DAVAO CITY — A sudden yet brief rainfall did not hamper the Palarong Pambansa 2019 kickoff festivities on Sunday.
While waiting for the arrival of President Rodrigo Duterte, rain poured over the Davao City-UP Mindanao Sports Complex for several minutes after a colorful and vibrant performances from hundreds of Davaoeños during the opening ceremonies.
Costumed performers from the host city filled the newly constructed stadium, mixing Philippine cultural dances with modern beats to welcome the delegates from 17 different regions across the archipelago.
Around 18,000 delegates and audience trooped to the venue to witness the start of the annual national games which was graced by the pride of the city, President Rodrigo Duterte along with Education Secretary Leonor Briones.
Duterte, according to Briones, has not yet missed a Palaro opening since assuming office in 2016.
Participating athletes and coaches also shone during the parade inside the stadium as they walked wearing their region’s colors.
Last to enter was the host Davao Eagles who made a statement after performing the viral dance craze “budots” when presented to the crowd, much to the delight of the spectators and DepEd officials.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, however, missed the ceremonies as she is in Camiguin. Duterte-Carpio left a video message for the athletes, reminding them not to enter marriage at early age.
The President jokingly took swipe to his daughter’s absence, saying Sara kept on calling him before the event to make sure he will attend.
“Kaya pala tawag nang tawag ang mama, wala pala siya dito. There’s an almost an order for me to be here,” Duterte said in jest.
The cauldron of the games, meanwhile, was lit by Palarong Pambansa champion, Craig Andre Gimongala. The young archer stepped on a durian-like structure that will serve as the friendship cauldron.
The Palarong Pambansa will take place from April 29-May 4. This is the second time Davao City is hosting the national competition since 1950.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.