Sailing enthusiasts are invited to take part in the 51st Paraw Regatta Festival, a cultural celebration of the oldest traditional craft event in Asia and the largest sailing event in the Philippines, paying tribute to Ilonggos’ seafaring skills.
During the media launch Monday, Paraw Sailing Events chair Dr. Roberto Somosa said they have confirmed participants from as far as Boracay Island and some will come from Iloilo coastal towns and Guimaras.
The Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI) is also looking at increasing the prizes because mounting a paraw costs up to PHP150,000.
“We are talking about that. Hopefully, next year, since we are talking of additional categories, it can help bring back more participants,” he said, as he recalled having 85 participants during the 41st year of the festival.
Last year, 48 paraws joined the main sailing event, a race among sailboats with outriggers covering an almost 30-kilometer stretch from the waters in Villa Arevalo District, this city to Guimaras, and back to Villa.
It is dubbed the “search for perfect wind” because sailors use their maneuvering skills while passing designated markers amid the strong wind to reach their finishing line.
The Paraw Regatta is among the major celebrations in Iloilo together with the Dinagyang Festival and the Chinese New Year.
Somosa said they are thinking of including a slalom competition, with a shorter race course.
The plan is to have a women’s category and a junior category for 12 to 16-year-olds.
“We will start at the grassroots. This (paraw sailing) is a skill that has been passed from generation to generation. It is about one’s ability to find the perfect wind and direct your sail to get the right angle to propel your boat forward,” Somosa said.
The pre-registration is on Feb. 12-23. Forms are available at the IFFI office, at the back of the Kerr and Co. building.
The festival highlights will be on March 1-3. (PNA)