Hosted by the Philippines, the 2019 Southeast Asian Games was surrounded by controversies days before it officially started. But after its opening ceremony on November 30, 2019, the 30th edition of the biennial regional multi-sport event received much positive feedback.
The Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines served as the venue of the SEA Games 2019 opening ceremony. The huge event showcased how powerful the host country is not only in sports but also in music and beauty pageants.
As the torchbearer, Manny Pacquiao lit the cauldron at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac with fellow boxing champion Nesthy Petecio in a pre-taped video. During the live grand opening at the Philippine Arena, the SEA Games Federation flag was carried by Philippine sports legends namely track and field star and eight-year Asia’s fastest woman Lydia de Vega, seven-time SEA Games swimming gold medalist Akiko Thomson-Guevarra, 15-time SEA Games swimming gold medalist Eric Buhain, four-time Philippine Basketball Association MVP and SEA Games gold medalist Alvin Patrimonio, four-time bowling world champion Bong Coo, four-time world eight-ball billiards champion Efren “Bata” Reyes, two-time SEA Games gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco and six-time bowling world champion Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno.
World-class Filipino musicians performed the official SEA Games 2019 theme song titled “We Win as One,” which was composed by Ryan Cayabyab and originally sang by Lea Salonga. The performers were Allan “apl.de.ap” Pineda Lindo, 44, of The Black Eyed Peas, Lani Misalucha, 50, Jed Madela, 42, Christian Bautista, 38, KZ Tandingan, 27, Aicelle Santos, 34, Elmo Magalona, 25, Iñigo Pascual, 22, Ana Fegi, 42, Robert Seña, 50, and the TNT Boys Keifer Sanchez, 14, Mackie Empuerto, 14, and Francis Concepcion, 13.
Crowned beauty queens from the Philippines served as the muses of the participating countries during the parade of nations. They were Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman for Brunei Darussalam, Miss Multinational 2018 Sophia Senoron for Cambodia, Miss World 2013 Megan Young for Indonesia, Miss Eco International 2018 Cynthia Thomalla for Laos, Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman for Malaysia, Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco for Myanmar, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach for the Philippines, Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell for Singapore, Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong for Thailand, Miss Tourism International 2017 Jannie Alipo-on for Timor Leste and Miss Asia Pacific International 2019 Sharifa Akeel for Vietnam.
Watch the SEA Games 2019 opening ceremony here: