(SPOT.ph) With less than three months before the much-awaited 2019 Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines' newest sports facility—the New Clark City Sports Hub—has finally taken shape amid verdant land in Capas, Tarlac. By November 30, thousands of athletes from all over the world are set to occupy this 60-hectare development, which houses the Athletic Stadium, Aquatic Center, and Athletes' Village. The venue has also been chosen to host the Southeast Asian Games' (SEA Games) closing ceremonies on December 11.
A World-Class Sports Complex
All the facilities within the New Clark City Sports Hub, initially dubbed the Philippine Sports City or Philippine Olympic City, adhere to world-class standards. “Itong facilities na itinayo natin are in accordance to the latest technology for Olympics,” Engineer Isaac David, chairman of MTD Philippines, tells SPOT.ph in an interview.
The Athletic Stadium, for example, was built to conform to the guidelines of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). It has nine 400-meter running tracks, which were certified by the Federation to be under the Class 1 classification. The Stadium also has an outdoor warm-up area with four 400-meter lanes and an indoor warm-up space with two 100-meter lanes.
But what makes the Athletic Stadium stand out is the distinctive color that's been used for the steel bars and columns, dubbed "B+R Active-Orange." This color was created and patented by BUDJI + ROYAL Architecture + Design—the architecture firm behind the conceptual design of New Clark City—to mimic the color of lava coming from Mt. Pinatubo. The anti-corrosive orange paint was manufactured by Jotun, a Norwegian chemical company that also supplies the paint for the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Following a design that was inspired by the nearby volcano, the Stadium's ringed roofline looks like a crater opening towards the sky. The walls, in fact, were made from lahar and volcanic debris, instead of the usual cement mix. The chairs, on the other hand, have orange and gray colors arranged randomly, which creates the overall visual effect of flowing lava. The use of alternating colors, incidentally, is a trick used by stadiums around the world to create the illusion of a packed venue—at least when the camera pans past the seats.
The 2,000-seater Aquatic Center is equally jaw-dropping. It was accredited by the Fédération internationale de natation (or the International Swimming Federation), making it suitable for international competitions such as the SEA Games and even the Olympics. The Aquatic Center features three swimming pools: an Olympic-sized swimming pool (50 meters by 25 meters) with 10 lanes at a depth of three meters (about 10 feet), a training pool (50 meters by 21 meters) with a depth of two meters (6.5 feet), and a diving pool (25 meters by 25 meters) with a depth of five meters (16 feet).
While the Athletic Stadium was inspired by the natural wonder that is Mt. Pinatubo, the Aquatic Center takes after the design of a Christmas lantern. Locally known as parol, the holiday decoration is one of Pampanga's most well-known products—particularly San Fernando, a.k.a. the Christmas capital of the Philippines. San Fernando also hosts the Giant Lantern Festival, a big celebration of lights, music, and parol every December.
Aside from the sports facilities, the New Clark City Sports Hub also houses the Athlete's Village, which is slated to be the home of our national athletes. It has 525 units and can accommodate up to 1,000 people. The residence also has its own swimming pool and basketball court. Leading to the Athlete’s Village is the River Park Corridor, which is a boardwalk with pocket gardens and green spaces stretching along the 1.4-kilometer riverbank.
"As Filipinos, we're proud that the Philippine government is putting up this kind of facility. Every Filipino should be proud about this, that the Philippines has this kind of facility that's comparable with the facilities all over the world," says David.