By Jean Malanum
MANILA – Alyssa Valdez will again carry the country’s colors during the parade of athletes of the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony on Friday at the 60,000-seat Morodok Techo Stadium in Phnom Penh.
Excellent choice for a Team Philippines that will do an unprecedented in SEA Games history — field a female-dominated representation in the parade of nations that serves as one of the highlights of the opening ceremony for Cambodia’s first-time hosting of the biennial Games.
“Alyssa best fits our goal of an almost all-female delegation in the opening ceremony,” Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Tuesday. “She’s not only the face of Philippine volleyball, but Philippine sports as well.”
Valdez will fly to Phnom Penh on Friday instead of the Saturday flight schedule of the women’s national volleyball team.
“It’s such an honor to be the flag bearer for this year’s SEA games. It’s a big responsibility but I’m grateful for the trust given to me once again,” said Valdez, who was also the country’s flag bearer in the Singapore 2015 Games. “I first had the opportunity to carry our Philippine flag in 2015 in Singapore and it was an unforgettable experience.”
“I share this with all the women in sports who brought honor and glory to the country,” added Valdez, one of the most recognizable faces in Philippine sports whose following on social media is bursting at the seams.
Tolentino and chef de mission Chito Loyzaga are the only men who will join the parade.
“This is a first in SEA Games history,” said Tolentino referring to the female-dominated contingent.
The parade participants will be wearing Francis Libiran-designed white barongs over black pants.
Fashion icon Libiran named his barong creation for the 32nd SEA Games “Araw.”
The Francis Libiran Araw Barong Tagalog is made out of Philippine jusi fabric and materials and features an intricate embroidery of the Philippine flag.
The hues of blue overlap a small bed of red as the sun and its rays encompass the entirety of the sash to truly represent every Filipino, showing off their liberty, peace and valor.
Libiran also designed the barong worn by Filipino athletes in the 2019 Philippine SEA Games as well as last year in Hanoi where he named his masterpiece “Agila” that had intricate embroidery with an art deco of the Philippine eagle.
The Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee limited to 50 the number of athletes for each nation for the traditional parade of athletes. (PR)