Hotdog’s OPM classic Manila electrified the parade of Philippine athletes at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games opening ceremony at the Philippine Arena on Saturday, November 30.
The song didn’t just put a spring in the step of Team Philippines that had Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach as muse, it also turned the 55,000-seater venue into an epic sing-along party, bringing the crowd — including President Duterte — to their feet.
Cheers erupted when the LED screens showed the rare sight of the president clapping and grooving to the beat of the song.
Hotdog’s original bassist and main songwriter Dennis Garcia took to his Facebook to express his gratefulness for the reception to his over four-decade-old song.
“Thank you, Philippines, for making Hotdog’s ‘Manila’ as the informal second anthem of our beautiful country,” he wrote.
The song, which is titled after the capital of the Philippines, topped radio charts in 1976. It has been considered an ode to overseas Filipinos workers, as it talks about one leaving the Philippines for a foreign country to work and becoming homesick because there’s “simply no place like Manila.”
Garcia also wished that Hotdog’s other hit song Bongga Ka ‘Day will be used at the closing ceremonies on December 11 at New Clark City.
Journey’s Filipino lead singer Arnel Pineda and the Black Eyed Peas will perform at the closing event of the 30th edition of the biennial sports meet.