The early Filipinos engaged in certain forms of physical activity incidental to their living, such as planting, fishing, hunting, tree climbing, making tools and weapons, and building shelter and boats. Skill in the use of weapon; agility in running, jumping and climbing; strength and endurance in throwing and carrying heavy burdens were the physical attributes necessary for survival.
Music, associated with dance of primitive pantomime occupied the life of the ancient Filipinos. They sang while planting and rowing, and they sang and danced during the sacrifice offered to their gods, in their festivities, and in their funerals. Colonial Period and War Years
Spanish Period. The church greatly influenced the life of the Filipinos. The early schools started by the friars did not include physical education. The religious holidays offered opportunities for recreation. Games and contests often took place at the fiestas or religious festivals. There were also folk dances, songs and religious processions. Girls were taught to be modest and not to participate in various strenuous physical activities. Women were confined to become efficient housewives or for a religious life.
Some of the extracurricular activities of students were debates, dramatic performance, and programs in honor of high dignitaries. Some of the children were the members of the church choirs or orchestras which furnished the music for religious ceremonies.
Cockfighting, card games and other ethnic games were popular among the people.
American Period. The American period became known as the “Golden Age” of sports in the Philippines. Public schools made education possible for more students, girls as well as boys. Physical activities were included in the school programs. Filipino games as well as games from abroad were introduced such as basketball and softball. Sports facilities and equipment were provided. Outstanding programs later won honors for...