'Manila' song choice for SEA Games opening 'not exclusionist': director

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2019 09:31 AM | Updated as of Dec 03 2019 09:42 AM

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MANILA - The entrance song of the Philippine team in the 30th Southeast Asian Games' opening ceremony was not "exclusionist," the show's creative director said Tuesday following criticism from the President's daughter.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte earlier questioned why organizers chose a song named after the Philippine capital, when there are athletes who hailed from other parts of the country.

Floy Quintos, a Palanca-award winning playwright, said they just "needed a song everyone could sing."

"There’s nothing political or exclusionist about it. The program from the very beginning strove for nothing but inclusion," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"The objective was for the whole arena to be singing as the Filipino team entered."

Quintos said he wanted the show to be "inclusive of as many Filipino people as possible" which was why the opening number had featured warrior dances from the Bagobo, Kalinga, Maranao, and arnis which then transitioned to colonial folk dance La Jota Manileña.

He, however, denied claims that the show trivialized the struggle of the indigenous peoples.

"As a cultural worker who's been documenting a lot of traditional art forms, I know there’s a very, very thin line when you appropriate culture and change it for a spectacle like this," he said.

"It’s a spectacle but if I can put their identities out there for just 2 minutes each, it’s an homage to the resilience of these people. If you can shine a spotlight on that and make them feel included in the national agenda I think we’ve done more than just entertain."

Quintos said the show united the Filipino people "if only for a moment."

"That was the aim of the spectacle. The aim of any national event that brings us together is valid at this point. Given the way the SEA Games has gotten off to a rocky start, that was the greatest pressure for us. Kung pumalpak tayo dito, that's it," he said.

"A lot of people are saying we saved it. But of course right now, I don't really like to think about that. It’s team effort, it was for the nation."

2019 SEA Games