Philippine Beach Games

Beyond The Sand: JP Demontaño On The Potential Of Beach Sports In The Philippines 

Ahead of the Philippine Beach Games, The GAME also discussed the general state of beach sports in the Philippines with PBG’s founder and president JP Demontaño.

April is more than just another summer month in the Philippine calendar. As The GAME previously covered, it’s also when the Philippine Beach Games (PBG) is taking place. The PBG was an initiative that started in 2017 to give a platform for various beach sports by providing a proper playing area for athletes.

However, despite such an initiative, beach sports still have a limited audience. Not everyone may be a fan of the beach, and in the Philippines, the best time to host beach sports is limited to select months.

Even PBG’s founder JP Demontaño acknowledges the uphill climb in garnering local interest in beach sports.

“There’s still a lot of work to do to get people interested in beach sports. We hope that by doing this [Philippine Beach Games], maraming magiging interested and makuha ‘yung attention ng PSC (Philippine Sports Commission), ng POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) to have a little something for beach sports,” Demontaño told The GAME in a recent interview. 

Beach sports: Volleyball
Established in 2017, the Philippine Beach Games provides a platform for beach sports in the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Beach Games)

Demontaño then shared that he and his team’s “dream process” to promote beach sports better locally. 

Using cornhole as an example, he said they plan to do “tours” outside the beach. This means they would first promote a sport through campus and corporate tours as a starting point to reach a wider audience.  

Once audiences grasp the sports general concept and gain interest, that’s when they get told of the “opportunity to play here [on the beach]”, Demontaño explained. 

“In fact, even in our tournaments, even before PBG, we have cornhole tournaments happening in Manila. And then once they are familiar with that, syempre, dadagdagan namin. ‘Syempre sa beach mas masaya, mas mahangin, masaya, and everything’,” he said. 

“Medyo mabagal ‘yung process pero ‘yun ang dream namin — to be able to do these tours muna to promote the sport, and then afterward, introduce them to a variety which is beach sports naman,” he said. 

Despite the long road and a meticulous proposal, Demontaño still sees positives in the reception of beach sports in the Philippines. 

For one, there’s the gradual increase of PBG participants, which signifies a growing interest in beach sports according to Demontaño. To illustrate, PBG 2017 only had 137 participants, before increasing to 470 in 2018. Meanwhile, PBG 2019 had 774 participants, while their post-pandemic return in 2023 resulted in 1,388 participants. 

Besides this, there are more opportunities to play beach sports, alongside more venues and overall support. Of course, Demontaño and his team’s PBG also add to the increasing opportunities to learn and play beach sports. 

Beach sports: football
Who knows, maybe your sport is actually on the sands right? (Photo courtesy of Philippine Beach Games)

Ideally, a rich amount of beach sports opportunities “opens a whole new world” for the general public. Meaning people who do not claim to be athletic or sporty, may just find their own expertise in many of the beach sports available. 

“Parang ‘uy, pwede pala ako maging sporty, or ‘kaya ko gawin ‘yan.’ ‘Hindi ko kaya shumoot ng bola sa rim pero kaya ko bumato ng football, ng rugby. ‘Wala kaming badminton court sa amin, puro damo lang sa amin’. Pero may air badminton na diba?” Demontaño said. 

“So alam moyun, now there’s no excuse kasi meron nang pwedeng gawin sa buhangin, sa lupa na sports. So hindi na kailangan ng covered courts, ‘yung mga ganyan.”

What Filipinos can learn to love 

In our interview, Demontaño also shared examples of beach sports that Filipinos could pick up. For instance, korfball, a four-on-four game that involves shooting a ball into a hoop with no backboard or net, could gain popularity among Filipinos given its similarities to basketball.

Given their inclusive nature, petanque and cornhole are also on Demontaño’s list. Dodgeball, too, since it is “easy to play”, as he said. 

Expounding on dodgeball, the PBG founder noted the Filipino street games version of the sport, with Filipino children using a “rubber band ball” instead of a real dodgeball. 

“Mukha siyang parang sipa. So if you’re familiar with children on the streets parang nagba-batuhan sila ng ganyan. Yun ‘yung parang Pinoy version ng dodgeball. So ayan, pwede ‘yan, to transfer to a more organized way of playing,” he said. 

Beach sports: touch rugby
Dodgeball can be a beloved beach sport for the general audiences according to JP Demontaño. (Photo Credit: Philippine Beach Games)

Alternatively, there is also touch rugby. Despite featuring a steeper learning curve, the sport itself is “very exciting” according to Demontaño. After all, he believes that sports isn’t about familiarity or popularity, but rather your own compatibility with it. 

“It’s about how you see it…So kahit sabihin natin the Filipinos don’t know about that [touch rugby], but when they see it there, they become excited. Parang ‘uy, I wanna play that’.” 

Banner Image courtesy of the Philippine Beach Games.

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