THE PHILIPPINE Dragon Boat Federation will push through with its PDBF Chinese New Year Regatta today in Manila Bay in honor of national coach Nestor Ilagan who passed away Friday morning hours after falling off a dock side while supervising the national team’s practice.
PDBF officials said they have prepared a tribute for Ilagan before the races begin and instructed the past and present paddlers, coaches and officials to wear black arm bands, bring white balloons and old photos with their mentor.
There will be a lion dance, the traditional eye-dot ritual and blessing of boats by a Taoist priest before the races start at 5:30 a.m.
In a statement, the PDBF paddlers credited Ilagan’s stewardship in their golden performances in the past three World Championships, highlighted by five gold medals and two silvers two years ago in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Ilagan has been stricken with various illnesses but remarkably recovered last year. He was watching the national paddlers when he slipped and fell, hitting his head in the dock side in the process.
Ilagan’s wake is at the chapel along Mabolo Drive in Nayong Silangan Subdivision in Antipolo City. Interment will be announced later.