Tag Archives: Philippine sport

#30 Sipa

Sipa (Filipino for “kick” or “to kick“) is a traditional native kick-ball game which predates Spanish rule. Although this claim is controversial with other Southeast Asian countries making similar claims,  the game is related to sepak takraw.

The game is both played by two teams, indoors or outdoors, on a court that is about the size of a tennis court. The teams consist of one to four players in each side. The game’s goal is to kick a soft ball, made out of woven rattan, back and forth over a net in the middle of the court. The sport requires speed, agility and ball control, and romanticized tales of yore tell of kingdoms and love lost or gained in a game of sipa.

The rattan sipa ball is 10 centimeters in diameter and made of woven rattan strips with symmetrical holes. The most defining feature of the game of Sipa is that the ball should only be touched with the legs or from below the knee to the tip of the toes. Modern sipa ball versions are made of feather light balls similar to the shuttle-cock  which is used in a game of badminton (see photo).

Whether the early Filipinos invented this popular game remains contentious. But whatever its origins are it is noteworthy to say that Filipinos are credited for popularising the game or at least recording its practice way long before other countries made similar claims.

Mabuhay ang sipa!

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#20 Philippine boxing

Boxing in the Philippines is a national sport, and not just a national sport but the national sport which takes the Filipino to the highest high, brings him to a spine-chilling thrill, and where he/she can reflect the aspirations or fulfil dreams he shares with million others.

While Manny Pacquiao now enjoys the fame and fortune that the sport brings, Pacquiao is just one of the many other legendary boxers from the Philippines who had their fair share in the lime light such as Flash Elorde, one of the big names in Philippine boxing. In the future, there would be another Pacquiao, another name that will shine in the flashy neon marquee of Philippine boxing.

But the sport is also rife with tales of tragedy, of neglect and ephemereal stardom. How many Philippine boxers, who used to cajole and entertain the crowds, are now buried and forgotten? Ultimately, in the cold light of facts, the sport is a sweepstakes of fortunes where the strong and powerful does not always call the shots. Somebody or something else does.

And yet, if one needs to gauge the intensity of the Pinoy, his obsessive need to prevail against all circumstances and his admirable stance to show humility in the midst of triumph or the brute force and face of tragedy, the Philippine boxing arena is definitely full of worthy examples.

Mabuhay ang Pinoy boxing!

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