Ilocos Sur ‘one step ahead’ in preps for Palaro living quarters

Mara Cepeda
Ilocos Sur ‘one step ahead’ in preps for Palaro living quarters


Zamboanga's baseball captain, who is joining his 3rd Palarong Pambansa this year, says his current living quarters in Vigan is the most comfortable so far

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – Soft mattresses, pillows, and blankets welcomed every athlete who traveled to Ilocos Sur to compete at the Palarong Pambansa 2018.

On Monday, April 16, Rappler visited two schools which the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Ilocos Sur local government unit (LGU) reserved for the players, coaches, and other guests who need a place to stay during the games scheduled until Saturday, April 21.

These were Pangada Elementary School for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) delegation and Vigan Central School for the Zamboanga Peninsula delegation. (READ: LIVE UPDATES: Palarong Pambansa 2018 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur

SECURITY. Members of the Philippine National Police and the barangay police are deployed to every school.

Aside from mattresses, all individuals billeted in the schools were given their own pillows and blankets. This is a new initiative from the Ilocos Sur LGU, according to ARMM committee on discipline chairman Nurhateb Abdullah.  

“For the first time, kumpleto siya. May kumot, may unan,” Abdullah told Rappler. 

(For the first time, the beddings were complete. There are blankets and pillows.) 

“They are one step ahead of others, kasi ‘yung iba higaan lang [‘yung binibigay]. Dito kumpleto. Sasabihin kong maganda dito,” he added. 

(They are one step ahead of others, because others just give out mattresses. Here, beddings are complete. I say it is better here.) 

BEDDINGS. An athlete from ARMM lays on his bed. His black and white striped pillow as well as white blanket are seen beside him.

His observations were affirmed by Vigan Central School principal Editha Bagcal. She said they already included allocations to fix the living quarters of Palaro athletes when they proposed their budget for 2018. 

Bagcal said her school spent P50,000 out of its own coffers to make Vigan Central School more homey for Palaro. Another P80,000 was donated by the parent-teacher association.

COLORFUL LIVING SPACE. The facade of Vigan Central School.

The budget allowed Vigan Central School to fix its water pipes and set up Wi-Fi connections that can accommodate hundreds of Zamboangeños.

“Talaga naman na pinaghandaan ng Ilocos Sur dahil ang gusto ng ating governor (Ryan Singson) atsaka pati na rin ng DepEd na maging maayos ang pagbisita ng ating mga atleta at mga coaches at officials ng mga delegado ng iba’t ibang rehiyon,” said Bagcal. 

(Ilocos Sur really prepared for this because our governor and the DepEd wanted the stay of the athletes, coaches, officials, and other delegates to be comfortable.)

A total of 37 schools across Ilocos Sur are reserved for the regional delegations, while another 16 schools are being used by the Palaro’s technical officials. 

DOING LAUNDRY. Vigan Central School's garden is converted into a laundry area for the athletes from Zamboanga.

Rosellre Basa, captain of Zamboanga’s baseball team, finds his current living quarters more comfortable than the ones he stayed in during the past two Palarong Pambansa games.

“Maganda naman dito kaysa iba naming napuntahan dati. Kasi malaki ‘yung espasyo ng lugar namin. Tapos doon sa una naming napuntahan, maliit lang. Halos ‘di magkasya,” said Basa.

(It’s more comfortable here compared to the ones I previously stayed in. The space is bigger here. The room we had before was smaller. We could barely fit.)

He added that he’s now able to relax more and get enough sleep before his competition.

During last year’s Palaro, SunStar reported that some 600 delegates from Davao ended up sleeping on cartons they bought for P3 each for their first 3 nights in Antique. This was because their mattresses were delivered late. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.