Date : 01 Dec 2019
Manila, Philippines, November 30, 2019: President Rodrigo Duterte and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao were the central figures in the official opening of the 30th South East Asian Games in the Philippines on Saturday night.
The opening ceremony, presided over by President Duterte, took place at the indoor Philippine Arena in Bocaue, 30km north of Manila, while Pacquiao lit the cauldron at New Clark City – hub of the SEA Games further north in Pampanga province.
The Philippines welcomed thousands of competitors from 11 National Olympic Committees to compete in 56 sports through to December 11.
“I declare open the SEA Games for the 30th time, celebrating the games of Southeast Asia," the president said in English, before welcoming visitors in Filipino.
Boxer-turned-senator Pacquiao -- one of the greatest ever fighters -- appeared right at the end of the 100-minute show to ignite the Games cauldron in Clark.
The opening ceremony kicked off with a medley of vibrant routines set to traditional folk music, followed by the parade of athletes.
The loudest cheer of the night came when Duterte -- sitting alongside the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah -- was seen dancing and clapping along to the Philippine team's parade music, the iconic song "Manila" by Hotdog.
There were musical performances from apl.de.ap, the Filipino-American rapper best known for being in hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas, local crooner Robert Sena and the Philippines national anthem was sung by Lani Misalucha, known as "Asia's Nightingale".
The focus now switches to the 56 sports on the biggest programme in SEA Games history, with competition at 44 venues including New Clark City, Metro Manila, Subic Bay and Tagaytay.
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