Beach Hut Sunscreen builds platform for Filipina dreams with pioneer Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival

Giselle S. Barrientos

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Beach Hut Sunscreen builds platform for Filipina dreams with pioneer Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival

CHAMPIONS. Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival grand champion Manila Digger celebrates on stage as they receive their P100,000 cash, Beach Hut products, and sponsor prizes during the awarding ceremony.

In pursuing their long-time mission to uplift grassroots women’s football, Beach Hut marks a major milestone with the launch of its nationwide annual tournament

In the past few years, Filipina athletes have surpassed expectations and raised the bar to international stages – think Hidilyn Diaz, Margielyn Didal, and the Philippine Women’s National Football Team (PWNFT), for starters. This proves that women in sports can show up and show out when given the right support and platform.

Beach Hut Sunscreen firmly believes in this, which is why one of the brand’s missions is to support and uplift young Filipina footballers to pursue their passions. Culminating years of work with and for the Filipina football community, the brand held its inaugural Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival finals last May 4 in Boracay.

FACE-OFF. Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival finalists Manila Digger and Borongan FC vying for a place in the football tournament.

The event brought together seven women’s division teams from Luzon and Visayas to compete for the grand prize of P100,000. In support of the festival, PWNFT players Hali Long, Inna Palacios, Cam Rodriguez, and UP Women’s Football Team player Bethany Talbot also played an exhibition game alongside some of the tournament players.

Kickstarting young Filipinas’ football dreams

“At Beach Hut, we’re not just about making your favorite sunscreen. We’re dedicated to nurturing young talent and building a love for the game, especially by championing grassroots women’s football,” said Cherrie Barretto, marketing director for Beach Hut, encapsulating the brand’s mission in the community.

Beach Hut’s footprint in women’s football began five years ago when they started the Beach Hut Football Club (Beach Hut FC), the first all-girls football club in the Philippines. Rappler talked to 15-year-old Kaira Favis, a Beach Hut FC registered player. She had been playing endlessly throughout the festival, but still had boundless energy and was all smiles throughout our conversation. 

She told us about their robust training regimens, with sessions thrice a week coupled with games on weekends. In preparation for the festival, they also trained without shoes on turf pitches and jogged in the sun to develop their endurance and agility. 

At Beach Hut FC, the girls found an avenue to push their limits while still keeping their safety in check. “…they were able to actually form an all-girls team where they empower women to do better and play football,” said Kaira.

Along with forming a tight-knit community akin to family, Kaira and the other young Beach Hut FC players gained access to facilities, coaching, and even international tournaments to hone both their athletic skills and personal development. In the spirit of accessibility and empowerment, Beach Hut also currently supports 26 athlete scholars, shouldering their training tuition and fees when competing out of town. 

“The goal is not only sa inside ng field ma-develop sila, but also outside the field, to contribute sa community,” shared Joyce Landagan, Beach Hut FC’s coach since its inception.

TEAM PRIDE. (From L-R clockwise) Manila Digger, Gabbal Makati FC, Ilonggo United FC, and Beach Hut FC snap group photos during the Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival in Boracay.

Through the Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival, the brand is expanding its reach to players across the nation and positioning the sport as a force to be reckoned with. “The way [Beach Hut] did it is with intention. They came with professionalism. They want to protect the girls and ramdam ng lahat ‘yon,” said PWNFT midfielder Cam Rodriguez. “Beach Hut is truly setting the standard.”

Creating a safe space to go all-out

With beach football being a demanding sport, Beach Hut made sure that the area prioritized safety, with first aid responders, a hydration station, and a free sunscreen station to protect the girls. PWNFT defender Hali Long stressed the importance of this.

“They’re protected inside and out from harm, from [the] sun, from disrespect. It’s all fair play here. And that’s what matters,” said Long.

ROLE MODELS. Philippine women’s football athletes share their experience playing with finalists of the Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival through an exhibition game. (L-R: Cam Rodriguez, Paolo del Rosario, Bethany Talbot, Hali Long, Inna Palacios)

Beach Hut also cultivates an atmosphere of security within their team, helping the girls concentrate on playing their best game not only physically, but mentally. Rappler also got to talk to Beach Hut FC scholar Joshper Halili, who found love at first kick with football during her fifth grade in primary school. Through the scholarship, she was able to devote her attention to the love of the game. It enabled her to take her talents to other parts of the Philippines, and eventually even overseas. 

“[Beach Hut doesn’t] ask anything in return…I hope we’ll be able to pay [Tita Emily, Tito Dennis, (Beach Hut founders)] back with more trophies and more wins,” said Joshper.

Building a platform for future generations

The Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival ended with Manila Digger bagging the championship and P100,000 cash prize, Borongan FC coming in at second place with P50,000, and Beach Hut’s very own Beach Hut FC, the sole youth team in the festival, in third place with P25,000. This is the brand’s first run of the Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival, and the brand aims for more years to come and more teams to participate across the country.

SECOND PLACE. Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival second placers Borongan FC snaps a group photo as they receive their P50,000 cash prize, Beach Hut products, and sponsor prizes during the awarding ceremony. 
THIRD PLACE. Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival third placers Beach Hut FC gather onstage to receive their PHP 25,000 cash prize, Beach Hut products, and sponsor prizes during the awarding ceremony.

“I’m glad that Beach Hut is one of the brands that are taking the initiative now to create more tournaments, especially for all-girls, because that was unheard of when I was growing up,” said UP footballer Bethany Talbot, who talked about how it was already considered a privilege to play in mixed teams during her childhood. With Beach Hut, stories like that are slowly becoming a thing of the past. As platforms like the Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival grow, girls are empowered to think of football not as a hobby, but as an actual career.

Aside from the fun, events like the Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival increase the visibility of women’s football and open new doors for the players. Beach Hut FC scholars are being scouted by universities and the players are getting direct lines to elite athletes like the PWNFT players. Teams from across the nation are reaching out to join, helping the sport gain momentum on a national level.

“It’s so important that we help each other in the community to grow the sport because we know our end goal. And our end goal is to see more girls do what we’re doing right now,” said PWNFT goalkeeper Inna Palacios, who looks forward to the Beach Hut Women’s Beach Football Festival’s growth as a building block for Filipina football. 

When you’re out in the sun doing what you love, Beach Hut Sunscreen can help you have maximum fun with maximum protection. Follow them at @beachhutsunblock on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about their community impact or sign up for the Beach Hut FC. – Rappler.com

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