IFFI all set for Paraw Regatta Festival; 50 ‘paraws’ expected to join race

Paraw Regatta Festival chairperson John Lex Bayombong (second from left) said in a press conference on Friday, March 10, 2023 that IFFI is all set for the return of Asia’s largest and oldest sailing festival. (John Noel E. Herrera)

By John Noel E. Herrera

The Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI) is all set for the golden comeback of the Paraw Regatta Festival to the shores of Iloilo after its three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The festival’s chairperson, John Lex Bayombong, noted that the public is eagerly awaiting the return of the festival on March 12 to 19, 2023 and IFFI has prepared everything to treat spectators to different vibrant events.

In a press conference on Friday, March 10, 2023, race director Dr. Robert Somosa said 48 sailboats have already registered for the main race competition on March 19, but they are expecting over 50 participants to join as registration is still ongoing.

He added that most of the registered participants are from Boracay, while others are from the towns of Tigbauan and Leganes.

The deadline for submission of all requirements will be on March 13 to 14, 2023 at Tatoy’s Restaurant in Arevalo district, while the final briefing of boat owners and participants will be on March 15.

Aside from the much-anticipated main competition, which will showcase the race of colorful ‘paraws’ that stretches around 30 kilometers from Villa Beach to Guimaras Island, and vice-versa, IFFI also prepared other events and innovations, which include Jetski Fun Run, Paraw Photo Contest and Exhibit, Paraw Job Fair, Pinta Layag, Pinta Regatta, Paraw Slalom Competition; Paraw Ultimate Fitness Challenge, Sinambo sa Regatta, Beach Standup Paddle, Beach Football and Volleyball Tournament; Pinta Tawo, Lighted Paraw, and Lechon Contest, among others.

The Festival’s co-chairman, Engr. Fulbert Woo added that some of the notable innovations for this year’s festival include the livestream of the events and the first HIIT IT: Paraw Regatta Ultimate Fitness Challenge, wherein fitness enthusiasts all over the region will participate in three stages of a crossfit challenge.

For Sinamba sa Regatta, Woo explained that there are six participating groups that will showcase alluring dance presentations accompanied with live music at the Freedom Grandstand on March 18.

With some events to be held on city streets, Public Safety and Transportation Management head Jeck Conlu said that aside from some areas in Arevalo district, road closure and rerouting will be in effect in some streets in City Proper district on March 18 and 19, but it is not yet final, as it still needs the approval of the city council.

The Philippine Coastguard (PCG) in Iloilo, on the other hand, encouraged people on the coastline within the parameters of the event to temporarily stop fishing and sailing activities during the celebration, particularly on March 18 to 19, as part of the safety measures.

IFFI also noted that this year’s 50th Paraw Regatta Festival is in partnership with GreenPeace, as both organizations encouraged the public to limit trash during the entire festival.

This year’s theme of the Paraw Regatta Festival is “Sailing Through the Waves of Ilonggo Tradition and Progress,” which, according to IFFI executive director Joyce Clavecillas is anchored on how traditional sailing remains alive and continuously impacted the lives of people along with the modernization of boats and other machines.

“We want to celebrate progress in the sense nga ang festival (Paraw Regatta) and Iloilo City continues to grow. We appreciate our tradition and at the same time look forward to the innovation and progress of Iloilo City,” Clavecillas added.


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