In the Philippines, the most popular sports refer to a list of sports that enjoy a significant following among majority of Filipinos either as actual participants or as avid spectators.
These sports are either individual or team in nature and have become part of the Filipino way of life. These are basketball, boxing, billiards, football, chess, bowling and volleyball. Other sports such as weightlifting, cockfighting, dance sports and martial arts are also popular recreations. Interestingly, the Philippine national martial art and sports is officially the “ärnis de mano”, a form of martial art that makes use of wooden sticks as weapons. ”Silat”, a traditional Southeast Asian sports, is also played during provincial athletic meets. “Sipa” is the Philippine nomenclature to ”Silat”.
Adventure and water-based sports such as mountain climbing and trekking, swimming, underwater diving, kayaking, sailing, parasailing and windsurfing are also widely appreciated, particularly that the Philippines is an archipelago.
Beach Basketball in the Philippines
THAILAND: Muay Thai, a cool sport cum formidable tourist attraction
Thai people are enthusiastic sports lovers; for many a Thai sports play a major role in life. They indulge in a wide array of sports, both traditional and modern. Of the latter the most popular are golf and football, followed by snooker, badminton, tennis, rugby, horse racing and water sports, while the most popular of the former are Thai boxing, Kite-fighting, Boat racing and Takraw.
Thailand’s weather allows golfers to play year round on the many golf courses conveniently dispersed throughout the country. And that’s what locals, tourists and expats do!
With the sea close by, the comforting weather conditions and world famous beaches, it’s no wonder water sports activities are tremendously well-liked too. Tourists are attracted by the many opportunities to engage in scuba diving, snorkeling, jet-skiing, yachting and deep sea fishing. Well developed tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Samui, Phuket and Phi-Phi islands offer abundant diving facilities, while the number of islands and beaches that offer ample facilities for water sports are numerous.
But of all sports indigenous or else, it’s the famous Thai Boxing or Muay Thai that is the most in vogue and universally well-known sport of Thailand. Initially Muay Thai looks like western style boxing, using hands only, but after that all parts of the body can be used, elbows, knees, legs to kick and punch the opponent. Many tourists put it on the list of core outings during their holidays. But, why not try to learn it?
Learning it properly can be a fun and worthwhile experience. Many people, regardless of age and sex, turn to Muay Thai for self-defense and several martial art schools in Europe, America and Asia have added it to their courses. So, if you happen to be in Thailand already, or planning to visit it, why not take lessons in Muay Thai’s homeland itself? It will be an unforgettable experience and an enrichment of life at the same time.
VIET NAM: World Champions Pencak Silat
Vietnamese enjoy several popular sports, but by far football is the most well-liked of all. Other sports that attract a lot of participants, a/o are billiards, volleyball, badminton, tennis, table tennis, running, chess and the Vietnamese martial arts form “Vovinam – Viet Vo Dao”. Team sports definitely are the most preferred option, but individual sports are broadly practiced as well.
Internationally Vietnam is renowned for chess, kung fu, shooting and Pencak Silat
Remarkably, only after some ten years of proliferating of the sport in Vietnam, the country became World Champion, bagging eight Gold Medals, nine silver and three bronze medals at the 15th Pencak Silat World Championship in Chiang Rai in Thailand (2012).
Silat is an ancient martial art that originates in Southeast Asia. Its hundreds of schools and styles drew their origins from the observation of wild animals in combat. It is also called Pencak Silat, of which ‘Pencak’ refers to a combat situation between two Silat practitioners. It is based on the aspects: Mental and Spiritual Strength, Self-defense, Weaponry, Sports and Art and Culture.
All gold medals were won in tanding (combat competition). Earlier on, Vietnam won five silver medals in seni (fighting) in the performance round of the event.
In the same year Vietnam also won the championship title at the first Asian Pencak Silat Championship in Singapore. After six days of tough competition Vietnam picked up 11 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze medals, in seni and tanding.
A Pencak Silat match between Vietnam and Indonesia (Photo: website TDTT)