lake in Laoag is also and option but pre-arrangement is a recommended. When the Caliraya Lake facility opens, this will be the best alternative to the Pasig River.

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