Rodrigo Duterte

Palarong Pambansa and why it matters

David Lozada
Palarong Pambansa is a venue to build the future of our young athletes.

NOT EASY. Training for arnis is not an easy task. Players complete rigorous exercises to be better at the sport.

MANILA, Philippines – An estimated amount of P136.5 million is allotted for this year’s Palarong Pambansa.

That’s a lot of money coming from the Department of Education’s pocket. Aside from this, Pangasinan is in a frenzy preparing for the upcoming games.

Given the big budget and the widespread preparations, one might ask why DepEd is allotting so much money for this national sports event.

The basic question is: why? Why hold the Palarong Pambansa? What is its significance?

Stating facts

Palarong Pambansa started in 1948 and was first held in Manila.  Originally, it was called the Bureau of Public Schools – Interscholastic Athletics Association (BPSIAA) Games. The name was changed to Palarong Pambansa in 1974 during the 25th anniversary of the games.

The venues for the Palarong Pambansa change yearly. Provinces bid to host the event every year with Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao rotating in the organization of the event.

EYE ON THE TARGET. Bianca Gotuaco, Archer and Palarong Pambansa athlete shooting a Recurve bow.

This rotation method is done to encourage every region in the country to develop its sports facilities.

The Palarong Pambansa holds 18 sports, including: Archery, Arnis, Athletics, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Chess, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Sepak takraw, Softball, Swimming, Table tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis and Volleyball.

Targeting the youth

Sports education is a part of the basic education curriculum in schools. Every student goes through their Physical Education classes every year.

The goal of this is to encourage students to become physically active and healthy.

In a very real sense, Palaro promotes sports education to the youth. It helps students to see their P.E. classes in a different light. More than being a subject, sports can be enjoyed as a hobby and can even be turned into a career.

CONSTANTLY LEARNING. Christian’s knowledge of chess is almost wholly self-taught.

Aside from this, the Palaro serves as a jumping board and training ground for many student-athletes. Being a national Olympics for the youth, Palaro gives avenues for athletes to hone their skills and talents through competing with each other.

The Palaro is also where the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee spot young athletes who have great potential to be international champions.

Many students who competed in the past games have turned out to become world-class athletes, representing -– and eventually bringing pride to –- the Philippines in international games and tournaments.

Ultimately, Palaro is a tournament that brings out the best among the best.

Building champions in life

At the heart of every game, there is competition. For an event like Palarong Pambansa, competition is the adrenaline that pushes athletes to put their pedals to the metal.

Palarong Pambansa encourages healthy and fair competition. Through the different games, athletes realize that their journey in Palaro is more important than their wins and losses. This is a kind of competition that is formative for the athletes and their coaches.  

POPULAR SPORT. Badminton has gained popularity among Filipinos who have started playing the sport as a hobby. Courtesy of the Philippine Badminton Association.

In a recent statement, Education Secretary Armin Luistro emphasized that the Palaro aims to instill values to athletes and students. According to him, values formation can be seen through sports and it is the aim of DepEd to affect such formation to the youth.

Building character is more important than building athletic teams. As much as the Palaro aims to bring out athletic champions, it also aims to shape champion Filipinos.

Something to look forward to

Much preparation and arrangement are being done in Lingayen, Pangasinan for the upcoming Palarong Pambansa on May 6-12, 2012. According to the latest updates, the groundwork for the venues is almost complete.

For the first time, the Palarong Pambansa will showcase a live stream so that the audiences can be updated without going to the four different venues. Social media will also be utilized to promote and report on the events.

Gov. Amado Espiño, Jr. said in an interview from the Philippine Information Agency that this Palaro would be a benchmark for the future games. “We will show the country that the Palarong Pambansa in Pangasinan is the best,” Espiño said.

Espiño has plans on making Pangasinan a center of excellence in sports.

More exciting than the logistical improvements, however, are the athletic champions that will come out of the competitions. Though it will not be seen instantly, the impact of Palarong Pambansa goes further than the week-long competitions.

Palarong Pambansa is a venue to build the future of our young athletes and of the state of sports in the Philippines. –

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