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Margarito Angana (in blue) attempting a throw in a wrestling match (Photo by the Wrestling Association of the Philippines. Used with permission.)

Wrestling in the Philippines can be divided into two major aggrupations: the native traditional wrestling forms and the modern Olympic wrestling styles.


Traditional Filipino wrestling

2009 Southeast Asian Games wrestling gold medalist and former bultong champion Jason Balabal (right) of Ifugao demonstrating a bultong throw, with Philippine wrestling teammate Robertson Tubosa (left). (Photo by Melvin Sia. Used with permission.)

Among the traditional wrestling forms found all over the archipelago, the most popular are the bultong of Ifugao, dumog of Antique and Iloilo, and buno of the mainly Tagalog speaking provinces.

Gamol, which was a popular past time in some countryside areas of Camarines Sur, is hardly practiced nowadays due to the insurgency problem in the locales which intensified from the late 1980's to early 1990's.

Modern Olympic wrestling

The modern Olympic wrestling styles gained a foothold in the Philippines in the first half of the 20th century when Filipino amateur wrestlers began training and competing for the Olympic games and other international competitions.

There is a theory that Manuel Quintos, the maternal uncle of national hero Jose Rizal, learned the Olympic style of Greco – Roman during his travels in Europe, and that that was the wrestling style he taught his nephew, and not buno which was at that time the local wrestling form in their home province of Laguna and its adjacent Tagalog-speaking provinces. Assuming that that was the case, then Quintos can be considered as the first Filipino practitioner and coach of Greco-Roman, and therefore Olympic style wrestling, on record.

Wrestling Association of the Philippines

The Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP), which is currently led by Juan Alberto E. Balde, is the duly recognized national sports association (NSA) by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) which task is to promote and manage the Olympic wrestling styles and traditional Filipino wrestling froms in the country.


Jimmy Angana (in red) grappling for a superior position in a wrestling match.(Photo by the Wrestling Association of the Philippines. Used with permission.)
  1. “Wrestling Association of the Philippines homepage.” Philwrestling.com. [1] (Accessed on January 21, 2011).
  2. ”Bultong.” Wikipilipinas.org. [2] (Accessed on January 21, 2011).
  3. ”Dumog.” Wikipilipinas.org. [3] (Accessed on January 21, 2011).



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