Sports and Leisure


Sports and Leisure in the Philippines

After the last blog I decided to go a little lighter and provide some insight on sports and leisure in the Philippines. Also an update on some fun things I have done outside of the office.
The number one sport in the Philippines is basketball. There isn’t even a close second. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is the professional league here. It has some interesting team names as well as rules. All the teams are named after corporations like the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters, the San Miquel Beerman and the Alaska Aces (a milk company). And yes, there are games here between a beer and a milk company.
Boxing may be the second most popular sport and the boxer, Manny Pacquiqo, is one of the biggest celebrities in the Philippines. He is an elected member of the House of Representatives and also is listed as the head coach of the professional basketball team- the Mahindra Enforcers. He even suits up and plays for them sometimes.
The PBA rules also allow one player on each team who is not of Filipino descent. The import as they are called is usually a taller player from the United States. Here is where the rules get interesting. If your team doesn’t make the playoffs you are allowed an import the following year who up to 6 feet 9 inches tall. If your team makes the playoffs your import has to be shorter- 6 foot 5 inches or less. There are basketball only channels on TV. The NBA is real popular with lots of people walking around in NBA jerseys. I got a chance to attend a game at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Alaska verses Phoenix


PBA star Calvin Abueva interview (me in background)


I also have been playing basketball at GSK with employees. Many different employees play but it’s mainly security guards. At night the parking lot becomes the court once all the cars clear out. In tropical weather with 90% humidity it’s definitely tiring.

Before game at GSK

Philippines is made of over 7,000 islands, so there is a lot of great scuba diving. Also there are a number of shipswrecks as a result of WWII sea battles. The boats that take you diving are called bancas. They have outriggers on both sides for stability Made up of bamboo logs lashed together. Diving is a sport that tourists and locals enjoy. With all the islands and water one interesting Philippines fact is that the majority of the population can’t swim.

Dive boats

The last leisure activity I’ll mention is shopping. Malls are a big deal in Manila. I was never a big fan of malls in the U.S. but here I’m in them here on daily basis. They offer everything you need from Karaoke to Krispy Kreme donuts. They even offer daily mass.

People waiting in line for a Jeepney at mall

If you made it this far in the blog thanks for reading. Hopefully you are getting a sense of what’s it like here in the Philippines!


  1. Very cool. Glad you’re seeing all aspects of their culture and interests outside of the important work you’re doing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Dean. So great to see your pictures and learn about the sports and leisure opportunities in the Philippines. Very exciting to have you representing GSK! Keep the stories coming… we miss you!

  3. Great post, Dean! Can’t believe they have no lacrosse there!! Love the pic of you behind the player being interviewed! Also very jealous that you can get Krispy Kreme donuts! I can’t get them here near Philly! Thanks for sharing a bit of the Phillipines culture!!

  4. So true! Malls over malls, basketball on every TV screen, and the beautiful islands around us. I haven’t started my diving adventure yet, hopefully soon. Let’s plan something between the 3 of us, Dean — Natalie and I are often coming to Manila for meetings. And you can come visit us in cool and rural Tagaytay as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s