Sport in the Philippines

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Sports as we know it today has been a part of Philippine culture since the late 19th century. Early observers have noted however that Filipinos in general have adopted a rather passive approach to competition. Perhaps this can be attributed to how Philippine society has evolved under colonial rule for three and a half centuries.

Despite having 7,107 islands, all the inland seas and access to two major bodies of water, an inclination towards watersports is oddly not high on the list of sports-minded Filipinos as a casual observer would otherwise note. There is no doubt that the prevailing socio-economic issues and conditions have aptly dictated the general state of sports in the Philippines.

While there is no shortage of participation in several team and individual sports, the level of competition generated across the board has simply lagged behind world class standards. Lack of innovative training methods, state-of-the art facilities, and modern equipment are usually cited as undermining the potential of Filipino athletes. Nevertheless, the politics surrounding Philippine sports probably ranks higher on the list and this has undoubtedly cast a dark shadow on hindering the growth of sports across the archipelago. This despite the early accolades afforded to the country through the early part of the second half of the 20th century when the Philippines produced world-class talent in baseball, football/soccer, basketball, track and field, and swimming among popular sports.

Presently, there exists an odd disparity prevalent in Philippine sports. On one end of the spectrum is a general populace whose exposure is limited to what can be afforded a third world country. On the other end is a segment of society whose exposure is that of the developed world, where active involvement is prevalent, but only to a minority. Such a situation has subsequently limited the available talent base.

There are five major team sports in the Philippines that are quite popular to differing degrees. Baseball, softball, football/soccer, basketball, and volleyball are generally among those sports Filipinos have embraced. Boxing, golf, tennis, badminton, biking/cycling are among the more prevalent individual pursuits. Running, weight/power-lifting, aerobics, and the martial arts of karate-do and tae-kwon-do are likewise popular endeavours especially among the health conscious. On the water front, swimming continues to be popular, while scuba/underwater diving, canoeing, sailing, and body/wind surfing have also found their niche. On another front cockfighting, horse racing, auto/cart/drag/motor racing, and jai-alai also have a big following.

The general perception however is that due to the above-mentioned socio-ecnomomic considerations, some sports have flourished more than others, but that is by no means an indication of the sports Filipinos enjoy. One only need visit the country and immerse himself/herself and discover society across the islands. Suffice it to say, Filipinos have already warmed up to more than just passive participation in sports.

A good trend to watch is the growth of outdoor, extreme, and endurance sports which is gradually gaining acceptance across the islands especially among the younger generation and the environmentally conscious nature-lovers. Among these are in-line/roller skating, in-line hockey, kite/wake boarding, kite/ski surfing, rock-climbing/scrambling, mountaineering, and frisbee.


Sport for Athletes with a Disability

ParaGmes logo08.jpg

Access to sport for the disabled is hampered by poverty, ignorance, lack of awareness, lack of accessible sport facilities and nonexistent or incomplete implementation of the rights of the disabled in the Philippines. Yearly natural calamities plus constant insurgent warfare in remote parts of the Philippines contribute to disabled military and civilian war casualties. Most of the newly disabled are faced with having to move around and earn a living in a non-disabled friendly country.

The disabled filipinos who do take up sport discover this is a way to regain self confidence, hope and maintain fitness. Most civilian disabled athletes are those who have had access to supportive personnel or have encountered PHILSPADA athletes. The Philippine Sports Association of Differently Abled is the umbrella organization for Philippine disabled sport likewise official National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines, affiliated with the International Paralympic Committee. PHILSPADA works with the IBSA, the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, equivalent organizations and national sport associations to train and send qualified disabled Filipino athletes to the ASEAN ParaGames, the Paralympics and all accredited local and international disabled sport events.

Although the Philippine disabled sport contingents are so much smaller and less funded by the government, Filipino disabled athletes have been bringing in more medals than their able-bodied counterparts in equivalent international games. This is not because sports for the disabled is made easier but because of the will and ability of the athlete to excel. Recently PSC announced that medal winning disabled athletes will also receive exactly the same cash award sport incentives as the able-bodied SEAGAMES medal winners, etc have been receiving, in line with Republic Act 7277 – the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

The Philippine SKUD 18 Paralympic Sailing Team competing in Qingdao, during the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. Source: Jackie Kay
The Philippines was represented by 3 athletes in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics: Adeline Angeline Dumapong, wheelchair-bound Paralympian powerlifter (Bronze, 2000 Sydney Paralympics) plus the 2-person Philippine SKUD Paralympic Sailing Team, Team Sailability Philippines (with Philippine Sailing Association support).


  • September 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games - the first Philippine SKUD 18 Paralympic Sailing Team competes in Qingdao, China.
  • January 2008 - Athletes with cerebral palsy competed in boccia for the first time, during the 4th ASEAN Paragames,Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
  • The Philippine Shooting Team (with Philippine National Shooting Association support) competed in the ParaGames in the Air Rifle and Air Pistol events. Cherrie Pinpin bags the bronze in the Air Rifle Standing event.
  • November 2006 FESPIC Games - the first disabled Sailing Team competes on the Access Liberty event in Malaysia. Alson Tumbagahan bags the Men's Silver.
  • 2000 Sydney Paralympics - Adeline Dumapong bags the Bronze in Powerlifting

Philippine sports

Boxing and Martial Arts

Motorized sports

Sports based on motorised transportation

Outdoor sports

Racquet sports

Sports where players use racquets to hit a ball or other object.


Sports in which skates or skateboards are used.

Target sports

Sports where the main objective is to hit a target.

Team sports

Sports that involve teams.


In water

On water

Sailing and Paddling



Extreme sports

See also

External links

Original Source

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