Artists perform at the opening ceremony of the SEA Games at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan province, north of Manila on November 30. AFP/VNA Photo
BULACAN — A grandiose opening ceremony for the 30th Southeast Asian Games was promised in the lead up to the regional sports showcase.
Spectators weren’t left disappointed as they were treated to a show that featured some of the best Filipino talents showcasing the rich Filipino culture.
Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group as well as student performers from different colleges and universities giving spectators including President Duterte an entertaining show here at the opening ceremony.
Among those spectators were President Rodrigo Duterte and Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah.
No less than Duterte himself announced the official start of the biennial meet, which is considered the biggest SEA Games ever with 56 sports.
The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and student performers from different colleges and universities opened a night of entertainment and festivities with a variety of folk dances including the Tinikling.
Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the SEA Games at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan province, north of Manila on November 30. AFP/VNA Photo
The parade of athletes from the participating nations also featured 11 beauty queens including Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, who led the way for the 1,868 Filipino athletes and officials during the march.
The large Filipino crowd filling up the 55,000-seater venue cheered and sang along to “Manila” as the Philippine delegation made its way to the stage.
World boxing champions Manny Pacquiao and Nesthy Petecio led the lighting of the cauldron at New Clark City, which was shown on the LED screen.
Although prerecorded, the lighting of the cauldron and the lavish firework ceremony that followed still drew loud cheers from the crowd.
Lani Misalucha set the tone when she belted out a powerful rendition of the country’s national anthem.
Filipino-American rapper apl.de.ap also performed along with local artists KZ Tandingan and Iñigo Pascual.
It is the first time in the 60-year history of the regional meet that the opening show is held indoors, taking place in the world's largest indoor arena with a 55,000 seating capacity.
Athletes and officials march during the opening ceremony of the SEA Games at the Philippine arena in Bocaue, Bulacan province, north of Manila on November 30. AFP/VNA Photo
Việt Nam set a goal to finish in the top three of the SEA Games’ medal table. The 856-strong contingent including 568 athletes will take part in 43 out of 56 sports in the Philippines.
After months of preparation, athletes will try their best to win at least 65 gold to be one of the top three teams. Vietnamese athletes will work hard to keep No 1 ranking as well as good results in track-and-field, swimming, gymnastics, fencing and wrestling, which are also Olympic events.
Việt Nam sports delegation at the SEA Games’ opening ceremony. VNA/VNS Photo
Trần Đức Phấn, head of the delegation and deputy head of the Việt Nam Sports Administration, said all athletes were ready and determined to do their best at the regional biennial event: “We are all ready for the competition. We are always aware of our task to do our best to be deserved with people’s love. After months of preparation, we - athletes, coaches and supporting staff - are ready, confident and can’t wait to compete at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines. We know that challenges and difficulties are waiting ahead but we will try our best to win at least 65 gold to be one of top three teams”.
Fencer Vũ Thành An holds the national flag at the SEA Games’ opening ceremony. VNA/VNS Photo
The SEA Games is a multi-sport event involving participants from the eleven countries of South-East Asia – the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Việt Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Timor-Leste, Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and Singapore.
Held once every two years, the SEA Games 2019 hosted by the Philippines is the 30th edition of the Games. – The Philippine Inquirer/VNS