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One of the sports that Ilonggos also excel is the Olympic-recognized “Dance Sport.”

Coupled with Ilonggo ingenuity in music an event was coined to further boost Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival’s claim of being a truly “Sports Tourism Event in the Philippines.”

Thus the “SINAMBA” sa Paraw Regatta Mardi Gras Competition was born seven years ago to show the world that Ilonggos could be the graceful top-rated and world class dancers & musicians when it comes to “Dance Sport.”

“Sinamba” is coined from SINaot kag inAMBA. It is the signature activity, the top crowd drawer of the sailing event.  It is distinct, indigenous, and endemic to the Iloilo Paraw Regatta!

The competition starts Feb. 16 with a Torch Parade around the main street of the city to announce the coming of the regatta. Various competing “Grupos” in their most colorful and ingenious Mardi Gras night costumes dance in the streets to the live music of the “Musikeros” decked on top of beautifully lighted and decorated floats highlighted by a “Dance Sport” competition presentation.

Various musical and artistic groups have appreciated this special event of the festival and making it as a good venue for their musical and other varied artistic expressions.

Now on its 8th year as a Special Event of the Festival, it has continuously developed into another visual tourism spectacle of Iloilo City.

“Sinamba” is purely a statement of Ilonggo excellence in the field of “Dance Sport.”

Originally set against a beach backdrop, the gaiety in “samba” beat befitting of a beach ambiance, was sought to invade the city streets for the last seven years in an attempt to make the “SINAMBA” sa Paraw Regatta Mardi Gras a vehicle for city-wide awareness, appreciation and participation of the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival as another great and colorful Iloilo City Festival which is entirely different from the other festivals of the city.

This event evolved several years ago when during the “bespiras” or the eve of the Paraw Competition, participating “tripulantes” or boat men from all over Panay, Negros and Guimaras Islands, together with visual artists painting the “layags” or sails of the “paraws” and regatta aficionados would gather along the shores of Villa Beach to drink, dance and enjoy the samba music of various local musicians set around several bonfires along the beach while eagerly awaiting and anticipating the arrival in the early dawn of the various “paraws” that will participate in the Big Regatta Day.

Looking back further, “SINAMBA” sa “Paraw Regatta” is an Ilonggo Mardi Gras Celebration expressed in music and dance to usher the Main Paraw Sailing Competition or Regatta Feb. 19.

This event is neither religious nor cultural in nature. It is simply a celebration and an expression of the Ilonggos in appreciating their own talents and ingenuity in the field of arts and sports. Most of all it is simply celebrating the happy and festive Ilonggo traditions and way of life!

The Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival was the 2009 Best Sports Tourism Event in the Philippines and 1st Runner-up for the year 2011.

It was awarded as Best Sports Tourism Event mainly because it focuses on the excellence of the Ilonggos in the various fields of Sports as a vehicle for tourism attraction.

Highlighted by the sailing competition or the Regatta using the traditional “Paraws,” the festival also offers various big sports events such as Beach Volley Ball, Beach Football, Jet Ski competitions, Rowing, Paddling & Dragon Boat Races,  and even a Rapid Chess Tournament all done along the shoreline of Villa Beach! (Tres Solis)

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