VIGAN, Ilocos Sur (Updated) -- In a unanimous vote by the 10-member Palarong Pambansa Board during a meeting at the Vigan Convention Center here, Davao City won the hosting of the 2019 edition of the annual games.

The hosting lifts the morale of Davao Region athletes who are seeing action in the weeklong Palaro 2018 set to formally open at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium, Sunday, April 15.

Department of Education (Deped) Davao Region spokesperson Jenielito Atillo, in a phone interview with SunStar Davao, said: "We are very happy, we are short of words. This will give our athletes a big move forward."

Atillo also said that the development will further inspire the Davraa Eagles to soar.

"The hosting next year will be an additional ammunition for us to showcase all the best that we have," he added.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, in a separate phone interview, congratulated Davao City.

"See you all in Davao!," Fernandez said, adding, "It would be an occasion to look forward to. It will inspire more athletes and youth from Davao to engage in sports."

Dabawenyo PSC Commissioner Charles Raymond Maxey, who was part of the 10-member Palaro Board, opted not to comment on his home city's Palaro hosting bid victory.

Aside from Davao City, Zamboanga Province and Misamis Occidental all presented their bids. "General Santos City did not present anymore," the source said. The voting was done via secret ballotting.

The Palarong Pambansa Board is comprised of the Deped Secretary Leonor Briones, four Deped undersecretaries, three Deped assistant secretaries, one PSC representative and one Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) representative.

Davao City assistant city administrator Lawrence Batinding, according to the source, presented the city's bid on behalf of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) officer-in-charge Michael Denton "Mikey" Aportadera was also present.

As of Saturday, DepEd has yet to announce formally Davao City's Palaro hosting bid triumph.

Tight security

A hot air balloon show, sky diving exhibition, field demonstration and street dancing showdown, amid very tight security, will spice up the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa set at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15.

In a press briefing at the Provincial Capitol on Saturday, Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Ilocos director Jennilyne Role said that only one representative from every media outlet will be accredited to cover President Rodrigo R. Duterte's guesting at the Palaro opening and they will have to be stationed at designated areas.

Only media practitioners with passes from the Media Accreditation and Relations Office (Maro) will be allowed to cover the President, according to Maro's Janet Mariano. She said, "All gadgets that will be used by media will have to be inspected by the PSG."

Backpacks and water bottles are also prohibited inside the stadium.

Davao football coach Alex Adolfo told SunStar Davao that the match after their game was cancelled by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) who inspected the stadium.

Star-studded

As bared by DepEd Undersecretary Tionisito Umali to SunStar on Friday, this year's Palaro opening will be graced by sports legends the likes of Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Asia’s first grandmaster (GM) Eugene Torre, Olympics boxing silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr., Olympian swimmer Eric Buhain, bemedaled long jumper Elma Muros, billiards’ “The Magician” Efren “Bata” Reyes, four-time World Cup of Bowling champion Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno, Asia's sprint queen Lydia De Vega and taekwondo champion Monsour del Rosario.

SunStar Davao spotted Velasco, Torre and Nepomuceno at the heritage site Calle Crisologo Friday evening about to dine with some friends while granting photo opportunities for other Filipinos who recognized them. (SunStar Davao)