WITH barely a month before the Palarong Pambansa in Davao City takes center stage, Cordillera athletes starts to gear up as they seek an improved finish in the weeklong competition for elementary and high school students.
The weeklong competition which kicks off on April 27 sanctioned by the Department of Education (DepEd) will see 17 regions compete in 20 sports discipline and special events.
Georaloy Palao-ay, information officer of DepEd Cordillera, said the region is set to send 653 athletes and will be joined by 91 delegates and officials with Baguio City, who recently topped the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association, having the most athletes with 299.
“Our athletes will have their training until April 12 and then we travel to Davao City by ship starting April 20,” Palao-ay said.
The upcoming 2019 Palarong Pambansa is reported to reintroduce indigenous sports in addition to its existing games to make the annual multi-sports event special and interesting intended to restore and revive “Laro ng Lahi” sports amidst the popularity of electronic and video-based games played by the millennials over computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Lawyer Revsee Escobedo, DepEd Assistant Secretary and Palarong Pambansa secretary general during a recent visit in Apayao province said these games will have some modifications because instead of the athletes playing and compete for the Laro ng Lahi, DepEd officials will be the ones to play.
Indigenous games eyed for the upcoming Palaro will include tug-of-war, patintero, kadang-kadang, and toktok palayok.
The region placed fifth in last year’s Palarong Pambansa with 25 golds, 22 silvers and 23 bronze medals while the National Capital Region bagged anew the overall title for the 14th straight year bagging 100 gold, 70 silver, and 50 bronze medals.
NCR surpassed its gold medal count of 98 last year.
Southern Tagalog-Calabarzon came in second with 55 gold, 50 silver, and 73 bronze medals while Western Visayas rounded out the top 3 with 46 gold, 55 silver, and 53 bronze medals.