Roads led to New Clark City on December 11, 2019, for the closing ceremonies of the 30th South East Asian Games.
The venue was packed with thousands of sports fans and enthusiasts off all ages—from toddlers to senior citizens—who wanted a last glimpse of the inspiring athletes and also enjoy the show featuring Arnel Pineda and the Black Eyed Peas, and produced by PHISGOC (Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee), Video Sonic, Stagecraft International Inc., and US-based live content creator FiveCurrents.
The festivities kicked off with the parade of athletes of the 11 nations that comprise the ASEAN Federation.
The 2019 SEA Games volunteers and work force were also given recognition. As they marched towards the stage, they were greeted by a medley of rock songs performed by Arnel Pineda and KO Jones, and a fireworks display. Prior, the video of the song “Who We Are” sung by Sarah Geronimo was played on the big screens. This song was especially made as a tribute to the more than 5,000 volunteers who shared their time and talent for the country’s fourth hosting of the biennial meet.
Another highlight was the drone show wherein unmanned aerial vehicles flew in coordinated fashion to produce different images: a bird, the Philippine flag, a swimmer, cyclist, sprinter, the 30th SEA Games logo, a flower before finally forming into the words of the slogan, “We Win As One.” The drone display was one of the special touches conceptualized by young director Paolo Valenciano who was in charge of the show.
Swimmers Quah Zheng Wen of Singapore, and Nguyen Thi Anh Vien of Vietnam were named Male Mega Athlete and Female Mega Athlete, respectively. Each won six gold and two silver medals.
Roger Casugay, the Filipino surfer who helped fellow surfer and rival, Indonesian Arip Nurhidayat during the competition in La Union, was honored for his heroism and given the Fair Play Award.
The federation flag was formally handed over to the President of the Olympic Committee and Deputy Chair of the Hanoi People’s Committee of Vietnam who will be the host country of the 2021 SEA Games. The acceptance was capped with cultural presentation that showcased songs, dances, and traditional musical instruments of Vietnam.
The much-awaited closing ceremonies’ finale was a mini-concert of the Black Eyed Peas led by the group’s frontman, Filipino apl.de.ap. The audience grooved to the band’s songs sung by apl, Taboo, will.i.am, and Laguna-born Jessica Reynoso (a.k.a. J. Ray Soul) whom apl discovered on “The Voice Philippines Season 1.” The audience sang and danced along to well-loved BEP hits like “Bebot,” “Ritmo,” “The Time,” “Where Is The Love?” and “I Gotta Feeling.” Apl dedicated their performance to the Filipino athletes, the Filipinos in the Philippines, as well as the Filipino overseas workers who are toiling in different parts of the world.
Several fireworks displays punctuated the 90-minute program that left the spectators feeling good and in awe.