Iloilo livestreams annual Paraw Regatta sailboat race

Published May 30, 2021, 3:23 PM

by Tara Yap

PARAW REGATTA – Photo shows colorful native sailboats which are part of the annual Paraw Regatta Festival in Iloilo City. Due to the pandemic, this year’s festival was pre-recorded and streamed online Sunday. (Jade Dequiña/CMO)
ILOILO CITY – Ilonggos had a respite Sunday from the anxiety caused by rising COVID-19 cases with the online streaming of the Paraw Regatta Festival, an annual sailboat race.

“This is a manifestation of our strong commitment to continue celebrating our rich cultures and traditions despite being confronted with the challenges of this pandemic. Our identity as Ilonggos is truly worth celebrating,” said the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI).

But unlike in previous years, no one flocked to Villa Beach in Arevalo district. No one physically watched native outriggers race on the Iloilo Strait, the body of water separating Iloilo City and neighboring towns from the island province of Guimaras.

“All events were pre-recorded,” IFFI Executive Director Joyce Ann Clavecillas said.

It included the pre-recorded sailing activities as well as the body-painting known as “Pinta Tawo” and dance performances of “Sinamba sa Regatta.” The IFFI wanted to replicate the success of the online celebration of the Dinagyang Festival last January with the Paraw Regatta, which was cancelled last year when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

This year’s online festival is also jointly organized by JCI Iloilo with the support of the Iloilo City government, the Department of Tourism Region 6 (Western Visayas), and the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation Inc.

“We are sailing through new waters in the midst of this pandemic. If we learned anything from sailors, it’s that we do not go against the current nor challenge the wind. Rather, we must go with it and sail on together,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas in a statement.