February 25, 2018, 7:47 am
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Antique Palaro opening rites to feature fighter jets

ELMA Muros, the country’s most decorated long jumper, will carry the torch while local pride and many-time national tennis champion Marian Capadocia will lit the cauldron when the Palarong Pambansa’s 60th edition comes off the wraps Sunday in San Jose, Antique.

Newly-acquired fighter jets of the Philippine Air Force will make a flyby to salute the guest of honor, President Duterte, and Army skydivers will descend from the skies in an aerial display of synchronized acrobatic formations.

First-time host Antique and Gov. Rhodora “Dodod” Cadiao, who has ended a political dynasty in the province, have come up with a spectacle that is a blend of old culture and the magic of new technology, and of bold imagination with the best of the Palaro tradition. The exhausting and time-consuming snake parade of previous years will be a distant memory.

An improbable innovator in its inaugural hosting of the games, Antique will unveil instead a convergence dance parade that promises to be “entirely original and memorable,” according to Cadiao.

It will feature LED television technology and the magic of laptops and cell phones in this age of Facebook and other social media networks.

The 18 regional delegations will march off from several directions at the newly-renovated Binirayan Sports Complex, converging into an opening extravaganza made memorable by cultural dances to be performed by the famed “Tutusan Tribe” from the island-municipality of Caluya.

“We are going to show the best of Antique’s rich history in a riot of color, costume, talent and drama,” said Cadiao, who heads the organizing committee. “We may not be able to match the grandeur of past Palaros but we have a lot of surprises in store for our visitors and guests.”

Simultaneous dancesport numbers featuring 250 couples will be held to the tune and beat of the swing, rumba, mambo, cha-cha, corridos, latin, tango, jive, reggae, salsa and samba.

Antique’s coming-out party will also feature an army of selected students from its lone university and various colleges. They will perform the sport of aero gymnastics with a display of complex and high-intensity movement in patterns of varying difficulties.

What is expected finally to capture the hearts and imagination of Antiquenos is the musical genius of award-winning local musician-composer Dante Beriong, grand champion of the 1998 Philippine Centennial Celebration, whose musical talent ranges from folk, jazz, blues, pop to rock music. Beriong will sing an original composition, the Palaro theme entitled “Solidarity Song.”

Athletes will vie for 925 gold medals at stake in 24 events at the refurbished Binirayan Sports Complex and other venues in nearby towns.

The capital town has opened its arms to the nearly 12,000 athletes, officials and guests of the Palaro. The streets of the capital town have come alive with multi-colored buntings and banners, and for the local business community, business is thriving days before the kickoff, with the swelling number of athletes, tourists and guests cornering their goods.

“The Palaro has already become the concern of every Antiqueno. We get support even from our known political rivals. This is very encouraging and exciting,” said Cadiao. 

When action goes full blast on Monday, defending overall champion National Capital Region is expected to flex its muscles early in its bid for its 13th overall crown.
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