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A demonstration of arnis, the national sport of the Philippines
A demonstration of arnis, the national sport of the Philippines
Rural children playing basketball

Sports in the Philippines is an important part of the country's culture. There are six major sports in the Philippines: basketball, boxing, tennis, football, billiards, and volleyball.[1]


The governing agency for sports in the Philippines is the Philippine Sports Commission which was created in 1990[2] while the Games and Amusements Board is the government's regulatory body for professional sports in the country.[3]

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), a private entity is the sports body which represents the Philippines in international sports competition sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee including the Olympic Games. The POC was established in 1975, replacing the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation which was founded in 1911. The POC's membership also includes national sports associations (NSAs), organizations which governs a specific sport or discipline in the country. The Philippine Paralympic Committee is the POC's counterpart in disabled sports and is a member of the International Paralympic Committee.

There are also other alternative sporting bodies such as the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines which claims to be the sole governing body for university sports in the country and participates in International University Sports Federation (FISU) sanctioned tournaments.

Summary by discipline

Traditional sports

Cockfighting in Iloilo

The Philippines has numerous traditional sports that were popular before the colonial era and after the colonial era. Among these are archery, arnis, horse-riding, fling sports, wrestling sports, dart sports, track sports, and traditional martial arts.

With the sport of cockfighting being wildly popular in the Philippines, attracting large crowds who bet on the outcome of fights between the birds,[4] and the sport itself a popular form of fertility worship among almost all Southeast Asians.[5] Such sports activity as the sport of cockfighting, related to ritual forms of worship as practices and rituals of ancient worship intended for the blessings of the supernatural, as "in Indus Valley and other ancient civilizations, mother goddess had been invoked for fertility and prosperity"[6] which included that religious cockfight lay as a prime example of "cultural synthesis of 'little' and 'great' cultures"[7]

Arnis is officially recognized as a national sport as per Republic Act No. 9850 of 2009.[8]

Individual sports


Main article: Boxing in the Philippines

The Philippines has produced more than 40 boxing world champions such as Luisito Espinosa, Donnie Nietes, Gerry Peñalosa, and Johnriel Casimero.

Boxing is among the most popular individual sports in the Philippines. Some Filipino boxers such as Nonito Donaire, Gabriel Elorde, Pancho Villa and Manny Pacquiao are recognized internationally. The Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines is the governing body for amateur boxing in the country.

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (formerly Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines) (ABAP) is the governing body of amateur boxing in the Philippines. The ABAP's current goal is for the country to win its first ever Olympic gold medal in boxing, to be recognized as one of the world's boxing powers as well as to improve the image of the Philippines abroad.

The country continually produces talented fighters, often in the junior featherweight division (122 pounds and below). The International Boxing Association sanctions amateur (Olympic-style) boxing matches which allows the national amateur boxing athletes of the Philippines to represent the country and compete in regional, continental and international matches and tournaments. The Philippines has currently two silver and three bronze Olympic medals.

Figure skating

Ice skating rinks used as venues for figure skating are limited to shopping malls in the country, particularly in the Metro Manila area. The first ice skating rink in the country was opened in 1992 at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong. The first Olympic sized ice skating rink was opened at the SM Mall of Asia. An ice skating rink also operates in SM Southmall. There are more figure skating coaches in the Philippines than ice hockey coaches and the first Filipino ice skating coaches were roller skaters. The Philippine Championship is a national competitive for ice skating in which the winner gets to represent the country in international competitions.[9] The Philippines has also managed to qualify and send a figure skater to the 2014 Winter Olympics becoming the first Southeast Asian country to do so at the Winter Olympics. The said figure skater was Michael Christian Martinez.[10]

