BAGUIO CITY – The unity convergence to firm up the bid of Baguio City and Benguet province to the host the 2018 Palarong Pambansa held last Thursday did not only produce the desired declaration of solidarity among government agencies and private institutions but also generated a number of sales pitches aimed at persuading authorities to award the hosting stint to these upland localities.
The campaign to clinch the hosting job for the country’s annual multi-sport event adopted the battle cry, “The Coolest Palarong Pambansa” to showcase the localities’ best advantage – the cold weather.
Nine other attributes were identified as selling points packaged as follows: “Ten Hottest Reasons for the Coolest Palaro Ever!” portraying Baguio and Benguet as the best sports-tourism site, as home of world champions and international stars, as rich cultural heritage and vibrant art scene, cradle of the world-renowned festival and world records, with world-class venues and accommodations, athlete-friendly billeting centers, first-rate medical services, as educational hub of the north and as places of steadfast solidarity.
More ideas however sprang as heads of the LGUs, line agencies, private organizations and local sports icons got together for the commitment signing.
Department of Education Cordillera (DepEd-CAR) information officer and event host Georaloy Palao-ay quipped that not only are Baguio and Benguet the coolest venue for Palaro but they are also the closest to heaven which brings to mind the Tagalog phrase, “Abot-kamay ang Langit.”
Taking cue from the remark, provincial administrator Nestor Ngolob, after committing Pacalso and the Benguet government’s “optimum support” to the effort, affirmed that indeed, Baguio and Benguet are “nearest to heaven that one can almost touch God’s fingers” or “Abot-kamay ang Diyos” in the vernacular.
Mixed Martial Arts world champion Eduard Folayang toed the line when asked why Palaro should be held here. “Dahil dito nila matitikman ang langit (Because this is where they can have a taste of heaven),” he proclaimed.
While reciting the pledge of commitment, many kept emphasizing the word “ever” in the motto but La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda went for the extreme declaring, “It will be the coolest Palaro forever!”
Mayor Mauricio Domogan was not to be outdone.
In the middle of his solidarity message he offered that Baguio and Benguet are the best sports training venues as evidenced by world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao scoring victories every time he set up his training camp here.
“If you kept track of the record of Manny Pacquiao, you will see that he never lost when he had been training in the city. He only lost when he stopped training here,” he said adding in jest, “He never lost gapu ta ikankanyawan mi.” /Aileen P. Refuerzo