When I first learned that Tagum City in Davao del Norte had won the rights to host this year’s National Schools Press Conference—the last one I would be eligible to take part in—I wasn’t sure what to feel. To be frank, I wasn’t so sure an NSPC in Mindanao was worth looking forward to. Even though I call the island home, I’m no stranger to its history of violence and unrest, and with the contest being held against the backdrop of a tumultuous political season and the Ampatuan Massacre still fresh in the nation’s mind, not only were I and my fellow participants faced with the prospect of boredom in a city relatively alien to us, we were also followed by the unwelcome fear of violence and danger.
By the time we settled ourselves in our billeting quarters in Tagum, however, the worst of my apprehensions were gone. The Tagum City government, headed by Mayor Rey Uy, took every measure to ensure our security and comfort as we participated in the five-day event, which centers on a timely and relevant theme: the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and the need to achieve them by 2015. The result was a smoothly conducted, well-organized competition that brought out the best in all those who participated, and one that is definitely one for the history books.
Over the next few posts on this blog I will recount my NSPC 2010 experience day by day, from the unusually long opening parade to the kickass sendoff the genial people of Tagum prepared for us. Stay tuned for my account of the National Schools Press Conference 2010 in Tagum City.