DESPITE the initial criticisms prior to the start of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, without a doubt, the opening of the international sports event was a memorable one.
From the colorful outfits of the performers, intricate choreography, stunning visuals of the LED backdrop and the lighting, we have to commend the whole team of Floy Quintos, creative director of the 30th SEA Games opening ceremonies and a Palanca-award winning playwright, for staging such a grand opening.
In a Facebook posted on Novemeber 29, Quintos said the SEA Games Opening Ceremony is "a chance to showcase aspects of our culture that many modern Filipinos know little about or take for granted."
"I felt very strongly that the show should be inclusive of our Animist, Islamic and Pre-Hispanic peoples. All three represented in a series of warrior dances that trace the vigor, physicality and skill that is in the DNA of every great Filipino athlete," Quintos said.
From the entrance of Brunei to the entry of the Philippine athletes, joy and pride was etched on the faces of the athletes representing the 11 nations of Southeast Asia.
On that night, Filipinos took pride of how magnificent the opening ceremony was and how it was able to weave in the different aspects of our country.
However, the opening ceremony also had its hiccups.
When the song "Manila" by the Hotdog played during one segment of the opening ceremony, it drew mixed reactions from Filipinos.
While some enjoyed the song for its beat and the nostalgia it brings, some say that it does not truly represent the Philippines.
Some pointed out that Philippines is not only about Manila, despite that it is the capital. Others said "Pinoy Ako" by Orange and Lemons or "Noypi" by Bamboo would have been better options.
The speech of Senator Allan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chair, also drew mixed reactions.
There were also attempts by some critics of the government to cast shadow over the event with their bitter tweets and statements on social media. Some even called the opening a "perya", a local version of an amusement fair.
Despite these not so "savory" portions of the opening ceremony, the high points of the event shined brighter.
Whether it is President Rodrigo R. Duterte adorably dancing to the music and waving to the athletes like a grandfather, the solo dance number of the sarimanok, the performance of apl.de.ap, the country's top athletes carrying the flag, the lighting of the cauldron by two boxing greats Senator Manny Pacquiao and Nesthy Petecio, or the fireworks display, the opening of the 30th SEA Games on Saturday evening is one to be remembered.
Congratulations to the director of the opening ceremony and every performer who shared their talents for the world to see. That opening ceremony was a win for the Filipinos.