Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2013 Palarong Pambansa




I just came back from Dumaguete after doing chaperone duties accompanying my eldest as she participated in the swimming event for the recently concluded Palarong Pambansa which was held in the city of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental from April 21 to April 27, 2013. The Palaro, which has been held annually since 1948, is the biggest sporting event in the country, composed of elementary and secondary school students from public and private schools from all the 17 regions of the Philippines.

We landed in Dumaguete just in time to witness the colorful parade of athletes, joined by a marching band and marjorettes, as they passed by the streets of Dumaguete; a thick throng of people crowding the streets cheering for the student-athletes. It was a festive and lively display which I enjoyed, in spite of the blaring afternoon sun.
For the uninitiated, the Palarong Pambansa is actually a series of meets, starting at the school level,followed by provincial, then regional, and finally culminates in the national games known as Palarong Pambansa. The process of selection starts in the first semester of the school year, wherein preliminary meets are undertaken by the individual or team athletes, and the top two winners in each school are selected to represent the school in the district meet. The process of getting the top two victors is repeated in the regional level until the final two athletes/team qualify to move up to the national level of competition.

Delegates were assigned billeting quarters in the different public schools of Negros Oriental. For the delegates of NCR, the Dumaguete City High School served as the temporary housing for all the NCR athletes, coaches and support staff. In addition shuttle buses were also provided to shuttle the athletes and coaches from the billeting quarters to the playing venues.

Food is served for breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner - for free, ha! Moreover, fresh fruits, bottled water, juices and Gatorade were also provided for free everyday during the entire duration of the games. The DepEd of Dumaguete also made sure that the sleeping areas for the athletes were comfortable as the rooms were provided with padded mattresses for sleeping. I have heard that some of the previous sleeping accommodations for the past games were not so comfortable, with the athletes being made to sleep on top of school tables, or worse on the cold floor with just a banig .
But most of the NCR athletes, like us, did not stay at the assigned biletting quarters, and instead each booked their own hotel rooms. But there are a lot of other student-athletes who slept at the public school, and most of them came unchaperoned. The athletes who stayed at the quarters had to contend with doing their own chores such as washing their own clothes and cleaning up their dishes after every meal. It would have been a very educational experience for J if she also had the chance to sleep at the headquarters, even just for a night.

The girl in the photo below is a member of the NCR-girls baseball team. I chanced upon a group of them inside the girls' room cubicles washing their jerseys. I took a photo with the intention of showing my own daughter how washing her own suit after every meet is not a chore that should be met with dread, but should be viewed as an opportunity - a chance to develop larger life skills like independence, industriousness and self-reliance.
Here are the NCR girls being briefed by their coach on the first day of the meet. A total of 8 girls to represent the elementary division, and another 10 to represent the secondary division.
This is my daughter’s first Palaro experience, and the entire episode is nothing but wonderful for her. She was able to muster mental strength as she overcame her jitters in her first event, the 100-meter butterfly, to qualify for the finals, placing seventh in the morning prelims with a time of 1:17. After prevailing over her struggle to calm her nerves, she finally clocked in her personal best time of 1:14 during the finals in the afternoon, shaving off 3 seconds from her prelims time. She was gunning for a third place finish, but actually placed fourth overall in the 100-meter butterfly. Still, even without the podium finish, we are both satisfied with how she performed.
She went on to win silver in her two other events: the 4x50 freestyle and the 4x100 freestyle.
On our last competition day, the parents of one of the NCR swimmers hosted a thanksgiving party for all of the NCR swimmers. It was a delightful change to see the swimmers have the chance to talk to each other outside of the pool for a change... wearing clothes other than swim suits, and their feet fitted with shoes other than the usual flipflops. The NCR coaches took on the task of hosting the program and providing entertainment.
Dumaguete lived up to their promise that this year’s games would be "clean, green and high-tech." We are impressed with our Palaro experience as we got timely results and photo updates via various social media sites. Even the Phenomenal Papa, who was left behind in Manila, got the game results a few minutes after they happened. Kudos to the Dumaguete provincial government for one of the most organized Palaro games!

To read ALL posts about Dumaguete, click here.
 
 
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