Palaro opening highlights different cultures, unity

LINGAYEN–The Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) stood as one big melting pot of different cultures as representatives from 17 regions in the Philippines gathered for the opening of Palarong Pambansa 2012, signifying unity and cooperation in the country.

Approximately 30,000 participants composed of athletes, technical officials, trainers, coaches, national and local government officials and employees, teachers and other guests filled both the grandstand and the oval to its capacity.

Vibrantly-attired majorettes led drum and lyre corps from different schools for an exhibition before the formal opening.

The athletes opened the program with a parade along the NRSCC oval with each region proudly hoisting its banner and flaglets being waved in rhythmic fashion.

The participating athletic associations in the annual Palaro are: Region I (Ilocos), Region II (Cagayan Valley), Region III (Central Luzon), Region IV-A (Calabarzon), Region IV-B (MIMAROPA), Region V (Bicol), Region VI (Western Visayas), Region VII (Central Visayas), Region VIII (Eastern Visayas), Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula), Region X (Northern Mindanao), Region XI (Davao), Region XII (Cotabato), Region XIII (Caraga), Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Cordillera Autonomous Region and the National Capital Region.

President Benigno S. Aquino III was promptly ushered onstage upon his arrival and was joined by Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., former President Fidel V. Ramos, Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Joel Villanueva, Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose Cojuangco, Gov. E.R. Ejercito of Laguna and Manila Economic and Cultural Office Chairman Amadeo R. Perez, Jr.

Espino delivered his welcome message and he thanked P-Noy for his presence in the national games’ opening.

Boy Scouts of the Philippines later led the hoisting of the banners of the Palarong Pambansa, DepEd and each athletic delegation.

Palarong Pambansa 2011 Gold Medalist in Elementary Taekwondo Christian Rafael V. Daroy led the oath of sportsmanship of the athletes.

Palaro 2012 Technical Management and Administration Deputy Secretary-General Cesar S. Abalon, meanwhile, led the oath of officials.

P-Noy then held the blazing torch of peace and friendship to signal the ceremonial lighting of the urn.

Carrying another five-pound torch, Philippine Basketball Association player Danny Ildefonso of Petron Blaze team ran his way towards the stage as P-Noy lit his torch.

The Palarong Pambansa 1994 and 1995 basketball star of Region 1 relayed the lighted torch to the delegates of the 17 regions who took turns in relaying it until it reached the Region 1 representative who lit the urn, being the host Region.

Luistro later introduced P-Noy who delivered a speech before formally declaring the opening of Palarong Pambansa 2012. (PIO)

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