SCHOOLS from northern Luzon renew their rivalry when the 7th Baguio Cheerleading festival takes centerstage next month.

Also debuting in the cheering competitions are elementary pep squads as part of Panagbenga sporting lineup.

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Sanctioned by the Philippine Cheer-leading Federation, the cheerfest will now include the elementary division, which failed to debut last year due to the typhoons that hit the region.

It will be turn of the winningest pep squad in Northern Luzon as University of the Cordilleras and the cheerfest organizers finalize their partnership in hosting the Panagbenga edition, which will also serve as a warm send-off to the UC dance group, which will compete in the National Cheerleading Championship in Manila by March.

The competition date is tentatively slated on Feb. 20 at the UC Gymnasium with Pangasinan State University as one of the visiting pep squads out to challenge local cheerleaders in the college division.

Pines City National High School (PCNHS)-main is expected to defend its crown and a possible fourth straight title in the high school division. PCNHS' main rival Baguio City National High School-main skipped last year's Panagbenga Cheerfest Cup in preparation for the NCC finals but has been lording the past three Baguio Day editions in the SM Super Moves Cheerleading Championships.

SLU Fusion, an all-star squad from last year's host SLU, won the college division title in the absence of powerhouse UC, which was also gearing up for the NCC finals in Manila. UC was given a warm send-off by the participating teams including a special tribute on video.

Last year's edition also saw drastic changes in the cheerleading scene after the Baguio Cheerdance Festival was renamed Baguio Cheerleading Festival and the participation of accredited judges from the Philippine Cheerleading Federation.

At least 10 elementary schools will also debut, led by Palarong Lungsod winner SLU Laboratory Elementary School. Participants will undergo clinics before the contest date.

Interested schools may get in touch with organizers for guidelines and entry forms through mobile numbers 0906-321-3832 and 0918-599-0817. (Roderick Osis)