Category Archives: Philippine Football

World Cup Fever

FIFA World Cup 2014
I really should have put this out earlier but I’ve been busy lately. I’ve said it before that research is not my strength and trying to find out where expats or Filipinos for that matter can watch the World Cup from Brazil has not been an easy task. On top of that, I’m about as technical as a caveman and I really don’t know how to explain about streaming online, etc. so I will just assume your cleverer than me with all that side of things and will keep this simple. Live streams are available but I’m about as much use as a fish to mend your car when it comes to explaining how it works.

One of the tragedies of being in a nation that is not much into football means that it’s not easy finding somewhere to watch the games. It’s especially more difficult when the host nation, Brazil is 11 hours behind the Philippines, meaning the games are from midnight to the early hours of the morning.

For everyone’s benefit, the FIFA World Cup website provides a full schedule of the games and kick off times locally. As you can see, this is a World Cup for the nocturnal if you are in the Philippines.

I hoped that I would have found a list online of bars and venues throughout the Philippines where you can watch the games but I’ve had little time to find any such lists and I don’t have the resources to search the nation for places to watch.
Check out any sports bars or expat bars in your area. I hope readers will provide more information as to where people can watch the game and I will update the list as I receive the information.

TV Coverage

First of all, just in case anyone doesn’t know already, Balls Channel is covering every game. The last match of the group games where they play simultaneously will show a delayed version of one match and the other game live. Balls is a sports cable channel which is subscription based so check with your provider to have it added to your viewing access.

Another option available for Sky Cable subscribers is a pay per view option.

If you’re coming to the Philippines during the World Cup, be sure to check with the hotel where you plan to stay that they have coverage available; if not, book another hotel that offers full coverage in your room.

Places To Watch the World Cup

Many like to soak up the atmosphere by watching it live with others. As there are people here from all over the world, it should be a cosmopolitan affair. Information has not been easy to find for venues covering the World Cup outside of Metro Manila. Sorry I can’t be of more help but I suggest you search for sports bars in your location and give them a call.

If anyone can inform me of places I haven’t mentioned whether in Metro Manila or any province then give me as much information as possible and I will add it to the list. The places I have found so far that seem to be covering the World Cup are as follows:

H & J Sports Bar

Felipe St.
Makati
(02) 954 1130

Skinny Mike’s Sports Bar

32nd St. corner Justice Drive
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig
(02) 551 1853

Howzat

8471 Kalayaan Avenue
Poblacion
Makati City
(02) 897 3335

Handlebar

31 Polaris Street
Bel-Air Village
Makati City
(02) 898 2189

Union Jack Tavern

2nd Level, Festival Supermall
Alabang
Muntinlupa City
(02) 850 3739
(It was suggested to me by the management to make reservations before you attend as they need to obtain permits.)

Gweilos Bar & Restaurant

Eastwood City Walk 1, E Rodriguez Jr Ave.
Bagumbayan
Quezon City
(02) 421 2283

Mario’s Kitchen

1st Floor, The Exchange Regency Hotel
Exchange Road corner Jade Drive
Brgy. San Antonio
Ortigas Center
Pasig
(02) 425 3695
marioskitchen.ortigas@gmail.com

Mario’s Kitchen

G/F F&M Lopez II Bldg
109 Palanca St.
Legazpi Village
Makati
(02) 584 2945

Snap Sports Bar

CCP Complex
Roxas Boulevard
Pasay City
1300 Metro Manila
(02) 832 6993
H6308@sofitel.com

Boracay

Crafty’s Rooftop Bar and Restaraunt

Station 2 Main Road 
(Above Crafts of Boracay Supermarket) 
Boracay
(036) 288 6857

Rumbas Sports Bar & Restaurant

(showing the England Matches that start at 12 Midnight)
D’mall Station 2
Boracay Island
5608
(036) 288 5971

I would say that if you’re in the English-speaking republic of Makati, then you’re going to be well-served with choices as to where to watch games. In the provinces, it may be another matter.

The timings of the games suggest it is not going to be easy with games going on between midnight and 9 AM here. Many places would need special permits for extensions to their usual bar hours so always call first.

Even with the places I have listed here, always call before you go as I’m sure in certain cases they may not be open so check to save yourself a wasted journey and potentially missing the games.

This could be the best World Cup ever and one I’m sure many would not want to miss. Brazil is the Mecca of football fans the world over. The music and culture of Brazil will add flavour to the most exciting sports event on earth I’m sure. Enjoy.

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Manufacturing Celebrity

Photo courtesy of the AzkalsFootballTeam.com - The Official Website

Photo courtesy of the AzkalsFootballTeam.com – The Official Website

I’m writing this tale because I’m sick to death of so many injustices, and a sadness about a strange syndrome here in the Philippines where foreign looks is a key to gaining celebrity status. I am British and wish to not be hurtful towards someone like Phil Younghusband, but what can I say when he plays his game not too well on the pitch and becomes such an opportunist off it.

