Micah Alexandra Layosa, Region V student journalist
The sun climbs up the sky, slowly peeking out of the mountains as it rises, signaling another day for those who are part of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa.
Vigan will be remembered by those who joined the games for many different things: some will remember this place as where they tasted the product of all their hard work. Some will associate Ilocos Sur as the province where they lost. Some will take a look at the streets of Vigan and remember memories that they made after spending weeks in the Heritage City.
And now that our time here is slowly coming to its end, one can see how much Vigan and Ilocos Sur as a whole share with the National games. How can an ancient city be compared to such a prestigious and highly anticipated event?
Technically, this is the first time Vigan, Ilocos Sur hosted the Palarong Pambansa, as the last time the Filipino athletes gathered here was in 1973, and the event was still called Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association Games. Afterward, the games were then called a variety of names, but it all ended up being called the Palarong Pambansa. So it is fitting to return where an age of games ended.
Aside from their historical ties, Vigan and the National Games both share an important role in the history of our country.
Vigan, as a heritage city, is a place where one can go back in time and feel the atmosphere of antiquity, walking down the same paths as our ancestors have, seeing the homes that had once sheltered people who existed long before we were born. Its history can be told by the same past events of the Philippines: a story of conquest, exploitation, and revolution, it is a city that has seen wars, revolutions, death and fighting.
The Palarong Pambansa, on the other hand, is an event that has struggled to happen throughout history. In 1980, 1984-1987 and 1999 the games were canceled for a variety of reasons, and it has changed its name more than once before settling with Palarong Pambansa.
Aside from the fact that Vigan and Ilocos Sur is one, if not the most well-maintained heritage cities in our country, it is also the home of great men and women whose names will be forever etched in the limelight of history with their deeds of bravery, courage, and heroism.
Heroes like Gabriela Silang, a revolutionary hero, and José Burgos, one of the three martyrs, hailed from this land and died fighting for what they believe in. National writers Leona Florentino and Isabelo de los Reyes proved the literary prowess of the Filipino people. Let us not forget to mention leaders such as Floro Crisologo and former president Elpidio Quirino who’ve led the Filipinos well during their time.
Palarong Pambansa is the root of many successful athletes today. Athletes like Lydia de Vega, former Asia’s sprint queen (80s), and Elmas Muros-Posadas,who specialized in long jump and the former “Iron Lady” of SEA Games in the 90s, and Philippine Azkal football star Yannick Tuason are all products of the national games, and are now inspirations for today's generations, not only in sports but with their stories.
Etched onto our memory
Vigan is a place with so much to offer, from sites oozing with history to places that will certainly entertain you too, food that will challenge your taste buds by indulging you into a new culinary experience, and the people you’ll meet as you stroll around the heritage city.
Calle Crisologo is the poster child of heritage, with each house screaming history at your faces but the same time offers its citizens a place they can live in comfortably. The museum in Ilocos is nothing to laugh at as well, with the National Museum and the Crisologo Museum being a top favorite for those who are interested in the culture of our past.
As for the recently made spectacles, wait long enough by the city hall and you’ll be treated to a watery spectacle of well-timed lights and jets of water synchronized to playing music in Vigan’s dancing fountain, imitating the city’s rhythm of the ages and the desire for beauty and perfection. Another place to visit is Baluarte Zoo, in which one will see animals you never expected to see. Which ones? We’ll leave you to discover for yourself.
The Palarong Pambansa itself is also a very memorable event for both players and those who watched the games. Not just the events, but the stories that transpired during the Palaro itself. Stories of success despite obstacles, stories of rising up from defeat, and much more.
Aside from this, the people you’d meet and the friendships you’d build from people you would not normally meet also offer so many memories despite only meeting for very few days.
The Values we share
Vigan and Ilocos Sur accepted the players and delegates from different parts of the Philippines with such hospitality that they are known to exemplify. The well-prepared schools, as well as the helpful people around, made sure that the experience would be more fun than stressful, and fun it was.
Vigan and Ilocos pride itself on its love for history and its appreciation for perfection and beauty. The people you will meet while strolling around may not all be great but those who uphold the city’s values will show you how much the Ilocano way of life appreciates antiquity and beauty.
And while the Palaro prides itself on its values sportsmanship and goodwill, it shares its friendliness with the city of Vigan and Ilocos Sur, and both of them well-represent the Filipino value of kindness, friendliness, sportsmanship, and goodwill despite differences.
Turn back the clock
A few days isn’t enough to fully enjoy Vigan, and the Palarong Pambansa, though tiresome, is a very memorable experience that it is hard to imagine that it has come to a close. These two share history, values and culture more than we could ever see, and maybe that’s the whole beauty to it, there will always be more to discover in every nook and cranny you look at.
And even though the games have ended, and we are all to go home soon, memories of the olden streets will remain in our minds, and the cheers emanating from the crowd in every game when a team hits a goal will ring in our ears for a very long time.
Micah Alexandra Layosa, Region V student journalist