Legazpi City, Albay, April 11 — Lost in the din of excitement and expectation for the TV broadcast of the Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley fight in Las Vegas, and the expected brawling noise and cacophony of the vice presidential debates at the University of Santo Tomas later, was the grand festivities that unfolded in the main streets of Albay province and Legazpi city yesterday.
Locals had an upclose look of the participating athletes and teams from around the various regions of the country which converged for the purpose of a national public sports competition unfolding starting Monday. At last, the Palarong Pambansa (National Games) is on!
These are the eighteen regional teams competing at the athletics meet:
As a recap, the torch relay for the Palarong Pambansa 2016 reeled off from Barangay Agos, Polangui, Albay, at the Albay-Camarines Sur boundary, early Friday morning (April 8).
Philippine Army soldiers started the torch relay from Polangui at about 5 a.m. to Oas town at 7:45 a.m. to waiting Philippine Navy men who ran through Ligao City.
Then the torch was handed over to Philippine Air Force elements who relayed to Guinobatan town and to the Bureau of Fire Protection officers then to the Philippine National Police contingent at Camalig town.
In Daraga, the relay was participated in by police officers unto Philippine Coast Guard personnel to the Junior Chambers International Legazpi runners who carried up until the Legazpi City Hall, at about 12:15 p.m., ahead of the scheduled arrival time of 2 p.m.
The torch stayed at the city hall for the rest of the day.
Last Saturday the relay was carried in by Mayon 360 Ultra marathoners running along the foot of the volcano.
It covered Sto. Domingo to Bacacay, then Tabaco City and Legazpi City ending in Albay Astrodome for the Palarong Pambansa 2016 Governor’s Night.
During the opening on Sunday afternoon, after the parade, the torch was carried by a runner from Albay Astrodome to Albay Sports and Tourism Complex, and relayed by different personalities in the field of sports from Albay.
The last handler of the torch was a person with disability and lighted the flame.
Albay province as host
As the provincial government of Albay hosts the country’s biggest annual sporting event by the Department of Education (DepEd), it has enforced strict security measures for the safety of more than 20,000 student-athletes from 18 regions now here to compete for the 59th Palarong Pambansa on April 10-16.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda said government forces, medical staff and other personnel have been posted in all billeting areas across the province to look into the safety and welfare of the delegates.
Government peace and security assets for land, air and sea are also in place to be used in the event of untoward incidents with traffic re-routing effected yesterday, Sunday, during the parade.
The sports event is being hosted across different venues in the province of Albay. The sports facilities were constructed by the provincial engineer’s office with the Verzontal Builders, Inc. in a span of five months.
This 2016 edition of the palaro is a first for the province of Albay, and the first regional team appearance of the Negros island Region Athletic Association in the competition.
For Palaro fans, watch out for special games where children with special needs will also compete. (With Connie Destura and PNA reports)