LEGAZPI CITY – The grand and unique opening of the Palarong Pambansa 2016 at the Albay Provincial Sports Complex inside the Bicol University compound left a mark on the map of the Philippines as it drew praises from delegates, visitors and local residents who flocked to the red-accented oval ground and braved the heat of the afternoon sun on Sunday.
Now on its 59th year, the annual national games’ opening became a byword among the almost 25,000 spectators who witnessed what the Palaro and the hosts – Albay province and Legazpi City – had to offer.
“I was glued with awe to where I stood as I watched the entire activity that ended with pomposity with a colorful display of fireworks,” said Dr. Rosa Kabutahe of Region 7 who disclosed that it was the first time that she had this experience for the 25 years of attending national scholastic games.
Kabutahe said she was also amazed by what the Province of Albay and Legazpi City have shown her and her group – beautiful place, rich culture, and magnificent people.
The fantastic torch relay participated in by a disabled man and the story of the Friendship Urn, she said, left a permanent mark in his mind.
The Torch Relay was done for three days around the Mayon Volcano.
Important guests headed by Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro were also made to ride ATV vehicles.
The spectators were also treated to the sight of beautiful and talented products of the Albay Pageant Academy as well as the grace of the BU and Cagsawa dancers.
Delegate officials noted that this was the first time that the guests did not leave the place at once, even after the program had long ended.
They witnessed the preparedness of Albay province, the 15 towns and three cities, national government agencies – especially the famous Team Albay, the Joint Operation Center based at the Governor’s Guest House and the different working committees manned by provincial government and DepEd personnel.
Each delegation showed its best during the parade, including the Bicol delegation headed by Governor Joey Sarte Salceda and DepEd Bicol Regional Director Ramon Fiel Abcede.
Region 10 was acclaimed as best in moving choreography and received Php50,000 as cash prize from Salceda.
One of the special numbers was the skydiving exhibition by members of the Philippine Army who showered the place with confetti.
After the welcome messages, speech of President Benigno C. Aquino III given by Luistro, hoisting of banners, and the penetrating and inspiring message of Salceda, white doves of friendship were freed into the sky.