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Spectacular show

PH makes history as SEAG host

The 12-day 30th Southeast Asian Games opened Saturday with a dazzling spectacular of music, dance and performances beamed nationwide from the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena north of Manila, depicting the Filipinos’ rich cultural heritage and talent to enthrall audiences from Tawi-Tawi to Batanes.

Spectacular show
Considered the biggest in the 30-year history of the Southeast Asian Games this year’s staging of the biennial competition opens with a dazzling display of fireworks, dances, and performances at the sprawling Philippine Arena in Bulacan. 
Directed by Palanca award-winning playwright Floy Quintos, the world-class performances featured homegrown talents and craftsmanship, while delivering a message of unity among Southeast Asian countries.

The Black Eyed Peas’ apl.de.ap and Lani Misalucha led the musical performances to welcome the 5,630 athletes to the Games, which the country is hosting for the fourth time, the first in 1981.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who officially declared the Games open, was wonderstruck as the musical performances unfurled and the best athletes from the 11 Southeast Asian countries marched one after the other. 

He was later seen joyously clapping his hands as the 1,868-strong Philippine delegation paraded at the center of the arena to the tune of the song “Manila” by the iconic band Hotdog.

After speeches by Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano and SEAG Federation Council and Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino, the President declared the games open. 

“I declare open the Southeast Asian Games for the 30th time, celebrating the games of Southeast Asia. Mabuhay kayong lahat,” Duterte said.

The opening of the Games, considered the biggest in history in terms of the number of events and participants, coincided with the country’s celebration of Bonifacio Day.

“Today, we celebrate the birth of one of our greatest national heroes, Gat Andres Bonifacio, who was known for his courage and love for the Philippines. Coincidentally, we also celebrate the heroic feats of our Filipino athletes, who continue to raise the country’s flag through sports,” said Cayetano.

Earlier in the day, Duterte welcomed Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah at Malacañang Palace in Manila.

Spectacular show
Two of the SEA leaders President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared the games open, and Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah along with living legends taking part at the sprawling Philippine Arena in Bulacan. 
Bolkiah, who later joined the President at the Philippine Arena, is in the country for a two-day official visit in support of his son Prince Abdul Mateen Bolkiah, who plays for the Brunei polo team in the Games. 

Athletes from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, Singapore, and Vietnam are competing in 530 events from 56 sports from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

Dancers from the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and dance troupes from various colleges and universities across the country took part in a range of dances, from traditional Filipino folk to modern hiphop. Choreography was done by Huling El Bimbo director and choreographer Dexter Santos.

There were two sets of flagbearers during the opening ceremonies. 

Six athletes minus gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio did the flagbearing duties for the Philippine delegation.

Then, six sports greats led by Lydia de Vega-Mercado carried the SEA Games Federation flag.

Spectacular show

After that, boxing great Manny Pacquiao and Petecio led the spectacular lighting of the cauldron at the New Clark City, triggering a splash of fireworks that lit up the Capas sky, 100 kilometers north of Manila.

There were traditional Filipino folk to modern hiphop. 

Choreography was done by Huling El Bimbo director and choreographer Dexter Santos, and these were witnessed by a live audience estimated by organizers to be around 25,000.

“Our athletes are heroes in their own way because of the tremendous pride they bring to our nation,” stated Cayetano.

Musical performers singing pop ballads, slow kundimans, to a Francis M medley and the 2019 SEA Games theme song, “We Win as One,” which was originally sung by Lea Salonga.

The song “Pilipinas Kong Mahal,” sang and penned by Manila Standard sports ed Riera Mallari,  was also heard on the airwaves during the opening rites.

Performers also included Christian Bautista, Aicelle Santos, Jed Madela, Inigo Pascual, Elmo Magalona and KZ Tandingan.

The Team Philippines flagbearers included weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, jiujitsu fighter Meggie Ochoa, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, boxer Felix Eumir, and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe who made a splash during the parade of athletes.

Spectacular show
Considered the biggest in the 30-year history of the Southeast Asian Games this year’s staging of the biennial competition opens with a dazzling display of fireworks, dances, and performances at the sprawling Philippine Arena in Bulacan. 
A day after the opening, action in triathlon fires off with Filipino bets seeking to deliver the county’s first gold medals.

The men’s and women’s events in triathlon will go on early Sunday morning at the Subic Bay Boardwalk inside the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

The men’s event begins at 6 a.m. and it will be a duel between local bets John Chicano, a silver medalist in the 2017 Malaysia SEAG, and Cebuano wunderkind Kim Remolino, who finished No. 17 ASTC Triathlon Cup held in Gyeongyu, South Korea last June.

Olympic hopeful Kim Mangrobang, who has been training in Europe, is the top favorite in retaining her women’s title.

 Compatriot Kim Kilgroe is her main rival for the gold in the event which unfolds at 8 a.m.

In Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement the country remained unshaken by the recent SEA Games’ mishaps.

