Caloy torch bearer, Pacman to light flame
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Organizers of the 30th SEA Games are trying to build the excitement heading to the grand opening ceremony on Nov. 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

When the Games officially begin before the thousands that will gather at the swanky arena, the SEA Games flame will be lit 80 kms away at the New Clark City main stadium in Capas, Tarlac.

World champion Carlos Yulo of gymnastics, based on initial plans, will carry the torch and hand it over to boxing icon and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who will then light the cauldron, 50 meters high and costing P55 million.

How exactly things will be done, according to Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee chairman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, is for everybody to find out on the day itself.

“That’s part of the surprise,” said Cayetano, who merely confirmed before the media the participation of the 40-year-old Pacquiao, undeniably the greatest Filipino athlete that ever lived.

“But I can confirm to you that he (Pacquiao) will be there. He has a role as one of the most known Filipino sports icons in the world. It will be selling the country short if he’s not there,” Cayetano added.

Even Pacquiao’s lips are sealed as to the extent of his participation or how he would light the cauldron, which will burn for 11 days.

But it’s not the first time that Pacquiao will play a key role in a multi-nation event. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he played the role of the Philippine flag bearer in the opening ceremony.

“It’s a great honor,” said Pacquiao then.

This time, five Filipino athletes will carry the flag in the opening rites. They are pole vaulter EJ Obiena, jiujitsu artist Meggie Ochoa, boxer Eumir Felix Marcial, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.

The opening ceremony to this SEA Games is tipped to be the best ever to be staged in the history of the biennial event.

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