Women’s football in the Philippines has a new patron.
Speaking to a mix of bloggers and reporters last Friday (February 5) at Bonifacio Global City, Sen. Pia Cayetano promoted her initiative to “empower girls one goal at a time” through the launch of a football festival to be held at the Bonifacio High Street Central Amphitheathre during Valentine’s weekend on February 13 and 14.
“One of my strongest advocacies has been empowering girls through sports, and football is perfect because it is seen as a fairly tough sport,” said the senator.
The all-girls 3 a-side football tournament will feature 3 divisions, namely the Girls 13 & Under, Girls 16 & Under, and the Women’s Open category.
In addition to the 3 a-side tournament, there will be side events within the vicinity, such as sumo football, yoga sponsored by Beyond Yoga, and spinning and rowing sessions to be held by Saddle Row.
According to Sen. Cayetano, it’s been her dream to hold a football event at the “heart” of the city. Football and triathlon, she says, are sports where Filipinos have a good chance of excelling internationally as height isn’t as big a factor: “I’m a volleyball player at heart but my kids play football. Football like triathlon, the two main sports that I’m promoting, I feel are really the two sports Filipinos should be focusing on.”
The 3 a-side tournament is organized by Sen. Cayetano’s advocacy arm Pinay In Action (PIA) which aims to promote women empowerment through sports and fitness. Beneficiaries for the event include Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, also founded by Sen. Cayetano, and the “Batang Rogie” charity, established by University of the Philippines student-athlete Rogie Maglinas who recently passed away due to complications from cancer.
“What I want to do is create more pocket events where people see how fun it is, and can encourage other kids to pick it up faster. That’s the goal and then we threw in a lot of side events precisely to be able to attract people who are not necessarily interested in football.”
Moving forward, Sen. Cayetano says she looks to be a regular presence in the local football scene by organizing more tournaments including 11 a-side competitions.
“The way I look at it I’m just one piece of that puzzle…There are quite a few components, but I’ll do my part in whatever way I can.”