Team sports

Sport National team Nickname
Baseball Philippines national baseball team None
Philippines women's national baseball team
Basketball Philippines men's national basketball team Gilas Pilipinas
Philippines women's national basketball team
Cricket Philippines national cricket team Carabaos
Philippines women's national cricket team None
Floorball Philippines men's national floorball team None
Philippines women's national floorball team
Football Philippines national football team None
Philippines women's national football team The Filipinas
Ice hockey Philippines men's national ice hockey team None
Philippines women's national ice hockey team
Rugby league Philippines national rugby league team Tamaraws
Philippines women's national rugby league team Sampaguitas
Rugby sevens Philippines national rugby sevens team Volcanoes
Philippines women's national rugby sevens team
Rugby union Philippines national rugby union team
Philippines women's national rugby union team
Softball Philippines men's national softball team Blu Boys
Philippines women's national softball team Blu Girls
Volleyball Philippines men's national volleyball team Alas Pilipinas
Philippines women's national volleyball team
Water polo Philippines men's national water polo team None
Philippines women's national water polo team


A finals 2021 PBA basketball game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum

Main article: Basketball in the Philippines

Basketball was introduced in the country during the American colonial era and was one of the sports contested at the now defunct Far Eastern Championship Games. The men's national team has competed in the Summer Olympics making their debut in 1936 although they have been absent in the recent editions of the Games.They have also competed in the FIBA World Cup with the country hosting the tournament when it was still known as the FIBA World Championships in 1978.Their third-place finish in the 1954 edition was their best performance in the tournament. They hosted the 2023 edition with Japan and Indonesia.

The Philippine Basketball Association is the oldest league in Asia and is the top basketball league in the country. Other rival or smaller leagues in the country are organized. There are college basketball leagues and competitions such as the Philippine Collegiate Championship. Basketball matches of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association also receives attention.

The country also has a women's basketball team which has competed at the FIBA Asia Women's Championship, as well as men youth team's and 3x3 national teams.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (Basketball Federation of the Philippines) is the national sport association of basketball in the Philippines.

Association football

Main article: Football in the Philippines

The Philippine Sports Stadium, the largest football stadium in the country

Football in the country dates back in the 1890s. The men's national team of the Philippines played their earlier matches prior to World War II against China and Japan at the Far Eastern Championship Games.They experience a decline after that period but has since recovered following their stint at the 2010 AFF Championship. The country also organizes a women's national team which has qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023.

The Philippines Football League is the top flight football league in the country. Each club represents their respective cities or provinces and required to have a youth squad for the Youth League. It also helps to promote football awareness and grassroots program to the young Filipino footballers who admire to play professional football.

The Philippine Football Federation is the governing body for football in the country.


Main article: Volleyball in the Philippines

A women's volleyball match in the Shakey's V-League. (now Premier Volleyball League)

The NSA affiliated with the sport is called the Philippine National Volleyball Federation. Women's volleyball currently enjoys immense popularity[11] primarily due to its growing fan base in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association amateur tournaments.

Internationally, competitors are given the opportunity to represent the country in tournaments such as the Southeast Asian Games as well as the Olympics.

The sport has also seen the development of leagues such as the Philippine Super Liga, Spikers' Turf and the Premier Volleyball League.

American football

American football is a relatively new sport to the Philippines. ArenaBall Philippines was the first league and lasted from 2009 to 2015. In 2016 the Philippine-American Football League was founded. The Philippines also organizes a men's national team.


See also: Baseball in the Philippines

Baseball was introduced in the Philippines by the Americans. The first baseball game in the Philippines was played in September 1898 weeks after the Battle of Manila, a match between Astor Battery led by George Wetlaufer and a regiment from the American Army. From 1899 to 1900, baseball clubs were established by local Filipinos. The sport's introduction aided the American colonial government's assimilation efforts. General Otis planned to eliminate local cockfighting through the introduction of the sport. A baseball league composing of six clubs was established. Then, Governor General William Howard Taft encouraged baseball in the archipelago. Baseball grew to be a popular sport in the country. The national team is Philippines national baseball team and the governing body is PABA

Rugby league

Rugby league was first played in the Philippines in 2012. The Philippines National Rugby League are the governing body and are responsible for the growth of rugby league in the Philippines. The sport was introduced to the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy by Australian expats.[12][13] Clubs have also been established by Papua New Guinean expats and students (where rugby league is their national sport).[14][15][16]

The national team are known as the Tamaraws and represents the country in international rugby league competition.

