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53 sailboats race in annual Paraw Festival in Pangasinan

53 sailboats race in annual Paraw Festival in Pangasinan

SAILING Samuel Navarro waves to the crowd when he sailed to the Lucap Wharf ahead of other sailboats during a race staged in this year’s Paraw Festival at Alaminos City. YOLANDA SOTELO

ALAMINOS CITY — More than 50 fishermen battled to control the wind as they steered their sailboats away from the Sulpot Island in the Hundred Islands National Park to the Lucap Wharf in this eastern Pangasinan city.

They took part in two sailboat races during the recent Paraw Festival (Paraw is the local term for sailboat). This was the third year when fishermen took a day off to entertain residents and tourists with their seafaring skills.

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Bigger treat

The festival was launched in 2017 to “recapture the days when the city thrived on farming and fishing, and fishermen used sailboats that were indigenous to the place and neighboring coastal towns,” according to local officials.

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The fishermen not only earn from fishing but also from tourism when they take visitors for boat rides along the Lucap Wharf coastline or to the Hundred Islands, said Mike Sison, Alaminos tourism officer.

Motorized boats are the frequent mode of travel but guests occasionally request to ride sailboats to the islands.

Tourists got a bigger treat during the festival’s five-kilometer, 20-minute races, which were dominated this year by members of the Navarro family from Barangay Lucap.

Samuel Navarro, 44, was the first to reach the wharf in the small boat category. His son, Cesar, placed third in the same group, while his brother, Joery, finished second in the big boat category. Navarro’s other son, Sonny, also joined the race.

Preparations

Navarro prepared for the race, sewing his own sail and practising for a day. He said he won because of “the right amount of wind and the ability to control the sail in the direction of the wind.”

Arvin Villena, 20, also of Barangay Lucap, beat his fellow big boat sailors. This was his first race. He said he learned sailing from his father. “We have become accustomed to the sea. We depend on it for our livelihood,” he said. —Yolanda Sotela

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