Palarong Pambansa 2023

Rain-hit Palarong Pambansa concludes as Marikina passes hosting torch to Cebu City

Delfin Dioquino

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Rain-hit Palarong Pambansa concludes as Marikina passes hosting torch to Cebu City

FLAMES. The 2023 Palarong Pambansa cauldron in Marikina.


NCR claims the overall championship for the 16th straight edition as the 2023 Palarong Pambansa wraps up in Marikina

MANILA, Philippines – Marikina City drew the curtains on its hosting of the Palarong Pambasa on Saturday, August 5, surviving the week-long meet once again ruled by NCR after it got threatened by rain and flood.

NCR claimed the overall championship for the 16th straight edition as the annual joust for elementary and secondary student-athletes concluded at the Marikina Sports Center, with Cebu City taking over the hosting for next year.

Vice President Sara Duterte closed the games, praising the efforts of first-time host Marikina as the Palarong Pambansa returned after being shelved by the pandemic for the last four years.

“To the city of Marikina, you have made a tremendous contribution in the success of this Palaro,” Duterte, who is also the Department of Education secretary, said in a mix of Filipino and English.

“Thank you for your excellent and diligent leadership that made the Palaro a success despite all the challenges.”

Heavy rain brought by Typhoon Falcon raised concerns on whether the Palarong Pambansa would push through as the city hit the second alarm for the Marikina River days before competitions official opened last July 31.

But athletes and game officials braved it out, with several records that stood for years finally getting broken despite the inclement weather.

After figuring in a nip-and-tuck race with Western Visayas and Calabarzon, NCR pulled away in the last two days behind a gold rush in gymnastics led by Eldrew Yulo, who did not disappoint in possibly his last Palarong Pambansa.

Yulo ruled all six events in the secondary boys’ artistic gymnastics as the Big City captured 85 golds in total on top of 74 silvers and 55 bronzes.

Showing its force in centerpiece athletics, Western Visayas notched its best Palarong Pambansa finish in a decade by placing second with 60 golds, while Calabarzon settled for third with 52 golds.

Although Central Visayas wound up at a distant fifth with 26 golds, Dumaguete archer Naina Tagle emerged as one of the top performing athletes as she bagged six golds and one silver in the secondary girls’ division.

“Let me extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the young athletes who won and competed in various sports competitions for coming together to celebrate the vigor and talent of the Filipino youth,” said Duterte.

“You’re all winners in your own right and we laud your dedication to your chosen passion.”

After Marikina, the Palarong Pambansa comes back to Visayas next year as Cebu City serves as host for the first time since 1994.

Cebu City is on a high after Jared Bahay and Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu reigned in secondary boys’ basketball for Central Visayas, dethroning three-time champion NCR on Saturday.

In 2025, the Palarong Pambansa will be held in the turf of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr: Ilocos Norte. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.