Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Ilonggo Legacy

THE Paraw Regatta Festival is an embodiment of the excellent Ilonggo seafaring tradition.

“This is a legacy of our marine skills,” said Department of Tourism (DOT-6) regional director Edwin Trompeta.

He said the annual boat race among native outriggers separating the island of Panay from Guimaras has exemplified the Ilonggo seafaring tradition that has spread across the globe.
“More than 50% of Filipino seafarers who work in different ships abroad are from Iloilo,” Trompeta noted.

“Seafaring has been woven into our psyche and we should take pride in it,” Trompeta expressed.

However, he stressed there is a need for the younger generation to appreciate the essence of seafaring and how it continues to play a pivotal role in an archipelagic country.

Established by DOT as a festival in 1972, the Paraw Regatta mimicked the material and design of the paraw that carried the first Bornean settlers to Panay during the 13th century.

“Our forefathers utilized it to find a new home and is continued to be used to this day. It is a means of transportation and a tool in the fishing livelihood of those living in coastal areas,” Trompeta noted.

He also emphasized that the festival, which has been named as one of the country’s Best Sports Tourism events by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP), is an awareness campaign on environmental preservation.

“The paraw does not use gasoline and is dependent on the natural wind,” Trompeta said.

As a festival, Paraw Regatta aimed “to develop the local tourism industry and preserve the paraw as a legacy from the earliest period of Ilonggo history.” It also wanted to instill sportsmanship among Ilonggos.


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