To the thrilling sound of beating drums, dozens of dragon boat teams from around the world raced each other before thousands of spectators at Nam Van Lakes last week. Over the centuries, the Dragon Boat Festival has evolved into a popular cultural and sporting event among the Chinese people. The festival was originally designed to commemorate the famed Chinese poet, Wat Yuen, who committed suicide in protest against a corrupt regime, Thousands flocked to Macau on Tuesday to see the international races, with 30 local teams competing against 15 foreign crews. Rowena Chong, of Macau, was one of 20,000 spectators attending the annual festival. The 15-year-old, who was with family and friends, said the festival atmosphere of the races was enjoyed by all age groups. 'It is good to watch the races,' Rowena said. 'There is plenty to see and do. It is also pretty noisy! We are having a good time. 'It is nice to see people from different countries. I have been told they practise a lot before coming here to race.'' The three-day event saw 160 teams with more than 3800 paddlers competing. The National Philippines Men's team took out the men's event with a record breaking time of 1 minute, 52:89 seconds. The previous record was set in 2003 by China's Nanhai Jiujiang team. In the women's event, China's Nanhai Monalisa team took line honours with a time of 2 minutes, 3:89 seconds. Andrew Sui, 17, who has competed in dragon boat racing in the past, said he came to the festival to watch the regattas. 'There have been some really close races, and fast times too. So this is good to see,' he said. 'It may look easy to the spectators, but boat racing is a very hard skill to get right. The paddlers must make sure they work together and that the drum gives them the stroke rhythm.' Dragon boats have been in use in the territory for more than a century. A whalebone carved in the shape of the bow and stern of a dragon boat was donated to the Tam Kong Temple, in Coloane, by the fishermen of the island, and is kept there for public viewing. ''It may look easy to the spectators, but boat racing is a very hard skill to get right'