Monday, February 1, 2010

The Philippines' First Kayaking Trail Achieved by Khoo Swee Chiow & Buzzy Budlong

After paddling 3,025km across 24 provinces in 88 days through six typhoons, two daring adventurers are about to make one dream come true – establish the first kayak trail in the Philippines.

The Friendship Kayak Team of Singaporean adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow and Filipino explorer Buzzy Budlong of Team Habagat has finally landed at the shores of Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte and reached the end of their extraordinary expedition. I'm fortunate to have met these 2 amazing expedition adventurers for making a record, not only in the Philippines, but in the world as well.

An appreciation dinner was organized by the Singaporean Embassy and the Recreational Outdoor Exchange (ROX) held at the ROX branch at Bonifacio High Street, The Fort on December 2, 2009.

"As this expedition is also a celebration of the 40th year of Filipino-Singaporean diplomatic relations, I'm very happy to be part of this historic event for the Philippines," says Khoo Swee Chiow, who is a Guinness World Record Holder with an Adventure Grand Slam - conquering the seven highest summits in each continent - under his list of achievements.

Swee Chiow says historic as this is the first time that a team has attempted to link the islands of the Philippines through a course that took them from the southern regions of Mindanao moving north to Luzon’s most celebrated locales.

Mindanao: Maiden Voyage
Swee Chiow and Buzzy started paddiling from Sarangani in Mindanao. Predominantly a coastal province in the southernmost tip of the Philippines, Sarangani has a 230-kilometer coastline lined with inspiring coves and jaw-dropping rock formations. Afterwards, the team headed to Davao del Sur and then to Davao Oriental.

Visayas: Navigating Endless Coastlines
For the second leg of the kayak expedition, Swee Chiow and Buzzy departed from the historical province of Leyte. Witness to many monumental events in history such as the landing of General Douglas McArthur in 1942, it is also home to largely undeveloped white sand beaches along the coasts of Libertad, Capoocan, Leyte and Puro Island. This was followed by a beach-buffet that begins with Bohol, Cebu, surfing Mecca Siargao and top tourist destination Boracay.

Luzon: Lovin’ Luzon
Just as with any other journey, the final stretch is the most difficult one. Who would want to leave an island destination rated by the National Geographic Traveler magazine as the 13th Best Island Destination in the World in 2007 because of its ‘incredibly beautiful and natural seascapes and landscapes’? And to complete the expedition, Swee Chiow and Buzzy traversed the open waters to Pangasinan and finally to its final destination at Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte.

For Buzzy, who is now the first Filipino to  (traverse) the Philippines aboard a kayak, says the only thing that kept him going was looking over the horizon. “Everytime I feel like giving up, I tell myself that there is something waiting for me at the horizon, a new beginning,” says a contemplative Buzzy “And I feel more motivated to just get there as fast as possible.”

While Toby Martin, Expedition Manager says that all the team’s hard work has finally paid off. "The success of Swee Chiow and Buzzy meant a new beginning for the sport of kayaking here in the country." He also says this will not have been possible without the help of the Department of Tourism, the Local Government Units in each of the provinces they visited, Primer Group of Companies through Columbia Sportswear and R.O.X. for sharing and believing the team’s vision.

“The combined efforts of all the entities involved is truly a testament to the core of this expedition; camaraderie and teamwork” says Roel Chan – AVP for Marketing, Primer Group of Companies.

“This expedition is just part of DOT and Recreational Outdoor eXchange effort to further promote world class athleticism and adventure tourism” added Ruby Palma – AVP for R.O.X.

The expedition is also supported by Habagat, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Traders Hotel, 100 Plus, Kayak Asia, Cebu Pacific Air, Perspectiv Technologies, WaterCross, Energizer, Changi Sports Medicine Center, Tahe Marine, Temasek Polytechnic, Blood Red, Oakley, Herbalife, Banana Boat, Adventure 21, The Magic Touch, Shuqun Primary School, Bukit Panjang Government High School Singapore and the Singaporean Embassy.

Recreational Outdoor eXchange! ROX is the biggest outdoor sports and recreation hub in Asia with three levels of all outdoor sports recreation gears and equipment. ROX also provides Adventure Tour packages within the Philippines from Hiking, Camping, River Rafting, Kayaking and Eco-Tourism tours like Bird Watching. Visit the shop at Bonifacio High Street, B1 ROX Building, Taguig City, Philippines with Tel: +632.8564639, visit or email

1 comment:

Lorna Gay Lopez said...

Love kayaking! This is a great event! Unbelievable strength and endurance!

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