By Liezle Basa Iñigo
Alaminos City, Pangasinan — Known as the home of the world-famous Hundred Islands National Park, this city has added to its tourism promotion the captivating sails of the “paraw.”
Mayor Arthur Celeste conceptualized the first-ever Paraw Festival held on March 26, 2016.
In just over a year, that festival which showcased a colorful parade of non-motorized bancas with beautifully-designed sails, has proven to be a hit among foreign tourists.
City Tourism Officer Miguel Sison said visitors of the Hundred Islands no longer have to wait for the festival to enjoy the sight of a paraw parade because they are already lined up at the Lucap Wharf.
The driving force behind the success of the paraw as an attraction are the local fishermen who have taken to heart using their small bancas and paddling tourists on an island-hopping adventure.
“Realizing that paraw fishermen in the city were earning very minimal, we encouraged them to use their small banca as additional source of income by incorporating them in our tourism endeavor,” said Mayor Celeste.
Many tourists are not only enamored by the beauty of the sails, but also want to experience paraw fishing for themselves using an authentic banca and fishing nets used by the locals, said Sison.
He said the paraw ride schedules are at 6-8 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. daily.
“For a minimal fee, tourists may experience visiting a mangrove farm; going island hopping; fishing; or even a simple paraw sail along the shallow and serene portion of the bay,” he said.
This new tourism feature is credited for an increase by 20 percent in tourist arrivals.
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