VIGAN City, which hopes to host the event after its 1953 and 1973 hostings when it was still called Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association, has made it clear to snatch the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa next year which was already pronounced clear when it hosted the Ilocos Region Athletic Association earlier this year.
In its official website prior the RIAA hosting, it wrote: “The thorough preparation is in line with the plan of the PGIS to bid for the Palarong Pambansa in 2018. The athletics meet will be a prelude of the Palaro, if Ilocos Sur will be given the chance to be the place of the historic sports event.”
Officials of the 460-year old plus Vigan and Ilocos Sur want 2018 as memorable as possible. After completing the conversion of the Elpidio Quirino stadium into world class athletic facility in 2015, Ilocos Sur plans for something big as it also gears up for its bicentennial celebration of its separation from Ilocos Norte next year.
The father and son tandem of Governor Ryan and former Gov. Luis Singson have spent millions of dollars to bring the Ms. Universe candidates last January to Vigan in a show of force that may dwarf the cost of hosting the Palaro. It was a clear sign that they are dead serious to make something big leading to next year.
If Ilocos Sur wins, Palaro delegates will reportedly be ferried to Vigan City first class using the Singson owned bus line Partas and if need be, officials will be flown in to the capital, which has been listed as a world heritage site by the Unesco.
Bombo Radyo Vigan reported earlier this year that a recent visit of Department of Education (DepEd) assistant Sec. Tonisto Umali and Palaro officials to the city has all but confirmed Vigan’s hosting of the country’s biggest sporting event.
The report said although Umali may have not directly stated that Ilocos Sur will be host by inspecting the province’s facilities to ensure that Ilocos Sur is capable of hosting the Palaro, provincial officials are confident that they have built a solid case, something Palaro officials will definitely not overlook.
During the Palaro in Antique, hang a huge tarpaulin that read: “Welcome to the Heritage Province of Ilocos Sur: The Host of Palarong Pambansa 2018”.
Vigan hosted the event’s 6th edition in 1953 when then Pres. Elpidio Quirino, a proud son of the province, also inaugurated the then town’s new sports stadium named after him.
Vigan repeated as host in 1973 right after its cancellation the previous year due to the declaration of Martial Law.
Some 45 years later, Ilocos Sur hopes to host the event which will see around 12,000 delegates including some 7,000 athletes from 18 regions.
The Palaro, which saw the inclusion of aerogymnastics and demo sports like wushu, wrestling, futsal and billiards as medal events the last staging, is expected to be held late April and early May next year.
Baguio and Benguet must step up their efforts in the hope to catch up with Ilocos Sur and host the Palaro for the first time, a first also for the mountain region.
Despite the disadvantage, Domogan believes that Baguio-Benguet can still pull it off. “We will bid as it is,” he said after Wednesday’s Ugnayan at his office.
Domogan said that the weather will be Baguio’s selling point when it so much cooler here during that period of the year, the hottest.
In other areas, play starts at 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. when it stops and resumes only after 2 p.m.
Domogan likewise says that accommodation is not a problem because of its proximity with the venues.
And third, the venues because the universities have opened their doors and their gyms will be used during the week-long event, he added.
The other (bidders) may have difficulty providing for some of the venues since they need yet to construct, while we can depend on our colleges,” he said.
Last Palaro, the DepEd allotted around P300 million budget which were downloaded to the regions and divisions. Of this amount, P30 million went to the repairs of billeting areas for the delegates. Another P10 million came from the Philippine Sports Commission and the office of Senator Loren Legarda. (PML)