Philippine National Police

Volleyball: Striking the interest of Filipinos since 1910

David Lozada
A look at volleyball, and Filipinos' contributions to the sport

FILIPINO FAVORITE. Filipinos can play volleyball even without a court and with incomplete number of players. All we need is a ball and we’re good to go.

MANILA, Philippines – Whether in schools, in television, or in the streets, volleyball is one of the sports that Filipinos love to play.

Volleyball first arrived in the country in 1910.

It was introduced to Filipinos by Elwood Brown of the Young Men’s Christian Association, and since then, has been a local favorite. Filipinos started playing volleyball as a street sport, but tweaked some of the rules to match different conditions.

Filipino contribution

The changes that Filipinos made to volleyball have contributed much to the evolution of the sport. According to, a partner of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, lot of the rules of modern day volleyball actually came from the Philippines, notably the spike and the set, invented around 1916.

A spike is a shot concentrated on making the ball travel faster, aiming to catch the opponent off guard. A set, on the other hand, is usually a contact that a player makes with the ball so as to set it up for the next player to send back to the opponent’s court.

Other rules brought by Filipino volleyball players to the sport include the 3-hit rule. Americans supposedly created this rule due to the fact that some Filipinos would let everyone in one side hit the ball first before passing it to the opponent. In a sense, this took out the competitive nature of the game.

Due to volleyball’s popularity, the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association was born in 1961. The name later turned into the Philippine Volleyball Federation, which is the national governing body of volleyball in the country.

Competitions here and abroad

Internationally, indoor, beach and grass volleyball is governed by Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) in Switzerland.

FIVB organizes international volleyball events, including the Olympic volleyball games, the World Championships, World Cup, World League (Men), World Grand Prix (Women) and FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Championships.

In the Philippines, volleyball is widely played from professional and amateur leagues to school sportsfests. The sport is the second most watched event in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), next to basketball.

The Philippine Volleyball Federation also holds various professional and amateur competitions. Other prominent volleyball competitions also include the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines (NCAA) and the Palarong Pambansa for elementary and secondary students.

Why it strikes us

Aside from its long stay in our country, there must be other reasons as to why volleyball still captures the interest of Filipinos until now. What is it with volleyball that makes it so relatable to Filipinos?

One reason, perhaps, why Filipinos love volleyball is its similarity to sipa/sepak takraw. The dynamics of the two games are very similar – the net, the ball and the skills. The only big difference is that volleyball players use their arms while sepak takraw players use their legs.

Another reason is that compared to other sports, volleyball does not require much equipment. All you actually need is a ball to toss. This makes it easy for Filipinos to set up and play a volleyball game. As long as there are two players, the game is good to go.

Lastly, volleyball does not require much space. Compared to baseball and football, which are some of the less popular sports in the country, you do not need much floor area to play the game. As long as the space is wide enough for players to toss the ball back and forth, it is already acceptable.

With the attention that volleyball is getting, it is expected to gain even more popularity in the coming years. The various tournaments and competitions give avenues for Filipino athletes to excel more in the sport — including the upcoming Palarong Pambansa. –