Parau Festival is a cultural and religious festival in the town of Pilar, Sorsogon, Philippines every October 12. It is a celebration of maritime history of the town and simultaneously a feast held in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar.
History of Parau Festival
Parau Festival was launched in 2002. Its name comes from parau or paraw, a boat fitted with sails and outriggers.
The fest commemorates the maritime history of Pilar.
During colonial times, the Spaniards built a shipyard in Bagatao, Sorsogon. Organized by the Franciscan as a mission in 1584, it built vessels for the Manila-Alcapulco Galleon Trade within the administration of Governor General Juan de Silva.
It was attacked by pirates in 1616, 1627, and 1635. In search for safer port and harbor, the Spaniards established shipyard in Panlatuan Bay in Pilar in 1650.
During the Philippine Revolution, Filipinos rose against the colonizers in 1898 that led the killing of Ramon Gonzales, the administrator of the shipyard. The Spaniards counter-attacked that resulted to massacre of Filipinos including children.
The fest remembers the history, culture, and heritage of the town.
Devotion to Our Lady of the Pillar
The Spaniards came to Sorsogon in 1569. They arrived in Magallanes where they held the first mass in Luzon and where they erected a church.
As they explored farther, they reached and established the mission in Abucay-Catamlangan. It was the predecessor of Pilar. It was made a visita of Cagsawa (see Cagsawa Festival).
On August 16, 1861, church authorities consolidated the visita together with Panlatuan, Ynang, Putiao, Sapa and Cadanlogan. It was renamed into Pilar after the infant princess of King Philip II and Queen Isabela of Spain.
The parish of Our Lady of Pillar was officially established a year after. The patroness was installed as titular, and its image was donated by Sabas Melissa, the first gobernadorcillo.
Parau Festival Activities
Activities for the Parau Festival includes fun run, the Parau Landanga, agri-trade fair, motorcade, boat race (Parau Layagan & Sibidan Race), concert, parade of Lights, beauty pageant (Mutya ng Parau), sports tournament, parade, and Parau Street Dancing.
How to reach Pilar, Sorsogon
The nearest airport is Legazpi Airport, and the city is about 60 kilometers away in a land trip that would take roughly one and a half hour.
- Kathleen de Villa. This Week’s Festivals: Oct. 6-12, 2019. Philippine Daily Inquirer. October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2023
- Parau Festival. Tourism Promotions Board Philippines. Retrieved October 9, 2023
- Parau Festival. Municipal Government of Pilar. Retrieved October 9, 2023
- Astillero de Bagatao. Municipal Government of Magallanes. Retrieved October 9, 2023
- Ang Astilyero sa Isla ng Bagatao. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. September 2021. Retrieved October 9, 2023