Ilagan, dragon boat’s eminent drum beater, dies
LONGTIME national coach Nestor Ilagan, widely considered as the father of Philippine dragon boat racing, died early yesterday morning, a day after falling off a dockside while overseeing the training of PH paddlers.
He was 78. Doctors at Manila Doctors Hospital, where he was rushed last Thursday, said he died around 3:25 a.m. yesterday after a cardiac arrest.
The Philippine Dragon Boat Federation expressed sorrow over the death of the man it considers as the chief strategist behind the country’s dragon boat program whose success reached its pinnacle two years ago when the PH team won five gold and two silver medals at the World Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Ilagan was survived by daughters Romelie Marie and Nestel Marie. His remains are at the chapel of Nayong Silangan Subdivision in Antipolo City. Interment will be announced later.
PDBF president Marcia Cristobal said Ilagan struggled with various illnesses early last year but made a dramatic recovery in time to accompany the PH team to competitions in Malaysia and South Korea.
“It’s a great loss for us,” said Cristobal. “For the longest time he was our head coach and one of the PDBF incorporators.”
She said Ilagan was also inspecting the dock constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways in Manila Bay, near the Manila Ocean Park last Thursday when he fell off a ledge and hit his head.