Philippines have a rich history and proud culture when it comes to sports. The country has produced athletes who became global sports icons; guys like Efren “Bata” Reyes in billiards, Manny Pacquiao in boxing, and recently, the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas in basketball.
In addition, Pinoys are born sports aficionados. Everywhere you go, you will always see people playing basketball, volleyball, and even sepak takraw in the streets. Sports have been one of our favorite habits, especially on our free time. We are very passionate about our favorite team or player, to the point that some of us would even literally fight for them. There’s that ‘diehard’ sports fan in every single one of us.
Either you’re playing games or just contented being a spectator; there is no denying that sports is an important part of your life.
Because we really cannot get enough of sports, we have decided to list down the most popular games that most Filipinos love to play or watch.
Below are five prominent sports in the Philippines.
Since the emergence of the Philippine Azkals five-six years ago, the Philippines started to build interest in football. Younghusbands James and Phil, as well as the other good looking male players on the national squad helped propel the football’s popularity in the country. Leagues have been formed and stadiums have been renovated in order to help showcase more games, train upcoming players, and help improve the country’s chances of being successful in the international Football scene.
There aren’t many football fields in the Philippines as compared to basketball courts, but people are contented playing it in vacant lots. Futsal, the version of football that is played indoors, has also been an alternative.
Made popular in the Philippines by The Magician Efren “Bata” Reyes and Django Bustamante in the 90s, billiards is one of the most commonly played sport in the country. In fact, several movies involving billiards were shown during that time. It is safe to say that before Manny Pacquiao became a worldwide sensation, Reyes and Bustamante were the ones obliterating foreign opponents using their billiard sticks.
You will always see billiard tables in the mall, bars, eateries, and even beside the streets, proving how prominent the sport is in the country. People always place bets in billiard games starting from five pesos to a thousand.
Ten years ago, people really didn’t care about volleyball. It was just a simple game often played by highschool girls. It started to become relevant when collegiate games were given the media exposure. Since then, volleyball slowly but surely caught the hearts of the Filipino sports fans. Volleyball is now considered as an equal, or even ahead to basketball in terms of popularity. Volleyball became more than just a sport, as players from the collegiate and amateur ranks often found secondary professions in the media industry.
Volleyball is often played inside the schools, not in streets. However, all you need is the ball and an open space and you’re good to go.
Unlike the previous three, boxing has already been a popular sport in the Philippines during the 70s and 80s, with guys like Luisito Espinosa, Pancho Villa, and Flash Elorde making a name for themselves in the international scene. Then here comes Pacquiao, who’s been dominating the sport since 2000. We are so into boxing because we love to see stories of underdogs pulling an upset against bigger, mightier opponents, which is practically what our professional boxers have done over the years.
There are a lot of boxing gyms in the Philippines where you can learn and practice boxing. This isn’t really the sport that you’d want to see in the streets on a daily basis though.
There’s really no competition here. Despite the rise of volleyball and boxing, basketball is still the number one sport in the hearts of almost every Filipino. Basketball represents some of the most admirable characteristics of Pinoys like competitiveness, resilience, courage, confidence, passion, and heart. Men or women, we will always have a favorite player starting from the collegiate ranks to the professional leagues.
Basketball is being played by us Pinoys everywhere, everytime, everyday. As the old adage says, Basketball is Life.
Other sports worth mentioning
Golf – Still not that popular in the country, but people, especially in the upper class, are playing the sport for large bets, bragging rights, and past time.
Sepak Takraw – Although we have a national team for this sport, it has yet to reach significant prominence in the Metro. It’s been a constant part of sports fests and events in the provinces though.
Tennis – Because of the recent visits from international players, tennis is starting to make some noise, though it is unlikely that it will make a sudden rise.
Do you agree on this list? Post your comments below.