SEA Games Hosted By

The Philippines Throughout The


by Anne Marielle Eugenio, December 10, 2019 8:35am

Art by Ahl Mirambel


SEA Games Hosted By The Philippines Throughout The Years

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, December 10, 2019 8:35am
Art by Ahl Mirambel

SEA Games is a biennial multi-sport event composed of 11 nations from the Southeast. Throughout the years, it has been held across Southeast Asian countries except for Cambodia and East Timor. We are no strangers when it comes to hosting this event. In fact, the 30th SEA Games is the fourth time our country hosted SEA Games.

Our hosting went off with a rocky start—issues about food, logistics, and all—but progressed to a grand opening ceremony at the Philippine Arena. We wouldn’t want to say the country made it even with the glamorous entrance, but it did depict the country’s rich culture and traditions.

This year’s SEA Games, which runs from November 30 to December 11, 2019, created a buzz among the nations, both in a negative and positive way. How did our past hostings go? Let’s take a look back.

11th Southeast Asian Games
December 6 - December 15, 1981

The Philippines first hosted SEA Games back in 1981 when Ferdinand Marcos was still in office. The late president opened the ceremony at the Rizal Memorial Stadium and Benjamin Silva-Netto, first Filipino to compete in a marathon at the Summer Olympics, lit the cauldron.

It was then when names like Paeng Nepomuceno (bowling), Lydia de Vega (track and field), and Elma Muros (heptathlon) rose to prominence. The Philippines won 187 medals (55 gold, 55 silver, and 77 bronze). We placed third overall after Indonesia and Thailand.

16th Southeast Asian Games
November 24 - December 3, 1991

Late former president Corazon Aquino opened the 16th SEA Games at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. This particular event featured the first official SEA Games mascot, a colorful fighting cock named Kiko Labuyo.

Onyok Velasco brought eight gold medals for boxing and the other medals came from sports like swimming, shooting, and wushu. By the end of the game, the Philippines placed second overall after Indonesia.

23rd Southeast Asian Games
November 27 to December 5, 2005

For the Philippines’ third time to host the SEA Games, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo opened the ceremonies in the Quirino Grandstand. This season’s logo is a special one as it features a gold festival mask inspired by the MassKara Festival of Bacolod. 

This particular edition earned the Philippines 112 gold medals, 85 silver, and 93 bronze—290 in total. This is one of the most memorable SEA Games as the Philippines emerged as the overall champion.

Our performance, whether as a host or an athlete, is the pride of our country. Hosting the SEA Games is one way to showcase the Filipino culture across the nations, showing that we take pride in the Philippines and our talent in sports.


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