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Torchbearers light the pyre to commence the Mindanao Peace Games. Photo by Charlotte Billy Sabanal

MIndanao Peace Games kicks off at AdDU

The 3rd Mindanao Peace Games (MPG) opened with a Mindanaoan Cultural Show held at the Fourth Floor Martin Hall last October 24.

This year’s MPG, with the theme: “Kalaro. Kaibigan. Kasama.”, was hosted by Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU).

The opening program began with a parade of the delegates of the 12 participating schools from Mindanao including: Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan, Holy Cross Davao College, Saint Joseph Institute of Technology – Butuan, Fr. Saturnino Urios University ¬– Caraga Region, Datu Ibrahim Memorial College, La Salle University – Ozamis, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Holy Trinity College – General Santos City, Saint Vincent’s College of Dipolog City, Iligan Medical College, University of Southeastern Philippines and Ateneo de Davao University.

Culture and Arts Program Officer Jess Montajes explained how the MPG came to be and the rationale behind its creation.
Montajes emphasized, “MPG was conceptualized in 2014 as a project of the Society of Jesus. MPG is not just about sports, it is also about a summit of leadership. It is about also about artistry of what is truly Mindanaoan.”

Athletics Office Director Mr. Noli Ayo gave the welcoming remarks and expressed hopes of practicing camaraderie during the course of the five-day event.

“Sana makita niyo na nandito tayo sa Mindanao Peace Games hindi lang po para maglaro. Makikita niyo paulit-ulit ang ating theme na, ‘Kalaro. Kaibigan. Kasama.’ Naway sa huli magkasama-sama tayo at hindi lang kalaro,” Ayo shared.

University President Fr. Joel S. Tabora SJ cited how the event is an avenue for peace and a celebration of Mindanao.

“Why Mindanao Peace Games? We believe games can help foster peace and understanding like the Olympic games of old, so long as there are games, there was no war. We come together in peace in the hope that through our games, there may no longer be war.”

Tabora added, “It is a celebration of being from Mindanao, a celebration of rich diversity and culture – all represented here, [and] a celebration of commitment to live one’s cultural convictions with respect for the convictions of others.”

Organizations under the Culture and Arts Cluster of AdDU entertained delegates with cultural performances that showcased Mindanaoan artistry. Those who performed during the opening program included AdDU Chorale, Ateneo Sidlak Performing Arts Collective, and the newest addition to the cluster, the Ateneo Lumad Student Organization.

Banners were raised by delegates from Holy Trinity College and the event torch was lit by chosen athletes from participating schools.
Cindy De Gracia, a delegate from Fr. Saturnino Urios University, shared how happy and excited she was for the event.

“Happy ko kay wa ko nag-expect na makasulod. [Naga-expect] pud ko na bibo and walay injury. Unta magkahiusa tang tanan tungod sa event,” De Gracia shared.

The Mindanao Peace Games will culminate on its closing program on October 29.

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