CAPAS, Tarlac -- The Philippines formally closed the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium.
In an ode to athletes, backers and supporters of the biggest and most diverse SEA Games to date, the hosts pulled out all the stops in the meet's curtain call staged in front of an estimated 15,000 people.
The Aeta Festival Dancers of Porac and The Manila Concert Choir opened with a slew of dance and song numbers before Arnel Pineda led the singing of the Philippine national anthem.
In line with Games tradition, awards were later handed out to the best individual performers of their respective sports.
A pair of swimmers were cited for their excellence and dominance, with Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen and Vietnam's Thi Anh Vien Nguyen given the Male and Female Mega Athletes awards after snagging six golds and two silvers in their respective divisions.
Surfer Roger Casugay, who was hailed a hero for saving an Indonesian competitor in the sport's final, was also given the Games' first ever Fair Play Award.
"We also celebrate with all the athletes. Each and every athlete, thank you for coming to the Philippines. Thank you for your sportsmanship. Coaches, trainers, athletes, thank you," said Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizational Committee chairman Alan Peter Cayetano.
"We celebrate the bronze medal, the silver medals, the gold medals, but most of all, we celebrate each other. We celebrate sports, but we also celebrate our people. We celebrate our culture, our arts as Southeast Asians," he added. "All of you athletes who inspired us, who made us proud, do not underestimate the impact you made in our lives because you made us better people."
In all, a total of 530 events across 56 events were held with rousing success, with the Philippines bagging 387 medals (149 golds, 117 silvers, and 121 bronzes) -- the biggest haul ever by any country so far.
"This year, Christmas has come early. We Southeast Asians, we Filipinos have shown the world that we can do it. At hindi lang natin kaya -- we will do it with world-class quality," said Cayetano. "This is the first SEA Games that adapted a higher standard -- the standard of Asian Games."
In his speech, Cayetano took a shot at the government's critics while sharing some of the administration's plans for Philippine sports, some of which include a national high school for sports, a bid for the 2030 Asian Games, a well-funded grassroots program, and an added 120-million peso funding for delegates to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, among others.
"For those of you who did not believe," said Cayetano, "ang masasabi ko sa inyo -- at ito itaga niyo sa bato -- peace be with you."
"Today, we celebrate a win -- a win that we won as one," he added. "We close these Games today, but let me tell all the coaches, parents, trainers, athletes: we have only just begun."
Hosting of the Games have also been passed to 2019 runner-up Vietnam (96 gold, 85 silver, and 104 bronze medals), which received the responsibilities with a glamorous cultural performance.
Filipino rapper apl.de.ap and the Black Eyed Peas later punctuated the lively ceremonies by treating attendees to a concert.