ILOILO CITY – Many people know Raymund Francis 'Kiko' Rustia as a television personality and host.
A few know the active sportsman is also a dragon boat paddler for a long time now.
Rustia said he’s been hooked to the sport since 2003 when he relocated to the island of Boracay and became part of what is now known as the Boracay All Stars.
The 32-year-old TV personality admitted he has taken dragon boat seriously to the point that he started joining local and, later on, international tournaments.
Today, the Boracay All Stars team is a force to be reckoned with as far as dragon boat is concerned.
Aside from being one of the most dominant teams in the annual Dragon Boat festivals, the Boracay All Stars had also made the country proud by winning a tournament recently in Malaysia and competing in Hong Kong as well.
“Team ko na 'yung All Stars since it goes way back to 2003,” Rustia told Spin.ph during the Fellowship Dinner tendered by Iloilo City mayor Jed Mabilog to the 11 participating teams on the eve of the 3rd DoubleDragon Boat Race 2014 at the Centennial Resort Hotel and Convention Center during the weekend.
Rustia said he’s proud of his teammates, who number 72 men and women paddlers over the course of 11 years.
While not everyone gets to compete in past years due to work, Rustia explained they all find ways to practice together and maintain their conditioning in order to be prepared for future tournaments.
“If there’s a tournament, pusposan talaga training namin. Like minsan, twice-a-day pa iyan, pero 'yung team captain namin na si Bambi, very scientific, kaya binabalanse niya, so minsan pahinga muna or nagsasagwan lang, so tinatantsa niya,” explained the soft-spoken Rustia.
He initially ventured into TV hosting after joining the reality show Survivor Philippines back in 2008.
Rustia eventually became one of the hosts of GMA Network’s travel and wildlife show, Born to be Wild, doing well enough to be nominated three straight times along with co-host Dr. Ferds Recio as Best Educational Program host.
But around here, his focus is solely on his dragon boat career.
“Basta kami, kung matalo man, wala kaming sisihan. We share this bond at talagang masasabi ko this bond is very deep because we’re more than just being a team, but it’s being a family,” said Rustia, who is now producing his own TV show Dis is Pinas that kicked off its first season last April and ended last July at GMA NewsTV.