Not that i’m exaggerating. But the 25th South-East Asian Games Opening Ceremonies is the best I’ve seen so far, live.
Last year when I found out that Vientiane will host the 25th SEA Games, I couldn’t care less. I mean, I didn’t even bother watching the Aquatics event in the 2005 games at Trace College Los Banos, so why should I join the clamor this year –and that getting a job here was not part of the plan. But hey, when I got here, I saw the board at Talat Sao that screamed 222 Days before the opening and boy, was I mesmerized.
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies ticket costs USD60. With that amount, I told my mom that it would not be worth all the fuss and hassle to get to the stadium and push our butts off in a sea of spectators. We totally dismissed the idea of getting those friggin expensive tickets. But my boss, with all her high-class glory and adventurous side, invited us to watch with her after we enjoyed the first football match. The stadium was so beautiful that time that we assumed it will be so much better in the Opening –and we were not disappointed.
It was the most gorgeous thing ever, being inside the stadium with screaming fans from all walks of life. Everything was right; the weather, the people, the spirit. It wasn’t raining and it was not scorching hot either. The queue was manageable. The guards and volunteers were nice and did not scare us away. You have a seat number that you can fight your way if ever someone took it. Thousands of performers were prepping outside the stadium, all-dolled up and ready. It was the Opening, indeed.
The program did not render the good ol’ boring speeches and other blah that puts the B in blah. It was short but entertaining. They started the show with a Lao choir singing this year’s theme songs; followed by the countdown to the opening. The countdown and all was quite cheesy, but the excitement was contagious, you’re left with no choice but to count along. And then the entrance of colors, with a full battalion of men carrying the national flags of Laos and the SEA Games. At last, the delegations emerged. They were all looking professional and pretty! I was cheering for Team Philippines and Team Laos all throughout. Although, I gotta say this. I was quite disappointed that TEAM RP didn’t don a little more formal attire. They were in their tracksuits and varsity-like jackets whereas with the other countries, men were in their coat and slacks and women were wearing skirts and blazers. But then again, who cares about the outfit (I do!).
Of course, with every opening event, there is the lighting of the torch. First, the torch was relayed from athlete to athlete. And then an archer in full Lao-royalty regalia entered the stadium. The final athlete who had the torch lit the archer’s arrow… and then he fired it towards the golden lotus structure. It was really cool!
The second half of the program composed of cultural dances in which various schools in Vientiane participated in. They pictured the environment and a bright future ahead for Laos. The colors, the vibe, the choreography were laudable. The lights were just as awesome and the music, well, it’s Lao –i love the drums and the bass!
And the best thing of all, the outrageously beautiful display of fireworks. I cannot even begin to explain how lovely they were. My memory card ran out of space so I only got to shoot a few, stupid me. But it was the best show I’ve seen my whole life. Seriously, I haven’t watched any Pyrotechnics competition, but even if I had, this show will definitely be on my list.
We all went home tired and starving but overwhelmed. I was humming the theme all night. It was infectious. What follows are the some of the photos I took during the event. I am so looking forward to the Closing, I bet it will kick the Opening’s ass.