LOCAL pep squads strut their way to the mat anew as the seventh edition of the Globe Baguio Cheerleading Festival-Panagbenga Cup kicks off Saturday at the Easter College gymnasium.

The elementary cheerleaders from Baguio and Benguet finally make their debut after several postponements last year due to typhoons that devastated northern Luzon.

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The Globe cheerfest, supported by Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr., Fernando-Rosa Bautista Foundation, and the University of Baguio is sanctioned by the Cheerleading Federation of the Philippines. Accredited judges will man the panel for the competing pep squads in the elementary, high school, and college levels.

The contest will start at 1 pm with a Globe load of P20 serving as entrance fee. A load of P40 or a new SIM also entitles one to a raffle ticket.

Leading the cast in the elementary level are SLU Lab, Baguio Central School, and Batuan Elementary School from Benguet while Pines City National High School and SLU Fusion are expected to defend their titles in the secondary and tertiary levels.

Baguio Day Cheerfest hall of famer University of the Cordilleras is skipping this year’s Flower Fest cheer-dance competition in preparation for its stint in the national competition but local pep squads in the college division are expected to go all out.

The UC dance group will be competing in the coming national cheerleading championships in Manila by March.

However, their absence would not be felt as teams from Baguio City, Benguet and even as far as Pangasinan are set to join the one-day cheer dance competition.

Adding excitement is the addition of the Pangasinan State University in the college level, and the return of improving Eastern Pangasinan Agricultural College High School in the secondary category.

Cash prizes and Panagbenga trophies are at stake for the top three winners in each division including raffle prizes for the audience courtesy of Globe Telecom. (Roderick Osis)