Philippine music icon apl.de.ap, whose real name is Allan Pineda Lindo, will perform in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games later this year.
"I grew up in Sapang Bato (in Angeles, Pampanga), and I remember when it wasn't pavement yet, now, it's like a stadium in my hometown, you know? And I hope that this will inspire athletes, the next generation of athletes," said Lindo.
Just a stone's throw away from his former home, the adjacent Clark Freeport and Economic Zone will be one of the major venues of the biennial sporting meet.
The 44-year-old musician and producer will be headlining the Bonifacio Day opening ceremony at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
"I was approached by a friend doing the Opening Ceremony, and I'm always proud of representing my country so you know, it was unconditional. To be a part of it so I'm really proud and excited about it," said Pineda.
He added that he is collaborating with Maestro Ryan Cayabyab on a 12-minute long Filipino-inspired performance, which will mix the beats of the Black Eyed Peas with traditional Filipino instruments and orchestral accompaniment.
"I wanna make it massive. I wanna make it have an orchestra, strings, kulintangs and traditional Filipino dancing. Dancing, remixing the apl's song with traditional form," he said.
It will be the first time that the opening ceremonies of the SEA Games will be held indoors since its inception in 1956. The previous time it was held in Manila, it was staged at the Quirino Grandstand.
He also revealed that he will be joined by Black Eyed Peas groupmates will.i.am, Taboo, and Pinay singer Jessica Reynoso for the closing ceremonies on December 11 at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac.
Pineda wants to watch most of the 56 sports, and hopes his fellow countrymen will also come out and support the national athletes.
"To all our Filipino athletes, I just wanna wish you good luck and I'm proud of you guys in representing the country," he said. "Everyone should attend the events. The [Athletics Stadium] holds 20,000 so let's fill it up."
Pledge of support
Meanwhile, Pineda also signed a pledge of support to formally recognize his role in promoting the event and to perform.
He signed it in presence of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino, Chairman Steve Hontiveros, Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee COO Ramon Suzara, and Philippine Sports Commissioners Ramon Fernandez and Arnold Agustin.
Cayetano also revealed that the ceremonies may also feature artists from the 11 participating nations, pending negotiations.
As the 100-day countdown for the SEA Games begins August 21, Cayetano bared that 250 swimmers will test the waters at the newly-built Aquatics Center in NCC next week.
"As far as the venues are concerned, things are in order," said Cayetano.
The Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila and the PhilSports Arena in Pasig, two of the competition venues for the Games, will be finished by October 15, said Agustin.