What you need to know about the Palarong Pambansa
MANILA, Philippines -- The stage is set for the biggest sporting event in the country.
With just two weeks to go before the Opening Ceremonies of the Palarong Pambansa, 2013 hosts Dumaguete City is up and ready to welcome the more than 10,000-strong athlete-contingents from all over the country flocking this university town in Negros Oriental to attend the games.
As a matter of fact, delegates from Region IV-B or Mimaropa already arrived in the city earlier today while other regions are expected to come in days before the official kick-off of the Palaro on April 21.
Sports: Road to Peace and Progress
With this year’s theme gearing up to promote peace and progress through the Palaro, the Negros Oriental government has promised the 2013 edition ‘not to be surpassed’.
“As we receive the Palarong Pambansa in our province, we are also opening Negros Oriental to greater programs and projects thus creating more opportunities, more improvements, more developments! The Palarong Pambansa is a huge milestone for all of us Oriental Negrenses,” Governor Roel Degamo said in the official Palaro website.
The host city, together with partnering neighbor municipalities, has put to place their state-of-the-art facilities such as the Praxevilla Tennis Courts, Robinsons Place Dumaguete as the boxing events venue, Foundation University North Campus for diving and swimming, the NegOr Convention Center for Tennis and Billiards, and the Governor Mariano Percdices Memorial Stadium among others.
The hosts also promise to hold the events within a 10-km radius, provide clean and secured billeting quarters, uninterrupted power, medical teams and facilities, and a city-wide 4G wireless connectivity.
“For the past years, Negros Oriental has always aspired to host the Palarong Pambansa. The determination of the province remains steadfast,” added Gov. Degamo. “Even when the previous attempts have failed, still the province continues to move on to pursue the dream. The sincerity of the Oriental Negrenses catapults the provincial government to realize this dream... this vision of being the host of Palarong Pambansa 2013!”
The long journey ends here
The Palarong Pambansa, the largest sports gathering in the archipelago and also the biggest grassroots events in the nation, is the culmination of the year-long athletic events student-athletes from public and private elementary and high schools had to go through. From the District Level up to the Regional Finals, the Palarong Pambansa is every student and coach’s ultimate goal each calendar of sporting year.
In the 2012 edition of the Palaro held in Lingayen, Pangasinan, powerhouse National Capital Region dominated the event with 114 gold medals while Western Visayas were in far second with only 47 to their tally. Together with Region IV-A or Calabarzon, the three have been finishing consistently in the top 3 in the past years.
Heavy-favorites Team NCR will be looking for a grand slam this year in Dumaguete as they aim to bank on their formidable Basketball and Swimming teams while Western Visayas hopes to snatch the limelight once again since their last overall championship in 2010.
It was not an all-NCR and Region VI story last year though as Northern Mindanao, a few months after Typhoon Sendong claimed hundreds of lives especially in their cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, fought valiantly to pull-off an impressive upper-half finish in the final standings—easily the most heart-warming story of the games in recent memory.
It was a long journey indeed not only for student-athletes but for the hosting city as well as they had to outbid Negros Occidental’s Bacolod City for the right to host the 2013 edition of the Palaro.
Negros Oriental edged their neighbors, 11-8, in a voting decided by 19 representatives from the Department of Education in October 2012.
History of the Games
This year’s hosting of Dumaguete City will be the 56th staging of the Palarong Pambansa, which started as the Bureau of Public Schools - Interscholastic Athletics Association (BPISAA) Games first hosted by Manila in 1948.
Since then, the hosting of the BPISAA rotated in different large cities in the country such as Davao, Legaspi, and Cebu. In 1957, however, the supposedly 10th staging was cancelled due to President Ramon Magsaysay’s death in a plane crash in Cebu.
The Games went back a year later with Tagbilaran City in Bohol as hosts. In the next 13 years, everything was in order for the BPISAA until it was once again cancelled in 1972 after President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. Vigan City went on to host the following year’s BPISAA, but it was the last time the event was called such as it was renamed Palarong Pambansa starting 1974’s Bacolod City hosting.
The largest grassroots event in the Philippines was becoming a regular fixture in the student-athletes’ calendars but three more events led to its cancellation in the preceding years including a four-year hiatus in 1984-87 due to the Edsa Revolution, cancellation of the 2001 edition for lack of funds and peace and order situation in Tubod, Lanao del Norte, and the 2004 Presidential Elections.
Tarlac, Zamboanga del Norte, and Pangasinan were the hosts of the last three editions while the cities of Mandaue, Davao, and Pagadian, were reportedly set to host the 2014, 2015, and 2016 editions respectively.
A sweatshop of future sports stars
Through the years, the Palarong Pambansa has produced well-known names in sports that has etched their names in history books.
Among them are Azkals co-captain Chieffy Caligdong, athletics legends Elma Muros and Lydia de Vega, then-tennis star and now prominent sportscaster Dianne Castillejo, actor and swimmer Enchong Dee, and PBA stars Danny Ildefonso, Willie Miller and Samboy Lim among others.
One of the main purposes of the Palarong Pambansa is to become a factory of national athletes which will don the Philippine colors in the SEA Games, Asian Games, and in the Olympics. Muros, a product of the Games in the early 80’s, went on to win a total of 15 gold medals in the South East Asian Games, while entering the biggest sporting stage in the planet, the Olympic Games twice, in 1984 and 1996.
Her fellow two-time Olympian De Vega, meanwhile, was considered as Asia’s fastest woman in the 80’s. She has won two gold medals and a silver for the Philippines in the Asiad and numerous achievements in the regional level.
Cheiffy Caligdong, most notable for his fantastic goal against Mongolia in 2011, has led the pack of homegrown bets and Filipino-Foreign stars in their effort to revolutionize the rise of football in the country. The Azkals, after decades of being the whipping boys internationally, have finally brought home achievements including a title in the Peace Cup (formerly the Long Teng Cup) and a third place finish in the AFC Challenge Cup in 2012. - Rappler.com