The opening of  Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association (EVRAA) in Baybay City, Leyte on Sunday, February 1, was successful despite the breezy weather according to Leyte Vice Governor Carlo P. Loreto, a home-grown Baybayanon.

“Our hometown’s hosting of the EVRAA is a fitting tribute to the diversity of our culture and the greatness of our people. It has been a treat celebrating with fellow Filipinos the glory of the Philippines and the grandeur of our times,” Loreto said.

Vice Governor Carlo Loreto of Leyte with Provincial Board Members Junjun Cayunda and Boboy Gacis
Vice Governor Carlo Loreto of Leyte with Provincial Board Members Junjun Cayunda and Boboy Gacis. – Photo by Aldwin Paraiso

The annual sports event was attended by some 7,000 athletes, coaches and school authorities.

Opening of EVRAA 2015 in Baybay Leyte. - Photo by Aldwin Paraiso
Opening of EVRAA 2015 in Baybay Leyte. – Photo by Aldwin Paraiso

Public figures including Roman Romulo, Congressman of Lone District Pasig City, his wife Shalani Soledad, Ma. Rachel Arenas, Congresswoman of 3rd District of Pangasinan, and Dominico Petilla, Governor of Leyte, also graced the EVRAA opening.

Also present in the event were host Mayor Carmen L. Cari, Provincial board members Mesias Arevalo, Boboy Gacis and Junjun Cayunda; Congressman Jose Carlos Gasis, Tacloban City Councilor Cristina G. Romualdez and Mayor Silvestre Lumarda of Inopacan.

In his speech, Petilla said that Leyte’s sports program has become stronger even after Typhoon Yolanda hit the region, citing how Leyte players won gold medals during the last Palarong Pambansa.

Meanwhile, guest speaker Tonisito Umali, DepEd Asec. and the Secretary General of the Palarong Pambansa, encouraged the athletes to practice sportsmanship. He also enlightened them by saying that “there is more to sports than winning.”

Congressman Roman Romulo
Congressman Roman Romulo led the lighting of torch during the opening of EVRAA 2015 in Baybay. Photo by Aldwin Paraiso

The EVRAA opening include the ceremonial lighting of torch led by Congressman Romulo, which he turned over to  national record holder athletes and coaches.

The event also paid tribute to the 44 slain members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) as they observed 44-seconds of silence and prayers.

The EVRAA 2015, hosted by Baybay City, has participants from the six provinces of Eastern Visayas.

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The annual sports event will end on February 7.

Photos by Aldwin Paraiso

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