FACC Bankeros compete with the best in Dragon Boat Festival

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IT was a proud moment for all, especially for Fil-Americans in the Charlotte, North Carolina community when the Fil-American Community of the Carolinas (FACC)  Bankeros placed third in the recent Dragon Boat Festival.

The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the crowd-drawing events of the Asian Festival that’s usually held in May. There were 41 teams composed of three Dragon Boat club sports teams and 38 corporate or private teams who participated in this yearly activity at Ramsey Creek.

The FACC Bankeros participated in the A Division, the top division among the non-sports clubs.  “We won first place and we’re way ahead of the competition in two qualifying heats with times of 57 minutes and eight seconds and 56 minutes and six minutes,”  Dr. Mike Borja said.


Borja, also the FACC first VP, was one of the team captains in charge of the organizational management. The other team captain was Ro Lawsin, who’s tasked to motivate and work on the rowing skills of the members.

“Ro worked on the strategies, ” Borja added.  The FACC Bankeros had the seventh best average time overall including those among the Sport Club teams.

“We were the 3rd seed in the Division A Championship Final Round of which our competitors were the best among non-club teams,” Borja said.

Among those participating were TIAA CREFF,  Duke Energy,  Microsoft, Lake Norman Chamber and other teams. Rogelio “Ro”Lawsin credits his teammates for sticking together throughout the event.

“We came this far because we were united and we awoke the Pinoy Pride in us,” Lawsin said.

He said the Bankeros only had two practices before the actual competition compared to other teams who’ve been paddling together all the time.

Outreach event

Borja said the Bankeros team consisted of novice and experienced rowers. There were 13 men and 12 women in the team who came from diverse professions and backgrounds such as medicine, business, music, school and the military.

Christine Olarte of Dust N’ D’ Attic beat the drum for the team. Borja also credited Mylene Clemente and  Marynell Rivas of the Charlotte Dragon boat team for  coaching the team.

The Carolinas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) hosted the 15th annual Charlotte Asian Festival and Dragon Boat Festival last May 17 at Ramsey Creek Park in Cornelius.

The free event usually draws 4,000 to 7,000 people, said Chamber chairman John Chen.  It is considered a major CAACC community outreach event, both for the Asian population and the community at large. 

In 2005, the Board of Carolinas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) approved the formation of the Charlotte Dragon Boat Association (CDBA) as a dedicated resource to promote, plan, organize, and sponsor dragon boat racing events in order to raise awareness and enrich and celebrate the diversity of Charlotte’s Asian community.

Also on hand was Kay Ronquillo, FACC 2nd VP who took charge of the logistics and banners with FACC President Malette Oliveros. FACC Public Relations Officer/Auditor Tracy Borja and FACC Area representative Terry Laabid were in charge of the food. 

Borja said the recent success of the FACC Bankeros would hopefully set the foundation for a champion team in the future. Congratulations to the team and may they succeed in next year’s event.  I’ll feature the Pinoy Striders in the next article. Till then, have a good day.


(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines who works as a nanny in North Carolina. This page will serve as a venue for news and discussion on Filipino communities in the Carolinas. Visit and read her website at www.susanpalmes-dennis.simplesite.com. Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com. These and other articles also appear at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/author/2582/susan-palmes-dennis.

You can also connect with her through her Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/41025046580074350/) and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Straight-from-the-Carolinas-/49415695067…)