THE region's top arnisadores converge anew as the Benguet National Arnis Tournament gets underway at the Benguet Capitol in La Trinidad, Sunday morning, July 25.

Trophies await the winner in the Batang Pinoy, Juniors Boys' and Girls', and Seniors Men's and Women's categories for the labanan (full contact) and individual events for solo and double bastons and team competition in the anyo (forms) divisions.

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Seven weight divisions will be played in the open division, which will pit teams from the colleges and clubs from the various schools and organizations in Baguio and Benguet, event organizer Rodini Buyugan said.

"We hope to discover future world-class talents in this event," said Buyugan.

Five divisions will also be opened in the high school category while three age groups in the elementary will also be played.

At least 10 clubs are expected to join the one-day tournament organized by the Baguio City Arnis Federation in cooperation with the province of Benguet.

Arnis was recently signed as the national martial art and sport.

Republic Act 9850, which was signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Dec. 11, conforms to the state policy to inculcate patriotism, nationalism and appreciation of the role of national heroes and symbols in the Philippines' historical development.

Buyugan, on the other hand, said the number of teams is expected to swell on competition day itself which is sanctioned by the Arnis Federation of the Philippines.

Buyugan added the tournament will also be a part of the sports promotion in the countryside after it was signed as the national martial art and sport mandating arnis competitions to be included in every sports meet.

The event aims to exhibit the talents of practitioners of the art, Buyugan added.

"Not only will this tournament give the players the chance to show off their abilities but will also let them and their teams test their mettle against different arnis styles in Mindanao," he added.