After a dominant two weeks the Philippines has finished the 30th edition of the SEA Games with a haul of 149 gold medals, 117 silvers, and 121 bronze. Taking a shocking 23 medals on day 1, the Philippines managed to surpass their totals from the last SEA Games in the first few days of the bi-annual event.
The opening ceremony began the festivities with performances from Filipino artists such as Apl. De. Ap (from the Black Eyed Peas), Lani Misalucha, Christian Bautista, and Jed Madela. Fivecurrents, the creatives behind the 2012 London Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, are also in charge of the ceremonies for the SEA Games.
The day one dominance began with John Chicano and Kim Mangrobang taking gold in triathlon and continued with Carlos Yulo winning his gold, his first of seven medals. Ten gold medals were also won by the Philippines in dance-sport on day 1. The first days of the Games were also the debut of 3×3 basketball, with Gilas Pilipinas taking both men’s and women’s gold.
Hidilyn Diaz continued to impress on the road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after taking her first SEA Games gold. Diaz won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics after becoming the first Filipino weightlifter to compete in the Olympics in 2008.
Diaz was present at the Philippine International Convention Center and cheered her countrymen as the Philippine boxing team snagged seven golds and three silvers on the final day of the boxing competitions. The Philippines’ Taekwondo athletes also scored big with an amazing eight gold medals to go along with nine silvers and four bronze medals.
The most inspirational story of the games was that of Roger Casogay, the Filipino surfer who gave up his chance at the gold to save an Indonesian surfer who had broken his ankle leash, meant to secure him to his longboard. The surfer was swept away before Casogay abandoned the race to save his competitor. Casogay was later thanked by the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo.
The finale of the games took place at the Mall of Asia Arena with the Gilas Pilipinas 5×5 teams both taking gold in front of a reported attendance of over 12,000 screaming fans. The double gold capped the dominant runs of both teams and brought the Philippines’ basketball medal total to four golds.