VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur: The province of Ilocos Sur is all set to host the 2018 Palarong Pambansa that fires off today.
“It’s all systems go for this year’s Palarong Pambansa,” said Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones.
According to Briones, all requirements for the weeklong event have been finalized last week as the final ocular inspection of playing venues and billeting areas was conducted a month ago.
The largest annual sporting event in the country officially opens at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium. An estimated 15,000 delegates composed of athletes and officials will join the traditional parade that kicks off at 1:30 p.m.
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to deliver a speech in the opening ceremony while Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, bowling icon Paeng Nepomuceno and swimming icon Eric Buhain are set to grace the event.
The local government will put up a skydiving and hot air balloon show along with field demonstration and street dancing showdown to showcase the cultural beauty of the province.
“We will make sure that you did not make a mistake in choosing our province,” Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson told Briones in the inauguration of the “Gallery of Athletes” on Saturday at the Vigan City Convention Center.
The Gallery of Athletes is an exhibit showcasing Palarong Pambansa alumni such as Buhain, Dyan Castillejo, Lydia De Vega, Elma Muros, Wesley So, Samboy Lim and Mark Anthony Barriga.
This year, the National Capital Region will defend the overall championship for the 14th straight time.
The Big City will slug it out with 16 other regions as a total of 1,311 medals in 23 regular sports, 24 in three demonstration sports and 264 in four special games are up for grabs.
There will be 15 events in the elementary level namely arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, chess, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball.
The secondary division, on the other hand, has 21 events—archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, billiard, boxing, chess, football, futsal, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, wushu and wrestling.
The regions are expected to put premium on athletics as the event accounts for 198 medals while swimming comes next with 180. Arnis has 158 medals and taekwondo has 152.
Aerobic gymnastics, dance sports and pencak silat consist the demonstration sports while special games include athletics, bocce, goalball and swimming.
The 3×3 basketball event, meanwhile, has gained a regular sport status in the secondary category even as boxing, arnis, taekwondo and wrestling had amendments or modifications in their respective technical guidelines.
This year’s installment of DepEd’s flagship sports program is centered on the theme “Championing the Spirit of Young Filipino Athletes.”
“Through Department of Education’s commitment to promote physical education and school sports as integral part of basic education, we hone our learners’ athletic prowess and champion their potentials in the field of sports,” said Briones in a statement.