[PHOTO AT LEFT - People behind the Friendship Kayak Project are Randy Su, president of Team Habagat; Toby Martin, expedition manager; Khoo Swee Chiow, Jeannie Suderio from the DOT-PCVC; Jacky Quintos, COO of Primer Group of Companies and Roel Chan, AVP-marketing Primer Group of Companies MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 (STAR)  After completing the Adventure Grand Slam — conquering the seven highest summits in each continent — Singaporean adventurer and Guinness World Record holder Khoo Swee Chiow sets his sights on another record. And together with Filipino adventurers Buzzy Budlong of Team Habagat and Arnel Gabutero, they will attempt to be the first to traverse the Philippines by kayak.

The Philippines is a natural playing field for water sports, environment and adventure tourism activities such as kayaking. Recently the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched the Philippine Kayaking Series 2009 which aims to make the country the Kayaking Capital of Southeast Asia.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano calls kayaking one of the fastest growing sports worldwide, and it’s one of the country’s nature-based products. “We have natural assets for this ecosport because we are surrounded with different bodies of water like oceans, seas, rivers, marshes, mangroves and 30,000 wonderful coastlines,” said Durano.

It is no wonder that Swee Chiow chose the Philippines as the starting point of his dream journey to kayak around the world. Together with Cebu native, Buzzy Budlong and Davao-born Arnel Gabutero — who faced each other in last year’s Bugsay Kayaking Festival — the team will link the islands of the Philippines through a course that will take them from the south-central regions of Mindanao moving north to Luzon’s most celebrated locales.

“We’re hoping that this becomes the first official kayaking trail in the country,” says Toby Martin, expedition manager. “So we are calling on everyone to lend their support for this historical event either through additional funds for the team, so they can complete the 3, 300 kilometer journey or by paddling with the team in their own kayaks.” Swee Chiow and Buzzy’s expedition started on Aug. 29 and is estimated to reach its destination by November.

The team started paddling at 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 will head to Davao del Norte and then to Davao del Sur.

For the second leg of the kayak expedition, the team will depart 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 will be followed by a beach-buffet that begins with Bohol, Cebu, surfing Mecca Siargao and top tourist destination Boracay.

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, the team will traverse the open waters to Pangasinan and finally reach its destination at Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte.

Recreational Outdoor eXchange! ROX is the biggest outdoor sports and recreation hub in Asia with three levels of outdoor sports recreation gear 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 us at Bonifacio High Street, B1 ROX Building, Taguig City, Philippines. For more information, call 856-4639, log on to http://roxphilippines.multiply.com/ or e-mail   rox.cs@primergrp.com.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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