“Today, Nov. 30, the most awaited opening ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games is expected to take place at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. This event signals the official start of this biennial regional multi-sport event that is scheduled to run until Dec. 11,” Panelo said.

Spectacular show
Considered the biggest in the 30-year history of the Southeast Asian Games this year’s staging of the biennial competition opens with a dazzling display of fireworks, dances, and performances at the sprawling Philippine Arena in Bulacan. 
“We are undaunted by the initial snafus in logistics which were unfortunately aggravated by the proliferation of fake news, as we commence with excitement—and hope for a historic milestone—in hosting the 30th SEA Games,” he added.

Some of the foreign athletes from 10 other participating nations experienced problems on transportation, accommodation, and food ahead of the formal opening of the Games at the Philippine Arena on Saturday.

On Friday night, President Duterte apologized for the inconvenience and assured the public that he would order an investigation into the possible negligence of Games’ organizers.

Panelo echoed the President’s remarks and guaranteed a fair probe.

“At any rate, we wish to reiterate the country’s apology for whatever inconvenience the athletes went through, as well as this administration’s commitment to probe whatever irregularities there were, if any, in the preparation of the event,” he said.

The Palace official said the Philippines would exhaust all means to ensure the successful hosting of the sports event, as well as to “showcase the culture and hospitality of the Filipinos but also to contribute in the strengthening of our friendship with our neighbors in the region.”

He also expressed hope that all the athletes would give their best.

“May this occasion, therefore, push the athletes and their support staff to generate into friendly competitive action their trainings and preparations, and realize the true value of sports even as they experience it through cooperation, understanding, and solidarity,” he said.

“We wish all participating athletes the best as they compete for honors for themselves and the countries they proudly represent,” Panelo added.

The threat of an approaching typhoon—weathermen said the weather disturbance would hit the north of the country next week—looms large.

Weathermen said Typhoon Kammuri—which is packing gusts of 185 kilometers per hour and maximum sustained winds of 150 kph—was heading right to the Games venues in the north of the country and was expected to make landfall on Tuesday.

As the build-up woes cast a shadow over the Games, Indonesia clinched the first gold medal of the competition with a historic victory, bringing Singapore’s 54-year stranglehold on the men’s water polo competition to an end.

With only sailing, windsurfing and netball on the sporting schedule on Saturday, all eyes were on the opening weekend ceremony. 

Spectacular show
Considered the biggest in the 30-year history of the Southeast Asian Games this year’s staging of the biennial competition opens with a dazzling display of fireworks, dances, and performances at the sprawling Philippine Arena in Bulacan. 
This year’s Games in Clark, Manila, and Subic, which run through to Dec. 11, are particularly complex with a record 56 sports across dozens of venues that are in some cases hours’ drives apart, even before Manila’s notorious gridlock traffic is factored in. 

The 2019 SEA Games is expected to be the largest in the biennial event’s history. It will feature 10 new events, including esports, skateboarding, and kurash, the Palace said.

“This event signals the official start of We are undaunted by the initial snafus in logistics which were unfortunately aggravated by the proliferation of fake news, as we commence with excitement—and hope for a historic milestone—in hosting the 30th SEA Games,” Panelo said.

“At any rate, we wish to reiterate the country’s apology for whatever inconvenience the athletes went through, as well as this Administration’s commitment to probe whatever irregularities there were, if any, in the preparation of the event,” he said.

“The Philippines took the challenge of hosting this event not only to showcase the culture and hospitality of the Filipinos but also to contribute in the strengthening of our friendship with our neighbors in the region,” Panelo said in a statement.

“May this occasion, therefore, push the athletes and their support staff to generate into friendly competitive action their trainings and preparations, and realize the true value of sports even as they experience it through cooperation, understanding, and solidarity,” he said.

The hosting rights were originally awarded to Brunei in 2012,  but the country pulled out days before the 2015 Southeast Asian Games due to “financial and logistical reasons.”

In July 2015, the Philippines agreed to host the Games after Brunei’s withdrawal. However, the Philippines’ hosting was left uncertain following the withdrawal of government support two years later as it planned to use the funds intended for the games for the rehabilitation of Marawi after being occupied by ISIS supporters. 

Thailand and Indonesia offered to host the games with the latter planning to reuse the venues used for the 2018 Asian Games. However, by Aug. 16, 2017, the Philippine government announced the reversal of the withdrawal and agreed to host the game.

“We wish all participating athletes the best as they compete for honors for themselves and the countries they proudly represent,” he added. 

Spectacular show

Phisgoc executive director Ramon Suzara said, “This will be the first time in SEA Games history that [the opening ceremonies] will be held indoors.” 

Duterte was seen on camera swaying to “Kay Ganda ng Musika”—popularized by Hajji Alejandro—while waving his hands as Filipino athletes were called to the stage for the parade of athletes. With PNA, AFP

READ: Palace deals SEAG organizers stinging rebuke

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Topics: 30th Southeast Asian Games , Floy Quintos , apl.de.ap , Rodrigo Duterte , Haji Hassanal Bolkiah
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