I. N. a “safer, relaxing” place for bubble training, says Verano

By Blessing Angel V. Agliam, PGIN-CMO

Michael Verano, Philippine Men’s National Volleyball Team Manager, described Ilocos Norte as a “safer and relaxing” venue to conduct a bubble training camp amid the pandemic.

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) silver medalist team is currently undertaking their bubble training at Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena and Bacarra Gymnasium, which started last July 1 and will end on August 31, 2021, in preparation for the Asian Volleyball Men’s Competition and the 31st SEAG.

“Ilocos Norte is really isolated from Metro Manila and the health protocol is very stringent. Our priority is the health of our athletes, our coaching staff, and the community. Those are the main reasons why we chose Ilocos Norte, aside from Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc inviting us,” Verano said.

As part of bubble setup safety guidelines, the entire national team is required to undergo COVID-19 testing every 14th day throughout their stay in Ilocos Norte.

“It is also very relaxing here. Hindi masyadong busy. The public is well-disciplined. Hindi talaga sila pumapasok sa hotel or training venue. Health-wise, we feel that safety protocols are strictly followed,” he added.

Moreover, the team manager commended the sporting facilities in Ilocos Norte, claiming that they are “surprisingly comparable” to those in Metro Manila.

“The gymnasiums are surprisingly good— the facilities, big fans, air conditioning, and everything. We also inspected the Bacarra Gymnasium yesterday and the floor lines are there. We just need to bring our equipment such as the nets, poles, and balls.”

Verano, on the other hand, proudly shared that the Philippine Men’s National Volleyball Team has enjoyed Ilocos Norte’s local cuisine like empanada, dinengdeng, and pinakbet.

“Usually ang mga bubble training ay malapit sa Metro Manila but this is ten hours away from there. It is a very different and enjoyable experience,” he ended.— Blessing Angel V. Agliam, PGIN-CMO