On the evening of Wednesday, the 30th Southeast Asian Games came to an end. As the sun went down, all athletes from host country the Philippines and their competition from the other ten SEA nations, plus their support teams and officials, all gathered at the Athletics Stadium of New Clark City to bear witness to the formal sendoff of the games. Already the excitement and anticipation was palpable due to advance knowledge that apl.de.ap was returning from the opening ceremony over a week ago to perform, with the Black Eyed Peas in tow. But there was more to the occasion.
As it turns out according to CNN Philippines, there were two Pinedas on the entertainment schedule for the 2019 SEA Games closing ceremony at New Clark City on December 11. Aside from Allan “apl” Pineda, there was also Arnel Pineda, current vocalist of long-running rock band Journey. He would sing the national anthem that night and then perform alongside rock band KO Jones in an initial musical number that showcased not only Arnel’s now-signature rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” but also an assortment of other tunes from Bon Jovi, Guns n Roses, and Queen.
Following Pineda and KO Jones’ set were a series of addresses from the top organizing officials of the SEA Games, although the most notable of the speakers would have to be from the chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) Alan Peter Cayetano. In between thanking the athletes (especially the Filipino ones) and talking about the essence of the SEA Games and similar multi-sports meets, the Speaker of the House could not help but dabble in political discourse and cliché lines. His rather long dedication to his wife at the end of his speech also raised eyebrows.
Next was the showcase presentation of the next SEA Games host country for 2021, Vietnam, which featured a vibrant traditional song and dance number. But the real treat has always been the closing musical set from the Black Eyed Peas. The core trio of apl.de.ap Pineda, will.i.am and Taboo took the stage and the athletic crowd by storm. Not only did they bust out their signature tunes, as expected they also performed their latest song “Ritmo,” sampled from “Rhythm of the Night” and part of the soundtrack for next year’s film “Bad Boys for Life.” They also took time to introduce their new fourth singer, “The Voice Philippines” season 1 contestant Jessica Reynoso, who is going by the nickname j.rey.soul.
The Philippines was in a super-jubilant mood at the conclusion of the 30th SEA Games, having outscored every other participating nation in medal count, with 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals total. Barring initial logistics issues and controversies the hosting of the country was also praised by the Olympic Council of Asia, encouraging the Philippines to bid for hosting the 2030 Asian Games.
Image courtesy of Manila Bulletin