LEGAZPI CITY, April 11 (PNA) -- A 30-minute awesome display of fireworks that thrilled thousands of spectators at about 7 p.m. ended the Palarong Pambansa 2016 formal open ceremonies on Sunday at the Bicol University compound here amid a warm air of friendship and festivity with the majestic Mayon Volcano providing a perfect backdrop.
The opening ceremonies at about 4:30 p.m. were preceded by a parade of thousands of delegates from the 18 regions all over the country, including the newly-created Negros Island Region, that started to march at about 3:30 p.m.
A colorful river of humanity flows along J.P. Rizal Street and snakingly moved towards the Bicol University compound amid a festival of drum and lyre sounds that blended with the sunny mood of the day.
Welcoming cheers of Albayanos and guests who lined along both sides of the main thoroughfare connecting Legazpi City and its neighboring Daraga town in the Second District of Albay intermittently drowned the drumbeats.
Inside the BU compound, the different delegations formed a rainbow of colors that carpeted the oval ground, accentuated by a sea of faces of young athletes and sports officials – all beaming with hopes of excelling in the sports that they will compete in.
The delegations came in green uniform with white umbrellas, white and violet outfits, red and orange sports wears, white and red uniforms, yellow and violet jogging pants and jackets, white and red garbs, white and violet garments, multi-colored costumes and other smorgasboard of beautiful colors that made the weather smile all throughout the celebration.
The opening ceremonies included the playing of the Philippine National Anthem by the Philippine National Police Region V band; ecumenical prayers by Bishop Joel Z. Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi and Calid Dimapinggun of the Legazpi City Islamic Center; playing of the Bicol Regional March; singing of the Albay Hymn, "Albay Forever"; welcome addresses by Daraga Mayor Gerry B. Jaucian, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal and Department of Education Bicol Regional Director Ramon Fiel Abcede; and the entrance of the Palarong Pambansa banner.
These were followed by the turnover of the Palarong Pambansa banner from Gov. Rodolfo Del Rosario of Davao del Norte, Palarong Pambansa 2015 host, and Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, who was clad in red, white and blue outfit that defined the Bicol delegation.
Salceda gave a heart-warming and penetrating welcome message that inspired listeners, especially the athletes.
An intermission number was rendered by the Cagsawa Festival Dancers.
The hoisting of the Palarong Pambansa banner was done by DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro, DepEd Tonisito Umali and Salceda while that of the Province of Albay banner was made by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay members.
The DepEd regional officials hoisted the regional delegation banners while the DepEd Bicol chorale sang the Palarong Pambansa 2016 Hymn.
Luistro read the message of President Benigno S. Aquino III who congratulated Salceda and other local officials of Albay, DepEd officials and the student athletes and Palaro officials for making the Palarong Pambansa 2016 in Albay a reality.
The entrance of the Palarong Pambansa Torch 2016 and Lighting of Friendship Urn was done by some runners, including Francis Evaristo, a handicapped person on a wheelchair.
Mzyra Velasco, a Palarong Pambansa athlete, recited the Oath of Sportsmanship and Amateurism while Cesar Abalon, Palaro secretary general, led the Oath of Officiating Officials.
Luistro declared the formal opening of the PalarongPambansa 2016, which was followed by the release of friendship doves by regional representatives. (PNA) JMC/FGS/CBD