ILOILO CITY — Now on its 43rd year, the Iloilo Paraw Regatta is the oldest traditional craft event in Asia, and the largest sailing event in the Philippines. It was even hailed as the Best Sports Tourism Event in the country in 2009. The Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation currently organizes the activities, with leading support from the Iloilo City and Provincial Governments and the Department of Tourism, along with private sector donations.
The objective of the regatta is to celebrate the skills of the paraw sailors and bring the fiesta spirit to the people.
The Paraw Regatta is a well-attended and well-anticipated race among the native double outrigger boats with colorful paraws lined-up along the waters of the strait between the island provinces of Guimaras and Iloilo City.
Traditionally, these boats have been made from local woods such as basa, baslayan, bayog, duca, dungon, guisoc, ipil, lawaan, and molave.
The Iloilo Paraw Reagatta Festival is an annual event held in the month of February in Arevalo, Iloilo City.
Activities are spent over a week’s time. The Festival week events will start on 15th of February, Sunday, with a Mass Offering at Villa Arevalo Parish Church, 7am, followed by the Paraw Festival Fun Run at 8am, then a Fellowship Breakfast at Tatoy’s Manokan, 9am.
One of the Paraw Regatta’s special events is the Miss Iloilo Paraw Regatta, showcasing exotic beauty and brains of the Ilonggo maiden. The Talent, Swimsuit, and “Trash to Class” Gown Competition will be held on the 12th – 13th of February at SM City Activity Center, 4:00 PM. On February 14, the Miss Paraw Long Gown and Best Public Speaker Competition will be held at Robinsons Fountain Area, 4:00 PM. These events will be held during the pre-festival week.
The highlight of this festival is the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Grand Take-off, held on the 22nd of February, Sunday at Villa Beach Shoreline.
The Grand Take-off or paraw race is a memorable and exciting spectacle, participated in by men as they pit their skills, stamina and strategy against one another for honor. The awarding ceremony will follow Sunday at 3:00 PM.