Trip the Islands

5 Tips for Having Fun at Zamboanga City’s Colorful Regatta

Every October in Zamboanga City, the Hermosa Festival is held. Also called Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival, the festivity lasts for an entire month and is held in honor of the miraculous Our Lady of the Pillar or Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the patroness of Zamboanga City. As far as festivities goes, the most anticipated one is the Regatta de Zamboanga.

Although visitors to Zamboanga City can chance upon some colorful vintas when they head to the grounds of Paseo del Mar, nothing beats the real deal come October. It’s a wildly colorful event where vintas are taken out to sea for a competition, where the winner receives a cash prize.

Photo by: Paul David Lewin/CC
Photo by: Paul David Lewin/CC

The manner in which these sailboats are operated is by hand. Meaning, someone has to paddle them and the crowd cheers on. The competition is organized by category and is played as such – groups from one category compete while others wait their turn.

If you’d like to witness this colorful event, here are some tips to help you out:

  1. Get to the venue early. The best way to experience any event is to see it from an unobstructed viewpoint, and the only way you can get that is if you come early. The Regatta is held along R.T. Lim Boulevard in Zamboanga City and it’s best if you note of the time when the event starts so you can get there way ahead of the others.

Coming early has lots of benefits. For one, you can choose the best spot where you feel you’ll have the best view of the boats. Another, you won’t have to fight for space to get a decent view as you’ve already claimed your spot.

Also best to remember is to plan around this event. For example, it’s best to take your meals earlier when you know you’re going to watch boats race across the water because once you leave, people will happily take your place. Or, you can bring some food to give you sustenance while you watch the entire affair.

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. While the months ending in -ber in the Philippines usually mean the rainy season, this doesn’t mean that you never get a good old dose of sunshine. Then again, whether it’s warm or cool, you better be bringing some refreshments to keep you hydrated for as long as you want to watch the event.

So, head over to the nearest convenience store and get yourself one of the biggest bottles of water available. Or, if you’re uncomfortable with that, by several of the small ones.

Photo by: mindanews.com
Photo by: mindanews.com
  1. Wear appropriate clothing. The event is a seaside affair and you’re better off dressed comfortably. Your best bet is to dress according to the weather. Then again, temperatures can shift dramatically as well. So, it doesn’t matter if you come dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, bring a hooded sweater or maybe just an umbrella for when the temperatures drop. Also, the umbrella comes in handy when it’s really warm as well.
  1. Take loads of pictures. The Regatta is one of the most colorful events in the country, and it would be a shame not to have a memento of the occasion. Whether you use a fancy camera or the one that comes with your phone, take lots of pictures so you can look back fondly on your adventures. Even better, don’t just focus on the many colored sails. Take photos of the crowd, the beach and whatever else is around.
  1. Cheer for a vinta. Why not enjoy the occasion more by actually picking a side? While you may not know who the people are paddling the boats, you can go by the design of the sails. Cheer that vinta on and enjoy the merriment with the rest of the locals.

The Regatta de Zamboanga is a highlight for anyone to experience. So, keep these tips in mind when you decide to take part in the event when you’re in town.

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