ILOILO CITY — A total of 44 colorful native paraws waded through the clear waters of Iloilo and Guimaras Strait for the highlights of the 2018 Iloilo Para Regatta Festival on Saturday.
Now on its 46th year, this annual competition manifested the ingenuity of local seafarers in search of a perfect wind as they try to cross the 30-km. race starting in front of Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods in Arevalo district towards Bundolan Point in Jordan, Guimaras and back to Arevalo.
Participating paraws, double outrigger sailboats native to the Visayas, were divided into three categories.
Category A in the competition has a waterline length of 16 feet and below; Category B with 16.1 to 22 feet; and Category C has 22 feet and above.
They were also required to paint their sails according to this year’s theme, which is “Unity Amidst the Waves of Change”.
Some 14 paraws competed in Category A, and 15 each in Categories B and C.
In his message as guest of honor, Arend Bruegge, chief executive officer and managing partner of Vega Reederei GmbH and Co. from Hamburg, Germany, lauded the festival as he urged Ilonggos not to forget their history, referring to the mode of transportation used by the Malays when they settled in the Philippines coming from Borneo.
“Keep this for the future. This is your history and everyone knows that these boats have come in the past hundreds of years. You have to value them,” he said.
Vega Reederei GmbH and Co. is one of the major sponsors of the event.
The Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival has been dubbed as the oldest sailing event in Asia.
The highlight of the two-week celebration was moved to Saturday from the usual Sunday to allow enough time for clean-up activities the next day, said Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation, Inc, (IPRFI) president Ronald Raymund Sebastian.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jose Espinosa III lauded the efforts of Sebastian in leading the group that handled the staging of the festival.
He urged him to take note of the plan of IPRFI chairman emeritus Manny Villa, who passed away this year, to adopt the Arevalo plaza and make it reflective of the Paraw Regatta celebration and other tourist attractions in the city.
The festival will end with the awarding of winners Saturday night and the display of lighted paraws. PNA-northboundasia.com