He was raised in England of an English father and a Filipina mother. Yet he’s been prepared to eat from the bottom of the tank and therefore became a part of everything that is wrong about celebrity culture in the Philippines. Not just because he rode the tide of interest in his foreign looks but because he so undeservedly became a created celebrity. In fact, the question I’m asking is how did he become a celebrity at all? I don’t begrudge a man a career, just as long as others know that that is exactly what it is about, a man’s career. He seems to be entitled to it mainly because he plays the game, and I don’t mean football, but because he’s half foreign which makes him a great package for advertisers. He has stepped into a world of celebrity which in his case is built on being foreign, because if you examine his career, it really doesn’t stand up as anything.

He turned professional at Chelsea back in March 2005. He was with Chelsea from the age of 9. That’s not too unusual these days in the world of football. I will give credit where it is due and say that being taken on by a rich club like Chelsea is no mean feat. His youth career was impressive enough but there must be thousands of half decent youths around eagerly signed by clubs just in case they are missing a talent. What happens after is where the real test is. Well putting it briefly he never really made the grade. No first team appearances
not even when he was farmed out on loan to top flight Danish club Esbjerg. Chelsea obviously never fancied him and he was cut loose presumably after being told, we don’t think you have what it takes, son.

Okay, I’m not holding any of this against him as he is far from alone at not making the grade. It’s a tough business and unfortunately it never happened for him in England. It would appear nobody else came in for him out of the million or so clubs at all levels worldwide so time to change life plan, and change life plan he certainly did.

The Celebrity Creation

Photo courtesy of Phil Younghusband's Instagram account

Photo courtesy of Phil Younghusband’s Instagram account

So how does a footballer that has failed to make the grade as a professional become a celebrity in the Philippines? That’s an excellent question and I’m not sure I know the answer. In a country desperately short of footballers of any quality, he managed to become selected for the Philippines national squad, the Azkals (derived from a local term for street dogs).

Some time after he came to the Philippines he joined a local outfit San Beda before moving on to his current club Loyola Meralco Sparks.

I’m not sure of the timing but somewhere before in all this, he and his brother James began a football academy acquiring Phil level 2 UEFA coaching badge, and James level one. Not sure whether this was started by sponsors or whether the academy was a venture of the Younghusbands’ own.

Along with his brother James, Phil Younghusband enjoyed virtual automatic selection for the Philippines national squad which they were entitled to through their Filipina mother. No real controversy there as the Philippines does have a shortage of quality footballers; it’s simply not a football country.

Then as fortune would have it, the Philippines football team, somewhat starved of any success for many years reached the semi finals of the 2010 Suzuki cup which was a 2 leg affair with both legs having to be held in Indonesia in front of crowds of 70,000 for the first leg and a massive 88,000 for the second leg. The reason for this was that no stadium in the Philippines was up to the minimum standard meaning for larger tournaments they could not play on home soil. The Philippines lost both legs 1-0 and they enjoyed a new lease of life and suddenly in a country that hardly knew what football was, the Azkals suddenly became a huge focus of the local media.

The story virtually petered out from there as regards the football. What seemed to happen next was the Azkals became marketable with the Younghusbands being the most marketable of all due to their foreign looks. It would appear that Phil very happily took up his new new role. Suddenly, sponsorships from television and other leading companies of the whole Azkal’s circus meant that
football became second to the modeling career and brand endorsements. Other members of the squad who were equally as talented as footballers weren’t as marketable as they’re full blood Filipinos. Phil and James went from strength to strength becoming brand endorsers especially Phil.

Phil with Angel Locsin (taken from his Instagram account)

Phil with Angel Locsin (taken from his Instagram account)

His celebrity status was then taken up a notch by an alleged relationship with leading Filipina actress and singer Angel Locsin. Both had the same sponsors
and I have no idea about the validity of that relationship or whether it was simply contrived as it does seem to be the way of things when creating marketable packages such as Phil Younghusband.

Then the inevitable story after the relationship has run its course, the split up. With many products to endorse onboard and after interviews on celebrity TV about the relationship with Angel etc, a career is cemented and I think you know the rest.

What happened to the football in all this, I have no idea. It seemed to be becoming secondary as the Younghusband brothers got deeper into brand endorsements. The inevitable happened and Philippines national coach Michael Weiss, a German whose job it was to actually select a national football squad, decided to not include them in his plans. It seemed extracurricular activities being the reasoning and you can’t really blame him.

I may be missing something but the rest of the squad doesn’t seem to be overly brand endorsing and still play for the Philippines. The ones of full Filipino blood probably the most overlooked when it comes to demonstrating ways to avoid the white stuff on your shoulders along with other things.

What’s the point behind this tale of formerly unemployed footballers becoming celebrities in the Philippines? Well, I will allow you to connect the dots yourself, but I can’t help but wonder how Filipinos must feel watching the glorification of a character built on not success but on having brand-able foreign looks. Strangely, out of the two, it was Phil who appears to have stage managed a greater career out of it whilst his better looking brother James has not been as manufactured.

I also tell you this to point out something a little ugly within Filipino media culture. I have no idea where this leaves the football. How long will it last? Time will tell.

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Filed under Impressions, Manila, Philippine Football, Philippines