Filipinos love sports. We often spend hours and hours watching games on TV, placing bets on our favorite teams, even go as far as throwing a punch or two at someone who talks smack about our favorite player. And when there’s a Filipino team or a Filipino player, boy, do we get supportive. Our love for sports seems to be very link to “Filipino Pride”. We support the team or player, even when we don’t really know a lot about the sport they play.
Below are the top 10 sports that we Filipinos love and follow. You probably watch a game or two of these on TV during your free time, or even participate in it.
Our love for basketball is a national obsession. Whether it’s the NBA or the PBA or the UAAP, almost everyone sits back and watches basketball here in the Philippines. We take pride in our International Basketball Federation team Gilas Pilipinas (mind you they’re actually doing pretty good) and stay updated on their games. Basketball is also a popular pastime for a lot of Filipinos, especially the younger males. We often see them shooting hoops in the streets on makeshift courts, as well as organize neighborhood teams and compete in local, inter-barangay basketball leagues. We may not have the height for it, but we have the passion for the game.
Boxing has a very rich history in the Philippines. We have produced a number of professional world champions, Olympic standouts, and some of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. Although we have yet to win a gold medal in the Olympics for boxing, we have bagged 5 out of its 9 total medals in the Summer Olympics for amateur boxing. Professional boxing have produced 38 major world champions and greats like Flash Elorde, Ceferino Garcia, and Pancho Villa are international boxing hall of famers. Currently, we take much pride in two Filipino boxers, Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao. When their fights are on, expect every television set in the Philippines to be tuned in to it.
Although volleyball is mainly known as the game you play when you’re in a high school or college physical education class, it has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. Today the most popular volleyball tournament that most Filipinos follow is the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, producing players like Alyssa Valdez, Cherry May Vivas, Abigail Maraño, and Kim Kianna Dy. Like basketball, volleyball is also a common game played by younger generations in the streets. Filipinos have also contributed to the modern way of playing the game. we inspired the three-hit limit, and setting and spiking the ball.
Most of us remember our dads and uncles bonding over this game. Many of us also played pool during our high school and college years. Billiards, as we like to call it here in the Philippines, is a game played with friends and family over a bottle of beer. It’s one of the most popular recreational sport amongst men, so don’t be shocked if you’ll find a number of good pool players at the local billiards hall. On a competitive note, the Philippines has also produced a few great billiards player, with Efren “Bata” Reyes or the magician as he’s known in the billiards world, heading the list.
Here’s a trivia. Did you know that the youngest player to play or score for the Barcelona was Filipino? Although football is not as popular as basketball in the country, many Filipinos follow the international leagues and games, especially when FIFA seasons comes around. Many high schools and colleges also offer football as a physical education class and even offer varsity players a scholarship or a discount on their school fees. And since the rise of popularity of the Philippines national football team, better known as the Azkals, more and more people are getting into the game.
Many of us remember this game as something we use to play during our elementary years. Imagine volleyball, only you use your legs and feet and kick the ball over the net and back to the other team. Also, you use a smaller ball made from rattan instead. Better known as “sipa”, it’s one of the few traditional games that survived after three centuries of Spanish colonization. It was the national sport until it was replaced by Arnis back in 2009, however may elementary and high schools still include it in their curriculum.
Remember that Milo commercial with Japoy Lizardo that placed taekwondo on the limelight? Well a lot of kids are still interested in learning this martial art and are even participating in contests. It’s a popular summer class for kids and many of them continue to higher classes. The Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) was founded in the 70’s and has long produced a number of practitioners who have won competitions here and outside the country. he PTA is a member of the World Taekwondo Federation and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Speaking of self-defense and sport, mixed martial arts (MMA) has started to become popular over the years, especially since more and more MMA fights are being organized nationally. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has also build up quite a number of followers in the country who regularly watch the fights on TV. One of the first to professionalize this sport in the Philippines was the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC), which has been in existence for the past decade. More recently, Pacific X-Treme Combat (PXC) has come to the country and has organized many fights for local and international fighters. Many MMA gyms have also opened up that provide training in a variety of fighting techniques, from vale tudo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay thai and the locally known yaw-yan fighting style.
Golf has actually become quite a popular sport amongst those in high society. There are a few established local golf clubs and a number of golf driving ranges where players can practice on their swing. Big resorts and hotels also have gold courses where people can pay for day use. Although not a lot of people are crazy over it, those who can afford to play the game find it as a great pastime or hobby. We have yet to produce internationally known players, but we’re working on it.
Humor me. Although it’s not in the Olympics (not yet anyway) eSports has taken the world by storm. In the Philippines, many of the younger generation play games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of Newerth, many of which actually have real competitions being held all over the world. Internationally, there are a number of colleges who offer scholarships for eSports. People are taking eSports very seriously, and so are players here in the Philippines. Filipino teams join international and local competitions, wining prizes that could reach millions of dollars.
Which of these sports are you into? Leave us a comment bellow and share this article to your friends and family.