Alyssa Valdez, one of the most recognizable faces in Philippine sports, will once again carry the country's colors during the parade of athletes at the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony on Friday.
This year's Games is Cambodia's first-time hosting of the biennial event, and Team Philippines is set to make history by fielding a female-dominated representation in the parade of nations.
Valdez is an excellent choice as the flag bearer for Team Philippines, as she not only represents Philippine volleyball but also Philippine sports as a whole.
"Alyssa best fits our goal of an almost all-female delegation in the opening ceremony," said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino. Valdez is grateful for the trust given to her and sees it as a big responsibility.
"I first had the opportunity to carry our Philippine flag in 2015 in Singapore, and it was an unforgettable experience," the multiple time PVL Most Valuable Player, who plays for Creamline, said. "It's such an honor to be the flag bearer for this year's SEA Games. I share this with all the women in sports who brought honor and glory to the country."
Tolentino and chef de mission Chito Loyzaga will be the only men who will join the parade, marking the first time in SEA Games history for a female-dominated contingent. The parade participants will wear Francis Libiran-designed white barongs over black pants.
The Francis Libiran Araw Barong Tagalog is made from Philippine jusi fabric and materials and features an intricate embroidery of the Philippine flag. The hues of blue overlap a small bed of red as the sun and its rays encompass the entirety of the sash to truly represent every Filipino, showing off their liberty, peace, and valor.
Libiran also designed the barong worn by Filipino athletes in the 2019 Philippine SEA Games, as well as last year in Hanoi, where he named his masterpiece "Agila," which had intricate embroidery with an art deco of the Philippine eagle.
The Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee limited each nation to 50 athletes for the traditional parade of athletes.