DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – The nine-day Mindanao Friendship Games of the Mindanao Association of State Tertiary Schools (MASTS) kicked off in Mati City over the weekend.
Nearly 3,000 students and academics came for the opening of the Friendship Games – the biggest gathering of students in Mindanao this year – at the Davao Oriental State University (DorSu) campus on Saturday, November 5.
The first part of the Friendship Games is devoted to socio-cultural and arts contests.
Organizers said some 5,000 more are arriving for three days of the biggest sports event in Mindanao in 2022, which will begin before this weekend and end on November 13.
The delegations come from 28 state universities and colleges in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Caraga, Soccsksargen, Davao Region, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
On Monday, November 7, some 2,815 students started arts and academic competitions and launched the Search for Mr. and Ms. MASTS.
The first days of the competitions focus on story-telling, extemporaneous speaking, writing, drawing, painting, poster making, filmmaking, artistic videography and photography, dancing, and group singing, among others.
Dr. Roy Ponce, the president of the DorSu that is hosting the event, said organizers initially saw a setback when the Department of Education (DepEd) turned down a proposal to use the department’s local facilities as billeting quarters for nine days.
Ponce said the setback did not stop organizers of the MASTS Friendship Games 2022, adding that DorSu and the local governments of Davao Oriental and Mati City pooled their resources to provide enough facilities for the delegations.
Ponce said the event is meant to “articulate our brave and forward-looking resolve to a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world” at this time of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon said she hoped the Mindanao Friendship Games would foster peace and unity in Mindanao as it starts to recover from the pandemic.
“Beyond Davao Oriental, it is our duty as Mindanaoans to foster peaceful and harmonious relationships and advance the ideals and aspirations of our people. This is the kind of benefit that we cannot measure economically, a kind of investment that profits not only the present but also the future generations,” Malanyaon said during the opening ceremony of the Friendship Games. – Rappler.com