A New Year and an “Ultimate” Adventure

The “Ultimate” Adventure Begins.

It seems like the New Year was just upon us yesterday and here it is with the month of January already winding down. I have not been much of a faithful blogger these past few weeks and I have to blame it on a couple of things – our construction project next door, and my newest adventure… Ultimate Frisbee!

We have always had at least a couple Frisbees lying around and the wife and I would occasionally find ourselves at the park or the beach having a quiet and peaceful Frisbee toss. We brought our discs with us when we moved to Samar nearly three years ago and would always take them on family outings to the beach to throw and enjoy with family members. Our closest nephew sometimes will come over and ask me if I wan to throw and we will take a short walk to the Sands of Tomaligues and get some exercise. Recently however, my nephew has come down with a more serious affliction of the sport… Ultimate Frisbee. So I have taken it upon myself to teach him all about these identified flying objects. Hence, my new adventure!

Ultimate logoFirst though, I would need to get him his own disc. To honor and obey, to cherish and to hold, till the romance wore off. Ultimate Frisbee has gained strong popularity worldwide in recent years and also here in the Philippines, just not here in Samar. I had to travel nearly 4 hours to Tacloban to hunt for Frisbees and I finally found about six on display in the most unlikely of all places, a musical instrument store. Apparently, Frisbee is not that popular on the island of Leyte either. Anyway, I purchased one for him and you would think I had bought him a new scooter or something. He could hardly believe his eyes while holding his very own bright orange Frisbee!

Identified Flying Objects!

Since becoming the proud owner of his very own flying disc, his local popularity has swelled. Now he would play in the street and the beach whenever time allowed. I played a lot with him in the beginning, now his friends join in. The local kids have copied us by creating their own flying discs out of anything that will emulate a frisbee, most notably, plastic paint can (Boysen Paint) lids. Even the smallest of kids are throwing “little” discs which might be a lid off a small tub of margarine or something similar. Anyway, the Frisbee craze has taken hold here in barangay Tomaligues. One afternoon while I stood on my back steps, I could see about 10 guys with my nephew playing a game on the beach while another game with younger kids was taking place down the street from the house… and the littlest of kids (5 and 6 year olds) were just out front of the house with someones’ mama’s small Tupperware lid. Now, keep in mind these games I speak of are not the organized version of “Ultimate Frisbee.” This, I would have to teach.

Different Flying Discs
Flying Discs

Picking Up The Pace!

After several weeks of coaching, teaching how to throw and catch, reviewing the rules and governance of the game, we began to have real scrimmages. These kids are now addicted! What I find interesting is that many of these new players are the same boys that would get pushed aside on the local basketball court, maybe because they weren’t quite good enough, or more likely because they weren’t tall enough! Well guess what, these kids learn quick and with their speed and agility (height not withstanding), Filipinos make excellent “Ultimate” players. It is no wonder the Boracay Dragons are ranked one of the best Beach Ultimate teams in the world. They are referred to as the “Beach Kings of Asia.”

Boracay Dragons Ultimate Frisbee Team
Boracay Dragons Ultimate Frisbee Team

This last week, we got even moe serious and acquired everything we needed to create field of play sideline markers and goal line markers. We organized and played our first public exhibition match at the Mondejares Beach Resort right next to our village. Even though we only had a couple of onlookers come to observe up close, the match could be easily seen from the resort. And because I considered the match to be a complete local success, it will forever be a reminder to the local kids that there is always something better to do than to get sucked into the normal rut of a routine they are accustomed to succumb to like early age smoking, drinking and gambling. Ultimate is just one more activity that can help to occupy their time and to help them become more productive members of the community. While prepping the beach for Ultimate play, we also stress the importance of keeping the beaches litter free, and the sand bars free of garbage and sharp objects, especially broken glass, where they can run around barefoot, without having any fear of injury. First and foremost, we teach that a litter-free beach is the most important thing that affects this game. We are now considering imposing further player eligibility rules such as they must be attending school to participate… but this can be a little more complex than the litter issue. We’ll see.

Red Team wins first exhibition match!
Brgy. Tomaligues “Red” Team wins our first exhibition match!

It’s Official.

Now that we have formed a solid “barangay team,” we are hoping to expand the sport and interest to the surrounding barangays. Our wish is that 2016 will be the year that sees “Ultimate” expand into a barangay vs. barangay level competition. We are already planning on organizing a two-day, 4-on-4 tournament for our Fiesta next month (February) to help promote the sport. We have also launched the Calbayog Ultimate Frisbee Facebook page for anybody that might be interested in learing about the sport locally. My nephew Jeric Gal will be charged with the continued organization, function, and operation of Calbayog Ultimate Frisbee. I will remain involved to advise and assist wherever I am needed. Fundraising efforts will clearly be needed to keep the interest moving forward and I look forward to having just one more thing to keep me occupied.

At the Boracay Open
At the Boracay Open

Besides, if I can’t play Outdoor Racquetball, it’s a good way to get some much-needed exercise!

Note: While I mentioned that Frisbee is a rather unknown sport on the island of Samar where I live, it is hugely popular (grass field venue) in the NCR (National Capital Region) with the annual Manila Spirits Tournament, and in Boracay with the Beach Ultimate Open. The Boracay Open 2016 is already scheduled with over 64 teams expected from around the world to played the last week of April this year. 

Watch last years Boracay Open Highlight Reel.

Ultimate Beach Frisbee at Mondejares Resort
Our Beach Ultimate field layout