“Wilderness designations should not be the result of a quid pro quo. They should rise or fall on their own merits.”
By Alex P. Vidal
FOR the very first time in the festival’s history, a seaside restaurateur in Iloilo City has been given a huge (or is it only honorary?) task to head an important committee in the Paraw Regatta Festival 2020.
Honorato “Tiyo Tatoy” Espinosa has been named by the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI) as chairman of this year’s Paraw Regatta Festival steering committee.
The IFFI and also probably Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas wanted Espinosa in the team “as a tribute to his contributions to the sailing festival.”
Espinosa, who admitted being part of Paraw Regatta for 48 years now, was so elated claiming the festival is “so special” to him.
If we ask the IFFI and Treñas, the feeling is mutual.
Espinosa is also “special” to the organizers.
Since the festival has always been “hosted” by Espinosa’s Tatoy’s Manokan restaurant in Arevalo district since time immemorial, both sides of the coin should come out as co-winners.
The mutual understanding means there’ll be or there should be a quid pro quo.
The IFFI and the City Government will have everything to gain and nothing to lose if Espinosa, even if he isn’t the only “best person” for the job in the steering committee, is in the helm of the organizing body.
Inasal na manok, drinks, and other seafood freebies plus accommodations in spacious cottages and air-conditioned rooms for organizers and others involved in the preparation level will certainly be dangled by the generous and “grateful” Espinosa.
And who stands to or which business will benefit heavily in the duration of the festival?
The quick answer should be Tatoy’s Manokan.
With all the publicity to be generated by one of Asia’s most popular and most-advertised multi-day double outrigger sailboat races, Tatoy’s Manokan, already a household name in the metropolis’ seafoods and native inasal na manok industry, is expected to amass a record-breaking publicity for free.
Be that as it may, but it might also help the manokan business in that coastline area in particular, and Iloilo City’s seafoods industry in general if in the future Paraw Regatta Festivals, the IFFI and the City Hall will also expand the selection process for the next chairman of the steering committee—or whatever honorary position—and include other local owners of manokan and seafoods restaurants in that area.
For sure, it’s not only Tiyo Tatoy who has contributions to the sailing festival, if that is the paramount qualification for being designated in the festival’s presidential table.
Tiyo Tatoy has the edge, there’s no doubt: his name rings a bell and Tatoy’s Manokan is so vastly popular that any visiting manokan customer wouldn’t think anymore other restaurants in that belt offer the same novelty seafoods—and their owners could be as enthusiastic and as active like Tiyo Tatoy.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)