The Iloilo Paraw Regatta represents one of the two big festivals taking place in Iloilo every year, and aim to honor the “Proud Filipino Seafaring Tradition”. This year it was held on 20 February 2011 for the 39th time.
The Norwegian shipping community represented in the Philippines through the Norwegian Training Center Manila, Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and its various member companies employing Filipino seafarers, was this year invited to sponsor the event, and was on the regatta day represented by 15 reputable shipping companies and/or manning agencies and their representatives both locally and from Norway.
This event was a unique opportunity to promote Norwegian shipping in general, the various Norwegian shipping companies and not at least seafaring as an attractive profession for new generations of young Filipinos.
The regatta and festivities all took place at the beach-front of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU Arevalo), one of the selected partnering schools for the “NSA Philippine Cadet Program”.
A well-organized event with thousands of spectators and locals participating, and a number of dignities present i.e. the Iloilo City Major, local Congressmen, politicians, etc., together with local and international tourists.
The event was covered by both the local and national media, newspapers as well as TV stations.
The Managing Director of Norwegian Training Center Manila, Mr. Stein Eriksen was the key note speaker of the day and introduced the audience to Norwegian shipping and its long and important relations to the Philippines and its many good seafarers.
Thereafter the regatta begun, and the various shipping companies presented their “Outstanding Seafarer(s) Awardees” who were given a plaque or other form of recognition from their respective company in front of the big audience at the beach.
Some of the proud seafarers even gave a speech on how seafaring had changed their lives to the better and what it had meant to them and their families serving an internationally well-recognized Norwegian shipping company.
On the night before (Saturday, 19 February 2011), JBLFMU and the Paraw Regatta Foundation also hosted a dinner and press conference for the Norwegian shipping delegates present.
Hopefully the Paraw Regatta was an eye-opener to new groups of youngsters, for them to take on a future career at sea.
With IMO’s “2010 The Year of the Seafarer” fresh in mind, this event can only be seen as a good follow-up from the Norwegian shipping community’s side, to rise the image and attractiveness of our profession and industry, which provides so many opportunities to the right candidates.