7 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies (November 30)
MANILA, Philippines – This is it!
Rocked by preparation issues and threatened by an upcoming storm named Tisoy, host Philippines formally rolls the red carpet at 7 p.m. Saturday (30 November 2019) to welcome guests and athletes of members countries into the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena and in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Inclement weather Tisoy is forecast says state weather bureau Pagasa but that could even be the least to worry about for the thousands of athletes, delegates, sports dignitaries and local government officials led by President Duterte as they fill the all-weather, cavernous arena as well as those attending in Tarlac.
By tradition, President Duterte is the guest of honor and guest speaker in the elaborate opening ceremony on which Philippine Sports Commission chair and SEAG Chef-of-Mission Butch Ramirez is also expected to attend along with Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chief and House Speaker Taguig Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano, PSC Commissioners Dr. Celia Kiram, Arnold Agustin, Ramon Fernandez at Charles Maxey.
POC officials led by president Bambol Tolentino is also expected to grace the ceremony along with a long list of Philippine sports dignitaries.
Indeed, the whole country could truly be tuned-in into the much-awaited opening spectacle which fittingly, coincides with the birth date of the country’s revolutionary hero Gat. Andres Bonifacio.
The Philippines has chosen “We Win As One” as credo and it will be best exemplified by the Filipino’s aspiration to be united in victory and defeat and efforts for the successful staging of the Games.
Prominent and celebrated artists, production companies, youth groups, and many other organizations have joined hands for the success of the opening ceremonies at the huge 55,000-seater Philippine Arena.
It will be a mix of an exposition of Filipino culture, contemporary music and dance, and a testament to the collaboration of great talents.
The opening extravaganza includes Palanca-award winning writer Floy Quintos, National Artist for Music and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, US-based, Emmy-award winning live content creator FiveCurrents, and Filipino companies Video Sonic and Stage Craft International Inc.
Courtesy of the PSC, POC and Phisgoc, homegrown acclaimed singers Lani Misalucha, Christian Bautista, Aicelle Santos, Jed Madela, Elmo Magalona, KZ Tandingan, Iñigo Pascual, The TNT Boys, Ana Fegi, and Robert Seña, and international rap artist Apl d Ap will also be on hand to share their talents.
Unfortunately, singer Lea Salonga, who was slated to sing the We Win As One theme, begged off from joining due to conflict over her Sweeny Todd engagement abroad.
“This year’s opening ceremonies are envisioned as a showcase of the enduring aspects of Philippine traditional and contemporary culture,” explains Floy Quintos who is creative director of the opening rites.
Hectic sked of competitions
And shortly after the opening ceremony, Team PH will immediately plunge into action in 17 different sports events, carrying a chance of racking up 20 golds in the first official day Sunday (01 December 2019) of competitions in the 30th edition of the biennial meet.
On Sunday, the first gold medal in triathlon and cycling are also up for grabs at sunrise.
PHISGOC Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano has announced that he hopes to see not only the region but the rest of the world the Filipino talent in sports and opening show that’s comparable to the previous Olympics.
“We encourage everyone to watch, see and also experience this once in a lifetime performance of our talents. It will showcase to the whole region, and the world also, that we Filipinos are world-class talent and performers,” he said.
Filipino sports heroes Lydia De Vega-Mercado, Elma Muros-Posadas, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, Leopoldo Serrantes, Olivia “Bong” Coo and Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno will lead the traditional Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) flag-raising parade.
Six national athletes namely: Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, Margielyn Didal, Kiyomi Watanabe, Margaret Ochoa, Eumir Felix Marcial and 2016 Rio De Janeiro silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz are expected to carry the Philippine flag.
World women’s boxing champion Nesthy Petecio will serve as the torch runner before giving the torch to 8-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who will light the symbolic and controversial P50M cauldron that will remain burning throughout 11 days of competitions in 56 different sports and 530 tournament categories.
The torchlight was initially slated for former World Gymnastics gold medalist Carlos “Edriel” Yulo but the athlete begged off as he is set to go into action the following day in gymnastics where he is anticipated to win the gold medal.
Aside from gymnastics, Filipino athletes also have assignments Sunday in arnis, 3×3 basketball, chess, cycling, dancesport, ice hockey, lawn bowls, sepak takraw, shooting, squash, lawn tennis, triathlon, kurash (wrestling), weightlifting and wushu.
The first women’s triathlon will be held at 6 a.m. on December 1 followed by the men’s division, with eight gold medals at stake in the finals. Five golds were placed in kurash while 10 were in dancesport. (LO/Chris Figueroa/IAMIGO/CNS)