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The 40th Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival which highlights Feb. 12-19 promises to be the best edition as it celebrates its Ruby Anniversary in time with Iloilo City Charter Diamond Jubilee Year.

“As the oldest sailing competition in Asia, the festival grows bigger through the years. It continues to showcase the strong partnership of the government and private sectors in the conduct of developmental endeavors,” said Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog.

The city government signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation, Inc. (IPRFI) for the smooth and successful hosting of the sailing event with the support of Department of Tourism (DOT6) and Iloilo Provincial Government.

IPRFI chairman Manuel Villa, Jr. said they expect something better for this banner year of Paraw Regatta which has been recognized the Best Sports Tourism Event in 2009 by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP).

Villa said the theme “Sailing the Best Wind” stresses the Ilonggo seafaring skills in search for the perfect wind to swiftly maneuver their paraws from start to finish line.

The sailing contest is set during the third week of February when the winds are “not destructive but propellant” to the native sailboats, he explained.

The organizers expected 50-70 participants to join the 30-kilometer race at Iloilo Strait which is considered the largest traditional sailing event in the Philippines and the longest-running in Asia.

Some 20 special events add color to the festivities including miniature paraw and slalom race, sail-and-body-painting, deep-sea fishing, rowing and paddling, jetski, Sinamba sa Paraw Regatta cultural contest, Ms. Paraw Regatta, beach volleyball and football, Frisbee, skimboarding, rapid chess tournament, foodfest and fireworks display.