Balsas (bamboo rafts) used to make splashes and waves in Iloilo River. That was 15 years ago when the waterway at the heart of the city was dying and going down the drain.

The exciting balsa race was then the brainchild of Ilonggo artist and UP in the Visayas professor Ed Defensor, brother of Gov. Arthur Defensor.

“This emanated from an idea of mine to call attention to the sad state of the Iloilo River,” stressed Defensor on his Facebook post of old photos of the balsa racing event.

Glorious city

“Unfortunately, the city administration at the time couldn’t care about the Iloilo River, just as it didn’t care about so many things in the lives of the people of this glorious city,” he recalled.

“Karera sa Balsa” at Iloilo River was celebrated for several years starting in 1997 by first, the UPV Division of Humanities, and later, by the…

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