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Paddle hard, party harder with Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team

Introducing Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team, which believes in the principle of inclusivity as it promotes dragon boat in the Philippines. “We aim to combine a sense of enjoyment and competitiveness in the races we participate in, both local and international,” says Nick Fontanilla. “As we paddle hard, we party harder.”



“We believe in the principle of inclusivity. We put this principle above others. We have given up medals and trophies in many local and international races to uphold this principle.” This, in not so many words, sets Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team apart from other dragon boat racing teams, according to Nick Fontanilla.


“It has also been our mission to help qualified and deserving athletes who have a heart, strength, and a competitive spirit and the desire to inspire others to pursue the same dream of being a part of a really competitive team. To be on top, and stay on top.”

Triton-2Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team actually started when majority of the competing women’s crew from a former team re-branded themselves into Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team. Under the old banner, the team held top three placers in Dragonboat Championships for more than three years, ruling both the local and international race courses as the champion in the 2008 Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) Annual Championship, champions in the 2007 SAVA Sprints International Dragonboat Championship in Singapore, and Taipei Dragonboat Championship Festival for three years (2007 to 2009) for the international races.

However, although Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team started with only a two-men crew when it was incorporated in July 2009, it eventually grew starting sometime in November of that same year, so that it eventually formed its own formidable men’s crew. The team is now affiliated with the PDBF, “and our paddlers are an electric mix of people from all walks of life.”

Despite the growth, though, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team remains to be a “club committed to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, foster team unity, and instill discipline and sportsmanship through the sport of dragonboat racing,” Fontanilla stressed.

So far, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team has been the champion in the PDBF Quarterly Leg and Annual Championships in Women’s Category for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, while its mixed crew consistently places in the top three, just as its men’s crew also competes for the top five posts.

“We aim to combine a sense of enjoyment and competitiveness in the races we participate in, both local and international,” Fontanilla said. “As we paddle hard, we party harder.”

Fontanilla admitted that there remain challenges. For instance, “the main challenge is membership growth, (particularly in) promoting dragon boat to sports enthusiasts, the youth (college students), physically challenged individuals, and to organizations whose aim is to promote unity.” Another challenge “is supporting our athletes who spend most of their time keeping themselves in shape for international competition.” Yet another challenge is competitiveness, as Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team also aims to stay on top.

Triton-3For those interested to try the sport of dragon boat, doing so – surprisingly – actually does not cost a lot.

For uniforms, for instance, “if there is a sponsor, singlets for races are given free to paddlers. Otherwise, the group buys the race uniform for P100 to P250. Fee for races vary. For races in Manila, registration fee is P100; for races outside manila, it could be up to P1,000. Meanwhile, for international races, it varies,” Fontanilla said.

As it eyes to further grow, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team now plans to “organize three additional teams within the club: youth (23 years old and under), seniors team (40 years old and above), and physically challenged individuals.”

But while “representing the Philippines in international competition where and whenever needed” is also eyed, Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team also aims to be socially relevant by “continuing to be involved in cleaning up Manila Bay,” Fontanilla said.

And with that, joining the sport becomes an act of becoming healthy on a personal level, while staying socially relevant somehow, too.

To join Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team, one needs to fill up the mandatory forms, pay a one-time fee of P250 per person, pay the monthly dues of P300, and attend practice/training. The group has regular training days on Wednesdays and Fridays (starting at 5:00 AM) during weekdays, and on Saturdays and Sundays (starting at 7:30 AM) during weekends. There is a general membership meeting at least once a year, just as there are other activities during special occasions.

For more information on Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team, visit the group’s Facebook page; SMS/call (+63) 9178921918, 9285202256 or 9228365118; or email, or

Believing that knowing on its own is not good enough, "you have to share what you know, too", Mikee dela Cruz gladly shares through his writing. A (BA) Communication Studies graduate, he had stints with UNAIDS, UNICEF and Ford Foundation, among others, writing "just about everything". Read on as he does some sharing through Zest Magazine.


Treatment options to help overcome knee pain for sports enthusiasts

“Sports-related pain should be evaluated quickly, especially when it’s difficult to put weight on the knee, swelling occurs or there is restricted range of motion,” said Dr. Alexander Meininger, orthopedic surgeon and MACI consultant.



Millions of people experience chronic pain, with knee pain among the most common. Athletes and active adults know the impact activities like running and skiing can have on their knees, but when chronic knee pain makes it difficult to do those activities, or even day-to-day tasks like walking up the stairs, people may often face challenges.

According to the journal “Cartilage,” unlike other tissues, cartilage does not repair itself and, without proper treatment, can worsen over time and become more difficult to treat. However, options like FDA-approved knee cartilage repair surgery MACI (autologous cultured chondrocytes on porcine collagen membrane) uses a patient’s cells to help repair cartilage defects and may help alleviate knee pain.

“Sports-related pain should be evaluated quickly, especially when it’s difficult to put weight on the knee, swelling occurs or there is restricted range of motion,” said Dr. Alexander Meininger, orthopedic surgeon and MACI consultant.

Justin Keys, a former patient of Meininger and avid skier, knows that the long-term outcomes of knee cartilage surgery can be worth the short-term sacrifices. After several injuries, including an ACL injury, Keys struggled with most activities except walking on flat, paved surfaces. After consulting with Meininger, Keys chose knee cartilage repair to help get back to his active lifestyle.

