(MALAYA) The Philippines officially joins the "Olympic Family" Monday afternoon during simple and brief flag-raising ceremonies at the vast Olympic Village, home to the athletes competing in the 29th Summer Games here.

The RP tri-color will be raised while the national anthem is being played, with a handful of Filipino officials and athletes in attendance in the 1 p.m. rites to be presided by Village Mayor and Communist Party official Chen Zhili.

Philippine Olympic Committee treasurer Julian Camacho, Administrative official Moying Martelino, administrative assistant Eleonor dela Pena, archer Mark Javier, shooter Eric Ang, coaches Jennifer Chan and James Chua, wushu bets Willy Wang, Benjie Rivera, Mary Jane Estima and Marian Mariano make up the small RP group joining the flag-raising expected to last no more than 30 minutes.

"It will be a short ceremony. The Philippines is one of several countries holding their respective flag-raising rites tomorrow (today)," said Camacho, who along with Martelino and Dela Pena, attended the delegations’ meeting a few days ago.

After the flag is raised, Chen, a senior official of the Communist Party, will deliver a short remark, shake hands with Filipino athletes and officials, and present a special gift to Team Philippines as tradition dictates. Camacho said Team RP will also present a special souvenir to the Village Mayor.

The Olympiad comes off the wraps in glittering, lavish rites at 8 p.m. this Friday, with 10,708 athletes from a record 205 nations, including 639 from the host nation, competing in 302 events spread over 28 sports.

According to Martelino, the assigned units for Team RP in the Village is now ready for occupancy by the main group, which is checking in Tuesday afternoon after a four-hour flight via Philippine AirLines from Manila.

Chief of Mission Monico Puentevella and Olympic attaché Arturo Macapagal of the shooting association, boxer Harry Tanamor, and swimmer Miguel Molina head the bunch leaving two days ahead of another group that includes President Arroyo, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez.

Ang, Javier and their coaches checked in last Thursday, joining Camacho, Martelino and dela Pena in the Village, a 66-hectare complex of high-rise apartments that has practically everything.

The Village boasts a library, clinic, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, jogging tracks, shopping areas, coffee shops, fire station and restaurants. Having balconies overlooking walkway and courtyards, the apartments, modestly-decorated in marble and wood, will be refitted for sale after the Olympics and Paralympics.

Others leaving Tuesday are Maristella Torres and Henry Dagmil of athletics, Sheila Mae Perez and Ryan Rexel Fabriga of diving, Daniel Coakley, Ryan Arabejo, James Walsh and Joan Christel Simms of swimming, Hidilyn Diaz of weighlifting, coaches Patricio Gaspi, Joseph Sy, Zhang Dehu, Jason Calanog, Carlos Brosas, Ramon Solis, officials Ricardo Yang, Mark Joseph and doctors Martin Camara, Alejandro Pineda and Orson Odulio.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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