TAGUM CITY, May 6 (PNA) -- A rainbow of colors carpeted the huge grounds of the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Barangay Mankilam here Monday afternoon as a sea of hopeful young faces of male and female student athletes beamed even when sweating out under the sweltering afternoon sun.
The budding athletes and their coaches and other sports officials had just finished the lively and pompous parade that started at 2:00 p.m. from the provincial capitol grounds after a Thanksgiving Mass at 12:00 noon.
The 17 delegations from the 17 regions of different culture and dialects displayed their respective uniqueness and bests during this Parade of Camaraderie and Friendship, giving life to what could have otherwise been a lazy afternoon in this land of the Giant Cavendish banana.
This city is the capital of Davao del Norte, a two-congressional district province in the southeastern part of Region 11 known as the Davao Region.
With the red-and-white-uniformed Bicol Region delegation were green-shirted officers and personnel of the Provincial Government of Albay, the only bidder for the hosting of the 2016 Palarong Pambansa with the strong backing of President Benigno Aquino III, according to the proud and highly spirited Governor Joey Sarte Saleda, who joined Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
Outside, vehicles of different types and models busied the roads but were noticeably dominated by green-colored trimobiles.
As the ceremonies deepened during the main program, the sun began to bury itself at the western horizon where the Palaro participants were facing.
Meanwhile, six Army parachuters displayed on the air the Palaro unity flag as they slowly descended into the sports ground.
The program featured the Philippine National Anthem, an ecumenical prayer, DepEd-11 regional hymn and regional march, welcome remarks of Mayor Allan I. Rellon, speeches of Laguna Governor Ramil L. Hernandez and Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario, entrance and turnover of Palarong Pambansa banner, hoisting of the Palarong Pambansa banner and of the delegations’ banners.
This portion of the program gave an opportunity to the Albay-based national media correspondents to cross the rubberized track towards Palaro ground to mingle with the Bicol athletes.
The media group was able to find a place in the sports ground at the left side of the stage, courtesy of the Palaro Media Center whose head willingly issued media passes for the Bicol media after their registration.
At the sports ground, some 618 delegates from the Bicol Region or Region 5, dressed in glaring red and white uniform, stood attentively.
Of this total, about 500 are competing delegates raring to do their part well in the excellent performance of their live.
They traveled for three days by land and sea from Pili, Camarines Sur, to Tagum City on board 16 Philtranco buses via Sorsogon, Samar, Leyte and northern Mindanao provinces, according to Miguel C. Ogalinola, DepEd Bicol chairman of Prefect of Discipline.
“We hope to place No. 5 in the overall standing this time, from No. 8 last year,” Ogalinola said with full confidence.
A sudden downpour of rain cut short the program as Roxas, instead of giving his speech, asked Luistro to order a “class dismiss” to protect the health of the student athletes.
A heavy and continuous downpour sent everybody scampering for shelter and eventually leaving the place with the momentous experience they had had deeply etched in their memories. (PNA) LAP/FGS/CBD/EDS