Keys considered whether to manage the injury as-is or choose MACI and undergo rehabilitation to potentially get back to his favorite activities in the future. He knew he could no longer use short-term relief methods and had to address his pain with a treatment to help provide lasting relief.

For athletes like Keys who want to fix knee pain, it’s important to consider these steps:

Discuss Options with Your Doctor

Patients should talk to their doctors and undergo an MRI to help assess the internal structures of the knee. Meininger recommends patients and their doctors discuss options for long-term knee restoration health, preserving function for future decades and recognizing the short-term sacrifice.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Experts like Meininger suggest patients take steps ahead of surgery to help their recovery.

“The important thing is to be as fit as possible and use the preseason months to undergo surgery and rehab,” Meininger said.

Patients can take steps to prep their home for recovery, which may include:

  • Bringing necessities down from hard-to-reach shelves
  • Moving furniture to ensure clear pathways
  • Installing shower safety handles to minimize potential falls

The Road to Rehab and Recovery

Rehabilitation takes time and everyone’s experience is unique. It can be as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. Committing to a physical therapy regime, staying hydrated and eating well are important aspects to support recovery. Patients should talk to their doctors with questions and before starting any exercises.


Do not use if you are allergic to antibiotics such as gentamicin or materials from cow or pig; have severe osteoarthritis of the knee, other severe inflammatory conditions, infections or inflammation in the bone joint and other surrounding tissue or blood clotting conditions; had knee surgery in the past 6 months, not including surgery for obtaining a cartilage biopsy or a surgical procedure to prepare your knee for a MACI implant; or cannot follow a rehabilitation program post-surgery.

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6 Exercise safety tips

Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.



In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are more aware of their health and wellness. Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

Sprains, strains and injuries can happen to even the most seasoned athletes. When you’re testing your limits, even a minor injury can alter your performance. Consider products and supports like these from the CURAD Performance Series product line, available at Walmart and Amazon, to help you get back in the game quickly and safely.

Find more resources to support your fitness journey at

Keep Dirt and Germs Away

The more active you are, the harder it can be to find a bandage that stays with you all day or all game long.

Spray Away Sore Spots

Controlling mild pain can help keep you at the top of your game, and a topical analgesic works fast to heal common pain brought on by fitness and exercise, such as pain in knees, feet, shoulders and backs.

Put Pain in the Past

When recovery becomes the name of the game and pain relief is needed after daily workouts or bodily injuries. Cold packs work to heal bruises, reduce swelling and relieve headaches and general pain points while microwavable heat packs provide satisfying heat therapy to address sore and stiff joints, muscle cramps and tension.

Reduce Impact of Knee Strain

Weak, injured or arthritic knees can come from many sources, including tendonitis and a wide range of conditions that result in strain or overuse. An adjustable band can provide support for on-field sports and during workouts or everyday activities.

Manage Pain and Relieve Pressure

If you participate in endurance and strength exercises or certain sports, you may ask a lot of your joints. Kinesiology tape can be configured a multitude of ways to help reduce pain and improve blood circulation, as well as relieve tension and pressure.

Control Back Strain

When your back is strained, your body and performance can suffer. A mild or moderate sprain can benefit from strong support and compression.

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Exercise can provide relief for dry, itchy eyes

A significant increase in tear secretion and tear film stability after participating in aerobic exercise can be another remedy for relieving dry, itchy eyes.



Photo by Quinten de Graaf from

A team led by researchers from the University of Waterloo discovered that a significant increase in tear secretion and tear film stability after participating in aerobic exercise can be another remedy for relieving dry, itchy eyes. 

Every time we blink, our eyes are covered in tear film—an essential protective coating necessary for maintaining healthy ocular function. Healthy tear film comprises three layers–oil, water, and mucin–that work together to hydrate the ocular surface and protect against infection-causing irritants like dust or dirt.

When any part of the tear film becomes unstable, the ocular surface can develop dry spots, causing eye symptoms like itchiness or stinging and burning sensations.

“With so much of our activity tied to screen usage, dry eye symptoms are becoming increasingly common,” said Heinz Otchere, a PhD candidate in vision science at Waterloo. “Instead of having to use eye drops or other alternative treatments, our study aimed to determine if remaining physically active can be an effective preventative measure against dryness.”

Fifty-two participants were divided into two groups—athlete and non-athlete—to participate in an exercise session. Participants in the athlete group exercised at least five times per week, while non-athlete participants exercised no more than once per week. Researchers, which included experts from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, performed visual examinations before and five minutes after each exercise session, where tear secretion and tear break-up time were assessed.

While participants in the athlete group showed the largest increase, Otchere says all participants experienced a meaningful boost in tear quantity and tear film stability after the exercise session. 

“It can be challenging for people to regularly exercise when the demand is there to work increasingly longer hours in front of screens,” Otchere said. “However, our findings show physical activity can be really important for not just our overall well-being, but for our ocular health too.”

The study, Differential effect of maximal incremental treadmill exercise on tear secretion and tear film stability in athletes and non-athletes, was co-authored by Otchere, the University of Cape Coast’s Samuel Abokyi, Sekyere Nyamaah, and Michael Ntodie, and Ghana’s Our Lady of Grace Hospital’s Yaw Osei Akoto. It was recently published in the Experimental Eye Research journal.

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