Quick, name one Filipino adult who has never set foot on a basketball court in his entire life.
Impossible, isn’t it?
For a game that favors relatively tall people, it’s rather impressive how basketball has permeated Filipino culture. To this day, it is the nation’s most popular sport. Here, the passion is so great that you’d see people play it while wearing slippers, sandals, or sometimes, even barefoot. But nothing reinstates this fact better than the presence of basketball hoops everywhere—on the sides of buildings, in front of sari-sari stores, even in the middle of the street.
More than Just a Sports Venue
Basketball is so deeply ingrained in the local culture, that it’s hard to find a neighborhood that doesn’t have a basketball court tucked somewhere. Virtually every town has it. In fact, there are more basketball courts than there are barangay health centers. Moneyed districts may pride themselves with a “covered court,” while others will have at least some form of clay court.
More than just being a location for recreation however, these places serve a bigger social purpose. Be it a council meeting or the barangay singing contest, basketball courts are default venues for holding community events. Is the school year about to end? There’s a good chance that the local public school will hold graduation ceremonies in there. Did a typhoon ravage the neighborhood? Expect the covered court to be turned into an evacuation center. In a sense, the place has become the de facto town square for most communities.
“To Filipinos, the basketball court is a symbol of the community spirit,” says Kristine Martinez, Alaxan FR Product Director, citing how a people bound by a common love for the game go to the courts not just to hone their skills, but also to bond with the rest of the community. “It’s a cultural icon, one that carries huge social impact,” she stressed.
Seeing the potential to drive social value, Alaxan FR is harnessing the power of the community through the Aray Natin, Galing Natin campaign—a collaborative effort between small-town locals to construct these symbols of community, and turn them into something that moves people to aim for greatness.
For its initial project, Alaxan FR chose Iloilo. Driven by the desire to provide their community with its first real basketball court, locals from barangay Tabuc Suba in Jaro District were brought together to build their own “Court of Inspiration” under the campaign. Upon completion, the place will be filled with “Legend Markers”—marking areas with powerful messages conveying accomplishments and legacies of basketball legends—to inspire themselves to strive hard to accomplish the same. Through the effort, Alaxan FR aims to teach the locals to embody the values that make champions.
Barangay Tabuc Suba is just the first of many places where Alaxan FR is building Courts of Inspiration, according to Martinez. Courts of Inspiration will soon break ground in nine other areas. For Visayas, they are to rise in Bacolod, Dumaguete, Tacloban, and Cebu. In Mindanao, construction will begin shortly in the communities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Zamboanga, and General Santos. Through these projects, the campaign aims to give members of communities in different parts of our country pride in having personally built something that doesn’t just hone their skills, but builds their character as well.
“I was impressed at people’s willingness to jump at the opportunity to serve their community at our initial project in Iloilo and I believe I’d witness the same level of enthusiasm in the communities where succeeding Courts of Inspiration are to be built,” added Martinez. “For the noble effort that people have exerted for the projects, we’re planning to give them a special treat after the completion of the projects. That’s something they should watch out for,” she ends.