Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival
One of the major festivals in Iloilo City held annually is the Paraw Regatta Festival.
The Paraw Regatta is a 36.5-kilometer race among native outriggers in the strait between the island province of Guimaras and Iloilo City. It was inspired by history which dates back in 1212 A.D.
Etymologically, “Paraw” in the local dialect means a sailboat, which is a native outrigger based in the design and materials of the sailboats that carried to Panay Island the first Bornean settlers who were in search of a peaceful home.
The race was first organized in 1973 by the Department of Tourism, the City of Iloilo, municipalities of Oton, Jordan, and Buenavista, the Philippine Coast Guard, Negros Navigation, the late Antonio de Oteyza, Iloilo Boat Club, Panay Amateur Radio Club, the Iloilo Jaycees (JCI), Anhawan Beach Resort, and others. The primary objective of the regatta is to help develop the local tourism industry and preserve the “paraw” as the legacy from the earliest period of Ilonggo history; celebrate the skills of “paraw” sailors — marginal fishermen who take the week off to train and complete in the regatta; and bring a fiesta spirit into their lives.
Dubbed as “The Oldest Traditional Craft Event in Asia” and “The Largest Sailing Event in the Philippines”, the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival has received yet another recognition from the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) as the “Best Sports Tourism of 2009″.
In 2005 was agreed among the organizers of the event that a particular private entity must be built to handle the management for consistency, hence, the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation, Inc. (IPRFI) was conceptualized. Since then Paraw Regatta made it big and even bigger each year from a half-day sailboat race event into a multi-event festival that it is now. Various segments added to make the festival even colorful such as the Samba De Regatta Music & Mardi Gras Competition – the main festival; Rowing & Paddling Competitions – usually at the Iloilo River; Pinta Tawo – a body painting contest; Pinta de Layag – a sail painting design contest organized by the Iloilo Jaycees; Miniature Paraw Race and making contest; and the latest addition Iloilo Paraw Slalom – conducted one day before the main sailing event set on Sunday.
The Miss Paraw Regatta pageant cannot be out of the scene like most of the Philippine festivals. “Reggae-ta,” a beach shindig, roars in the evening of Saturday where bands are playing in the two party venues and at about 10PM the beachfront are lighted up by “Luces by the Sea,” a grand fireworks exhibition that lights up the skies of Villa Beach.
The Paraw Regatta Festival is fully supported by the Iloilo City Government, the Iloilo Provincial Government, the Guimaras Provincial Government and the Regional Tourism Office 6.
For more details visit www.iloiloparawregatta.com