All set for 45th Paraw Regatta highlight on Sunday

ILOILO CITY — Everything is now set for the highlight of this year’s Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival on Sunday.

Ronald Raymond L. Sebastian, president of the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU) and chair of the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation, said that there is a good number of participants and spectators this year for the boat race and lighted sailboats in the evening.

Sebastian stressed that they are expecting to be able to “improve” the festival this year.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez is expected to be the guest speaker in the event.

Sebastian added that 30 delegates from the Korean Red Cross are coming to attend the event.

Sebastian assured that they have already coordinated with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the safety of the participants as “gale warning” was raised by the state weather bureau this week in Iloilo and Guimaras.

Some 150 personnel of the Coast Guard will be deployed while 17 “floating assets” will be on standby to respond to any untoward incident that may arise during the event at the Villa Beach in Arevalo district, this city, during the boat race.

K-9 units will also be deployed to roam the area to detect explosives and illegal drugs and preempt bombing incidents.

This year, the city government provided Php1.6 million for the festival while the provincial government and the Department of Tourism (DOT) each gave Php300,000 to the foundation.

Preliminary events such as Slalom, job fair and “Bayluhanay Dance Drama” took off this week. The dance drama held last February 13 was able to educate the public about the history of Paraw Regatta Festival and seafaring in Iloilo, aside from being entertained.

Dubbed as “Oldest Sailing Event in Asia,” Sebastian further said that they are hoping to sustain the festival up to 100 years.

“We do not want the festival to stop at 45 years of existence. We will continue to be the oldest sailing event and more,” he added.