Close to 14,000 Scouts from different countries marched in a colourful and festive parade towards the grand arena of Mt. Makiling in Laguna, Philippines for the opening ceremony of the 26th APR Scout Jamboree on 28th December 2009.
Countries in the region represented were Australia, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Scouts of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Macau, joined by Scouts from Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam. Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Committee Chairman and President of Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) Jejomar C Binay declared the Jamboree open.
Guest of honor at the opening ceremony was Noli De Castro, Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines. In his speech, he drew attention on the life of Dr. Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero who, as a boy, dreamt of creating a better place for Filipinos. Looking back at Rizal’s life, the Vice-President encouraged the participants to live a life in such a way that they contribute to the community through Scouting.
A large number of key Asia-Pacific Region scout leaders attended the opening including Vice-Chairmen Dr Mohammed Mukhyuddin bin Sarwani and Prakorb Mukura, and different Sub-committee chairmen and members, chief commissioners, international commissioners, together with key BSP local leaders led by Secretary General JR Pangilinan.
As the Jamboree officially kicks off today, Scouts will be engaged in wide range of different activities like learning about recycling, exploring crafts, arts and hobbies from different cultures, kayaking and other water activities for the next three days. At the APR Village, activities will get to know other countries' cultures and traditions.
A grand display of fireworks and the appearance of Binoy, the official Jamboree mascot ended the night with a smile on the faces of Scouts hoping for more better things to experience as the Jamboree days unfold.