Paraw Regatta Festival or Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival is an annual festival held in February in the Villa de Arevalo district, Iloilo City, Philippines. Its main event is a sailboat race in Iloilo Strait that features the Paraw, a Visayan double outrigger sail boat. It is the oldest traditional craft event in Asia and the largest sailing event in the Philippines. It is one of Iloilo City’s tourism events along with the Dinagyang Festival, Kasadyahan Festival, Chinese New Year festival and La Candelaria Fiesta. The Iloilo Paraw Regatta began as a half-day sailboat race but is now a multi-day, multi-event festival.
The Paraw race course is a 30 kilometres long, running up the coast of Panay and then down the coast of Guimaras, before returning to the finish at Villa Beach. Participating paraws are categorized based on the waterline length of the boat and further classified according to their sails as “unpainted” or “painted”. The sails are painted with colorful designs.
The first race started in 1973 with the mission to preserve the historic value of the paraws. It is held every 3rd weekend of February at Tatoy’s Manokan, Sto. Nino Sur, Villa, Iloilo City. Today, the event has grown from being a boat race to a festival with various interesting activities.
The Ilonggos take great pride in the celebration of a long and illustrious history, and, as such, so do the sailors and master craftsmen that continue the preservation of the old ways since the creation of this province, and its Hiligaynon birthright.