Build it and they will come.

The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Com­mittee, led by Chairman Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Sports Commission, under Chairman Butch Ramirez, and the Philippine Olympic Committee had put it together and built it from the ground up. Now they’re ready to hang a big Welcome sign.

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One of the major venues being constructed a few months ago at the New Clark City for the Southeast Asian Games.

The Philippine hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games has all the trimmings of becoming the biggest and most remarkable edition of the 11-country sportsfest.

With 11,000 athletes expected to see action, the Games will feature 56 sports and 530 events in three main venues – Clark, Subic and Metro Manila – which is the most number of disciplines in the history of the Games.

New Clark City (NCC), the first major sports complex being built by the govern­ment since the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in 1934, is the crowning jewel of the Games scheduled Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

Inside the NCC are the New Clark City Stadium, a 20,000-seat track and field oval certified as Class 1 facility by the standards of the International As­sociation of Athletic Federations (IAAF), and the New Clark City Aquatic Center, which has a 10-lane, 50-meter competi­tion pool and seats 2,000 spectators.

The Aquatic Center, certified by the Interna­tional Swimming Federation (FINA) as a Class 1 facility, will also have a platform dive pool and an eight-lane, 25-meter training pool.

Within the Clark Special Economic Zone, the NCC is a government land owned by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). Out of the 9,450 hectares, only 3,500 hectares are buildable, leaving 6,000 hectares or 60 percent of green and open spaces for upland farming and forest reserves.

Aside from the world-class venues, the NCC has to offer, 42 more competi­tions sites will be used for the Games.

Credit goes to the SM Mall of Asia, SM MOA Arena, SM Megamall, Filoil Flying V Center, Laus Group Events Center and Vermosa Sports Hub, to name a few, for their contribution for the success of the biennial meet that the Philippines will host for the fourth time.

Team Philippines brought the Games on home turf in 1981, 1991 and 2005, where Filipino athletes captured the overall title for the first time.

Among the new sports are arnis and E-sports, which will respond to the growing popularity of the discipline among the younger audience, not just in the Philippines but globally. E-sports, in particular, will offer six gold medals on various gaming platforms: PC, game console and mobile phone.

This year’s edition will have its opening ceremony at the 50,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, another first for the SEA Games since it will be held indoors.

Social media networks were abuzz with rumors of the involvement of international perform­ers, but Games Organizers offered no comment.

National artist architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa designed the 30th Southeast Asian Games cauldron which will carry the flame throughout the dura­tion of the Games. The cauldron was the last commissioned project of Mañosa before he passed away early this year.

Ryan Cayabyab, another national art­ist, is composing the theme song of the SEA Games.

“Our goal is to give the public a world-class sports spectacle,” said Ra­mon Suzara, chief operations officer of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Committee or PHISGOC. “We are working with the best of the best in the sports industry, from national artists to world-renowned games partners of the Olympics, to elevate the standards of the Southeast Asian Games and showcase the best of the Philippines.”

“This is our opportunity to put the Philippines on the sports map,” he added.

‘We Win As One’

Coined as part of the theme of the Games, “We Win As One” captures the resilient community spirit of Filipinos, according to Suzara.

“The Southeast Asian Games is more than a sports competition. It is a gather­ing of different peoples and cultures with one common goal – to unite nations and peoples regardless of race, religion or beliefs. A successful Southeast Asian Games can only be because of the entire Southeast Asia community uniting as one, and winning as one,” he added.

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