In a historic first, Pinay athletes will lead the parade of nations of the opening ceremony of the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
“This will be a first in SEA Games history as Team Philippines will be represented by an all-women delegation in the parade,” said Philippine Olympic Committee President Bambol Tolentino on April 28.
A total of 50 Filipina athletes will appear in the parade, in accordance with the limit set by the Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee.
Only three men will join the female athletes: Tolentino, Chef de Mission Chito Loyzaga, and the flag bearer whose identity will be revealed days ahead of the ceremony.
Everybody will wear barong tagalog made by renowned fashion designer Francis Libiran.
Named "Araw," the barong is made of Philippine jusi fabric and materials. It also has an intricate embroidery of the Philippine flag, with hues of blue overlaping a small bed of red as the sun and its rays encompass the entirety of the sash. These elements, according to Libiran, truly represent every Filipino as they show off their liberty, peace, and valor.
Libiran was also behind the outfits the national delegates wore during the 2019 Philippine SEA Games and the 2022 Vietnam SEA Games. The latter's design featured the national bird, the Philippine eagle, and was dubbed "Agila."
This year's biennial meet will be held from May 5 to 17. Over 1,100 delegates will represent the Philippines, which finished fourth place in last year's Vietnam-hosted edition with 227 medals—52 golds, 70 silvers, 105 bronzes.