(Eagle News) — The best of Philippine culture will be showcased through spectacular performances at the historic opening of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena on Nov. 30.
With the theme, “We Win as One,” the SEA Games opener will be a collaboration of the Philippine team and a foreign group — the Emmy-award winning live content creator FiveCurrents – which will be directing and supervising the production numbers of various Philippine artists, production companies, youth groups and different organizations that will highlight the Filipino spirit of “Bayanihan.”
The opening ceremonies at the Philippine Arena — previously adjudged as the largest mixed-use indoor theater by the Guinness Record — will also be the first-ever indoor opening event for SEA Games. For the first time, state-of-the-art digital technology will be used, according to Ramon “Tats” Suzara, chief operating officer of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).
“These are new technologies that never happened before. Lahat ng opening ceremonies natin dati puro outdoor so this will be the first time that we will be doing this indoors in the history of the SEA Games,” Suzara said.
“And we are doing a digital-type of opening ceremony,” he added as another unique feature of the 30th SEA Games opening ceremonies at the Philippine Arena.
The presentation of Filipino culture at its best will be led and supervised by the Philippine team-up of Palanca award-winning writer Floy Quintos and national artist for music maestro Ryan Cayabyab, collaborating with Libby Hyland of FiveCurrents who has had experience in various opening ceremonies of international sports events.
“You will feel so proud because it is seen through a different eye. Yun yung maganda sa collaboration, I think, ng Filipino team at ng foreign team. Ang ganda ng collaboration namin because they’re teaching us to see it (Philippine culture) through a different eye,” Quintos said.
“Pero yung root material, yung sayaw, yung ritwal, atin pa rin,” he noted.
Libby Hyland has had previous experience in handling such events, including the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
The other events Hyland had handled also included the ceremonies for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Clinton Global Initiative 2006-2010, Rio 2007 Pan American Games Ceremonies, Super Bowl Saturday Night, 2009 SportAccord Opening Ceremony, Rio 2016 Olympic Bid, Rio Reveillon 2010 and LiveCity Vancouver 2010.
But Hyland said that this SEA Games opening on November 30 at the mammoth Philippine Arena can be considered as the highlight of her career.
“I’ve been around the world with a lot of different ceremonies and I think, you know, I can honestly say this is the highlight of my career. You have such a deep and rich and beautiful culture,” Hyland told members of the media on Thursday.
The SEA Games opening ceremonies, which will last for about 90 minutes, will be set up against the backdrop of a 15×38 meter LED screen mimicking a bamboo background.
–World-class venue, world-class opening ceremonies-
“This is a world class venue. So tutumbasan rin po natin ng world class opening ceremonies,” said House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano who also serves as the PHISGOC chairman.
To perform at the SEA Games opening on Nov. 30 are notable artists led by Filipino-American rapper Allan Pineda, more popularly known as apl.de.ap of the group Black Eyed Peas, Lani Misalucha, Christian Bautista, Aicelle Santos, Jed Madela, Elmo Magalona, KZ Tandingan, Iñigo Pascual, the TNT Boys, Ana Fegi, and Robert Seña
There are four main categories of Philippine culture which will be tackled in the SEA Games opening ceremonies: indigenous, Hispanic, folk, and contemporary street and pop culture.
Hundreds of members of folk dance company Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, including college students from different schools in Metro Manila, will also perform various dances of several ethnic groups from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
All the performers will be wearing elaborate costumes designed by Eric Pineda, including the gowns to be worn by the 11 Filipina beauty queens who will escort the 11 countries participating in the Games.
The beauty queens headed by 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach and 2013 Miss World Megan Young will be wearing gowns made from 11 unique indigenous weaves or materials from the country’s different regions.
Filipino teenager Carlos Edriel Yulo who made history as the first Filipino to win a gold medal at the world gymnastics in Stuttgart, Germany will light the SEA Games cauldron located at the New Clark City Stadium in Tarlac, while six other Filipino athletes who also brought honor to the country will be the flagbearers for the SEA Games.
The Philippine flagbearers include Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), world champions Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial (boxing), EJ Obiena (pole vault), Margie Didal (skateboarding), and Kiyomi Watanabe (judo)
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to attend the elaborate SEA Games opening ceremonies at the Philippine Arena.
(Eagle News Service)