Rugby union

A rugby union match between the national teams of the Philippines vs Iran (A lineout)

Main article: Rugby union in the Philippines

The Philippine Rugby Football Union was founded in 1998 and is the governing body of rugby union in the Philippines. There are currently around 12 schools playing rugby union in the Philippines and 10 teams that compete in regular competition. The national team is known as the Volcanoes and competes in the Asia Rugby Championship and the Asian Sevens Series.

Sports leagues

The following are the main domestic leagues (or de facto top-flight leagues) in the Philippines.

League Sport Gender No. of Teams
Professional Chess Association of the Philippines Chess Mixed 20
Philippine Basketball Association Basketball Men 12
Women's National Basketball League Basketball Women 5
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Philippines Esports Men 8
Philippines Football League Football Men 15
PFF Women's League Football Women 10
Premier Volleyball League Volleyball Women 11
Spikers' Turf Volleyball Men 11

International sports participation

See also: List of international sports events in the Philippines

Olympics and Paralympics

Main articles: Philippines at the Olympics and Philippines at the Paralympics

The Philippines has participated in all editions of the Olympics except in 1980 when it joined the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics.[17][18] The country is also the first tropical nation to participate at the Winter Olympics, debuting at the 1972 edition and has participated in three other edition of the winter games.[19]

The Philippines has also participated in the Summer Paralympics although it has still to make its debut in the Winter Paralympics.

The country won its first Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics through weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.[20]

All time medal count
Event Appearances Gold Silver Bronze Total Rank
Summer Olympic Games 22 1 5 8 14 94th
Winter Olympic Games 5 0 0 0 0 -
Summer Paralympic Games 7 0 0 2 2 117th
Summer Youth Olympic Games 3 0 1 0 1 100th
Winter Youth Olympic Games 2 0 0 0 0 -

Domestic multi-sport competitions

2015 Palarong Pambansa opening ceremony.

The Philippine government organizes multiple national games.

See also



  1. ^ "Metro Manila · Basketball – the Philippines' most popular sport". Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  2. ^ "PSC Profile". Philippine Sports Commission. June 22, 2017. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  3. ^ "Games and Amusements Board". Games and Amusements Board. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  4. ^ Bomb hits Philippines cock-fight – BBC – April 14, 2012
  5. ^ "Using Spirit Worship to Infuse Southeast Asia into the K-16 Classroom". Tun Institute of Learning. January 15, 2005. Archived from the original on December 3, 2012.
  6. ^ A Panorama of Indian Culture: Professor A. Sreedhara Menon Felicitation Volume – K. K. Kusuman – Mittal Publications, 1990 – p.130"[1]"
  7. ^ A Panorama of Indian Culture: Professor A. Sreedhara Menon Felicitation Volume – K. K. Kusuman – Mittal Publications, 1990 – p.127-128"[2]"
  8. ^ Republic Act No. 9850, Chan Robles Law Library.
  9. ^ Aquino, Tricia (February 17, 2014). "ICE RINKS IN THE PHILIPPINES? | Before Michael Christian Martinez, SM's Henry Sy had one crazy dream". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  10. ^ "Manila on ice: YOG athlete Michael Christian Martinez creates history for the Philippines". Youth Olympic Games News. February 15, 2014. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  11. ^ Ochosa, Mike (October 21, 2015). "The future is bright for Philippine women's volleyball". Rappler. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  13. ^ "2014 Rugby League 4 Nations: To be, or not to be? – 2014 Four Nations – Rugby League Tri / Four Nations News".
  14. ^ "PNG coached Manila league team set for first match – Loop PNG". October 18, 2015.
  15. ^[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "All eyes on Westpac for Rugby League Four Nations final – 2014 Four Nations – Rugby League Tri / Four Nations News".
  17. ^ Grasso, John; Mallon, Bill; Heijmans, Jeroen (2015). Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 473. ISBN 978-1-4422-4860-1. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  18. ^ United States Department of State Bureau of African Affairs (1980). AF Press Clips. p. 24. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Games of the VIII Olympiad: Official Report (part 1, page 91)" (PDF). (in French). French Olympic Committee. July 28, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  20. ^ "Olympics latest: Hidilyn Diaz wins Philippines' first-ever gold medal". Nikkei Asia. July 23, 2021. Retrieved July 26, 2021.