PBG 2024 Wrap-Up: A ‘Good Sign’ For Beach Sports In The Philippines

With PBG 2024 recently concluded, what does this say about the appreciation of beach sports moving forward? 

Since 2017, the Philippine Beach Games (PBG) has provided a platform for beach sports in the Philippines. Held annually in Lingayen, Pangasinan, the PBG has provided a proper playing venue for these sports against the backdrop of the province’s Pista’y Dayat, or Feast of the Seas.

And their 2024 edition, held from April 19 to 21, is no different. However, in the lead-up to the three-day gathering, the team has been open about their standards for PBG 2024, namely expecting about 1,800 participants to the games. 

Now that it’s all said and done, how did PBG 2024 fare?  

“Well, this one was really successful. Syempre, we’re greatly supported, we have enough participants,” PBG founder and president JP Demontaño told The GAME.

Attendance, though, was affected by news about the intense heat waves affecting the country, which led to last-minute cancellations from some PBG 2024 participants. 

Fortunately, Demontaño estimated they were only about “150 short” of the expected 1,800 attendees for PBG 2024. PBG 2024 still managed to exceed last year’s 1,388 participants,and its previous iterations in 2017 to 2019. 

“Everyone had fun, especially hydration was a really really big factor and we were prepared for that. So, it’s a huge success, people had fun…not only in sports but in post-sports activities,” said Demontaño.

As the PBG holds sports tournaments, 2024 also produced some new storylines. For instance, their cornhole event became a meeting for champion teams, or even podium finishers in the cornhole community’s other tournaments in Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Tarlac to name a few. 

Other sports, like flag football and under-17 men’s volleyball, also produced new champion teams according to Demontaño. 

“We had champions being dethroned, and defending champions who were able to defend their crowns. It was a mixture of different happenings, different events. A curiosity satisfied, experienced new sports. It’s a mixture of these kinds of events, just really really fun,” he said. 

Besides these, PBG 2024 also introduced korfball into their lineup, a four-on-four game wherein players shoot the ball into a hoop similar to basketball. Being PBG’s “baby sport”, mixed with Filipinos’ love for basketball, this garnered curiosity from those on the Capitol beachfront. 

As korfball is not a “traditional” beach sport, participants were also curious how it could be done on the beach. For context, the sport is usually played on solid courts, while hoops are made from “metal, aluminum, [and] poles”.

PBG 2024: korfball
The PBG’s own version of Korfball. (Photo Credit: International Korfball Federation on Facebook)

But for PBG 2024, Demontaño and his team installed korfball baskets on a bamboo pole, with games being played by the sands. “In fact when they were posting it on Facebook, sabi nila ‘oh that’s a good idea’. Parang very native daw using the bamboo poles for using the korfball,” he said. 

“So they got an idea how to spread it even in the provinces. And then when the participants were playing, ayun. Of course, there are different rules about korfball, but they enjoyed it pa rin, and they were able to play it and it’s just really, really fun.”  

Potential for further appreciation 

Demontaño could only say Oh well, grabe,” when asked what PBG 2024 indicates about more Filipinos appreciating beach sports. Even before the games, Demontaño shared they would already receive messages of excitement, or interest from people toward the PBG. 

“So it’s something that they’re expecting already and they’re waiting for us. So awareness wise, inaaabangabangan na lagi ‘yung Philippine Beach Games and also the sports na included there,” he said. 

Reiterating the korfball addition, Demontaño noted that participants successfully noted that new addition in their roster. In fact, they have already asked the PBG team to have it for 2025. 

“We’ll [the participants] be more prepared. We’ll practice for it and everything. And it’s very nice to see, and to hear these people are excited about beach sports,” he said. 

PBG 2024 spectators were another indicator of this potential. According to Demontaño, most of them would be hesitant and feel that PBG is reserved for competing participants. 

Yet when encouraged, it turns out that these are “brave souls” who are actually interested in trying one of PBG’s beach sports. Asked about specific sports, Demontaño observed this for their version of beach dodgeball, korfball, petanque, cornhole, roundnet, and air badminton. 

PBG 2024: cornhole
Cornhole was one of the sports in PBG 2024. (Photo Credit: Philippine Beach Games on Facebook)

Air badminton was also a revelation for spectators, as they realized the sport could actually be played outside a court, Demontaño said.

“So we might try to do something like that na hindi na sila mahihiyang magtanong, they can actually try it right away. So we’ll try to tweak that a little for next year, that’s a learning that we got from this year,” he said, referring to PBG’s “tournament-type” impression towards the public.

Na ‘yung iba naiilang lang. They’re not really confident to say na can we try. But they really want to try it…so ‘yung beach sports talaga, it really attracts people to join and everything. Mukha lang kami tournament minsan talaga eh.”

There were also PE lecturers that attended the PBG, Demontaño said. Upon seeing the games, they would ask him for help as to how to integrate a sport into their PE classes. 

“Actually before pa nung nagstart kami, when they see the sport na [they say] ‘Uy! Pwede samin ‘to ah’Wala kaming ano, or puro semento samin pwede ‘to’, ‘Uy may space kami na pwede ‘to’  So nakikita nila na hindi lang traditional sports ang pwedeng gawin. So na-eexpose.” 

Of course, there were also the players. For instance, Demontaño recalled touch rugby players trying korfball while waiting for their next game. “While wala silang [touch rugby players] games, they were playing korfball,” he said. 

“So I’m not sure if they made a game out of it with scoring and points. But I saw the video, sabi ko ‘Uy [mga] touch [rugby players] ‘to ah!’. Kasi wala silang games at that time pero they really wanted to play. So ‘yung mga ganoon.” 

More learnings for 2025

After PBG 2024, the next step is now to build upon that success. Besides trying to look less like a tournament, Demontaño shared more future changes to The GAME. 

For one, there will be more “formal invites” moving forward. According to him, this is in relation to PBG’s “community involvement” goal, which he previously shared. Unlike before, they now plan to reach out to specific organizations and encourage them to join even as beginners.

“At least before we arrive there, it’s not just word of mouth, [but] may formal invitation. And we get to reach out to more people aside from just promoting it na parang just one big vast promotion to everyone,” he explained.

“We want to reach out really na kayo mismo ang iniinvite namin. So they get to feel na “Uy wow, I’m part of that, my school’s being invited, I want to try that”. So something like that, we want to reach out to a more specific audience.” 

PBG 2024: Petanque
Petanque is one of the PBG 2024’s inclusive sports. (Photo Credit: Province of Pangasinan on Facebook)

For the event itself, Demontaño shared they also plan to expand their “fan zone”, which allows participants to try the sports in a non-competitive setting. After all, their facilities have improved over the years, and they can now plan that fan zone better. 

Last, is the shift to night games due to playing times being disrupted by the hot weather. Hopefully, tournaments will take place from 3:00 to 9:00 PM for PBG 2025’s Palawan leg. 

If anything, this would be beneficial for promoting beach sports. According to Demontaño, they noticed that spectators struggle to watch during their morning playtimes due to the hot weather, unlike in the afternoon where temperatures are manageable. 

“So if it’s three to nine, medyo mas madali na panoorin ng mga tao. Siguro macacapture na lahat ng…ang daming passersby doon pagka gabi. Pero pag late na wala na masyado nangyayari eh,” Demontaño said of the current setup. 

Pero with regard ‘yung acceptance and people watching beach games, I think it will grow, lalo na pag nag night games na kami, which we’re working on that, we’re planning to do that for next year.”

Banner Image courtesy of the Philippine Beach Games. 

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