LUNA, Apayao -- Apayao’s rich culture and tradition was again witnessed by thousands as the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (Caraa) opened with Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones in attendance.
The 2019 sports meet also unveiled its official logo depicting an encircled eagle with a wing of eight feathers representing the different school divisions of the region themed “One Team, One Vision.”
Governor Elias Bulut Jr. ensured better hosting of the event last taking the reins in 2013.
“We fervently hope that our collective efforts have given justice to the trust and privilege of hosting this event bestowed upon us as I-apayaos, that this may serve as the province’ contribution to the process of honing the potentials of our youth to excel in the field of sports,” Bulut said.
The governor added he hopes to have fostered conducive venues where Cordillerans could further deepen solidarity, strengthen existing and working linkages crucial to the advocacies for autonomy, determination, and the full development of the region.
The province is showcasing its newly refurbished Apayao Eco – tourism and Sports Complex which features a newly installed rubberized track oval while several playing venues are also scattered in the towns of Pudtol, Flora and Sta. Marcela.
Representative Eleanor Bulut–Begtang inspired athletes to excel in their chosen sports.
“Our coming together through sports is a testament to our willingness to transcend our differences so that we can advance not only our youth’s dream but also our region’s advocacies for self-governance, cultural preservation and economic development,” adds Bulut–Begtang.
After reigning the regional sports meet for more than 10 years, Baguio City is keen on dominating the annual CARAA but is expecting a tough challenge from the other five provinces and one city.
Baguio City sports coordinator, Gaudencio Gonzales said Benguet is expected to be their toughest rival, despite bagging only 38 gold medals, including 88 silver and 62 bronze which is good for second place compared to Baguio City’s 222 – 102 – 61 medal haul, Benguet is seen to cash in on combative sports like wushu and Muay Thai.
Mountain Province is also expected to improve its overall team standing after finishing seventh last year having their athletics team train at the Baguio City Athletic Bowl.
The city is sending 830 delegates while Benguet will field the largest contingent at 850 even as host Apayao province has an 800 string athletic delegation for the week long sports competition.
Abra sent 791-man team while Ifugao is fielding 786 delegates and Mountain Province logging 741 athletes.
Kalinga, competing separately against Tabuk City, has 600 while the latter fields 715.
In a bid to make the games more interesting, each competing local government unit will carry a moniker which is unique in their area.