By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY – An estimated 12,000 delegates from all over the country gathered in Cebu for National Youth Day activities that began last Tuesday at the Cebu City Sports Complex.
A portion of Osmeña Blvd. was closed to traffic to accommodate the delegates who were trying to enter the sports complex for the opening program.
“We are ready to secure the event,” Police Regional Office (PRO) Director Debold Sinas said in a press conference before the program.
Festival Sites Overall Chair Fr. Joselito Gutierrez said delegates from areas affected by Monday’s earthquake didn’t want to go home, although the delegates from Luzon were delayed due to flight cancellations.
National Youth Day opened with Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma coming up the stage riding a big bike to welcome the participants.
The opening program was followed by a procession with carrozzas of San Pedro Calungsod, St. Joseph, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the replica mayor of Sr. Sto. Nino de Cebu from the venue to the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino followed by the crowd of more than 12,000 people singing the “Gozos.” The Mass at the Basilica started at 7 p.m .
NYD Volunteer Bea Tangcalagan from the Colegio del Inmaculada Concepcion – Mandaue, said that “at the end of the day, I felt satisfied that I was able to help and guide delegates, and I got to know different people – If there is another National Youth Day here in Cebu, I will volunteer once again”.
Dave Ryan Taguiam, a member of the Federation of National Youth Organization (FNYO) and the Chiro Youth Movement from Las Piñas City said his participation in church activities since he was in Grade 4 pushed him to participate in the NYD.
“This will help the youth to deepen their spiritual communications with God,” Taguiam said.
The rector of the Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño, Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr., urged the delegates to continue to be bearers of Faith, and being true Christians.
A traditional Sinulog Dance capped the opening day. (Minerva Newman with reports from Marlauie Estrella and Brandon Ormega, USC Intern)