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Love, sweat love: Fun sports for couples

MANILA, Philippines – Whether you're grinding it out together or facing each other on the opposite ends of the court, sports can really bring people together and fuel the flames of love. 

Rappler Hustle shares some stories from these couples who came together because of their active lifestyle and continue to enjoy the sweat life together. 

Volleyball: Deanna Wong and Jema Galanza

BIG HIT. Jema Galanza (left) and Deanna Wong continue to grow in love through volleyball. Photo courtesy of Janine Torre/Fabilioh

UAAP volleyball's "Battle of the Blue Birds" got so heated that it triggered a spark between setter Deanna Wong of the Ateneo Lady Eagles and spiker Jema Galanza of the Adamson Lady Falcons. 

At least that's what fans thought as many speculated that their relationship developed after a heated staredown moment in one game.

But Wong told Rappler that they actually spoke to each other for the first time after Galanza's final  UAAP game in 2018 at the Blue Eagle Gym. 

"My team just finished training when their game was about to start. We decided to watch them play and after their game, we got to talk to each other," said Wong, who is currently recovering from an injury. 

Both are public about their blossoming relationship and even if Galanza graduated from the UAAP and has been playing for the Creamline Cool Smashers, they still faced each other during the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference. 

How did you guys get into the sport?

Jema: Bata pa lang ako hilig ko na kasi father ko coach ng volleyball tapos si ate nag-volleyball so iyon nga, parang kasama na talaga sa buhay namin 'yung sports tapos hanggang sa tinuloy ko na hanggang mag college ako.

(I love playing volleyball since I was young because my father is a volleyball coach and my older sister was also playing volleyball, so sports has really been part of our lives and I just continued training until I was in college.) 

Deanna: I got into the sport because one of my classmates told me to try volleyball. My first sport was basketball, but coming from the province and a girls' school, it wasn't an option so I said, "Yeah, okay. Try ko 'to (I should try it)", just for fun. Never did I realize I was trying out for the varsity team until I was picked. I got shocked knowing that I was going to play volleyball for real and continued to be in the sport I've been playing for 6 years and counting. 

What makes it a great sport for couples? 

Jema: Exciting kapag kalaban mo partner mo and siyempre gaganahan ka maglaro kasi yung inspirasyon mo makakasama mo sa loob ng court. Iyon nga lang sa kabilang side ng court.

(It's exciting if your partner is your opponent and of course, you'll be motivated to play because you're with your inspiration inside the court. But it's just that she's on the other side.)

Deanna: Challenging kasi nandoon 'yung competitiveness sa isa't isa. Like both of us ayaw magpapatalo eh. And siyempre nakakainspire kasi 'yun nga, nandoon siya pero sa kabilang court nga lang.

(It's challenging actually because we're both competitive, like both of us don't want to lose. And of course, it's inspiring because she's there, but she's just on the other side of the court. 

Indoor Cycling: EG Bautista and Gino Santos

QUALITY TIME. EG Bautista (left) and Gino Santos sweat it out together from Ride Rev to the gym. Photo courtesy of EG Bautista

EG Bautista, an indoor cycling instructor for Ride Revolution, has made fitness a part of his lifestyle. Since getting together with his boyfriend Gino Santos – who's likewise a fitness enthusiast – they are able to spend a lot of quality time together while they go about their workout regimen. 

How did you guys get into this workout?

EG: Since getting together, Gino has started coming to my class more (now less forced, haha). It has become a chance for us to not just spend time together, but also get our cardio in.

I recently signed up for Anytime Fitness, which Gino has been a member for awhile now. Together, we make it a point to hit the gym – most of the time after a Ride Rev class. It’s the best combination.

What makes it a great workout for couples?

EG: When taking a Ride Revolution class, it really doesn’t feel like a workout. It’s more like partying on a bike – and doing it together makes it all the more fun! You both try to challenge yourself while dancing and singing to the music. 

Climbing: Pia Ranada and Dru Robles 

GREATER HEIGHTS. Pia Ranada-Robles (right) and her husband Dru conquer different climbing levels together. Photo courtesy of Pia Ranada

Beyond her hectic life as Rappler's Malacañang beat reporter, Pia Ranada-Robles actively destresses herself through sports climbing with her husband Dru, who introduced her to the sport. Apart from just staying fit and enjoying breathtaking views, the couple has also been able to explore the world. (READ: Tips for bringing your dog on outdoor adventures)

How did you guys get into the sport?

Pia: Dru was first at the sport. He started climbing as a young kid. When we began dating, he began bringing me to climbing gyms to introduce me to it. At first, it was hard to get into because of the fear factor and the need to build up endurance to do a lot of routes but eventually I got addicted to it. Eventually, I grew to love the sport and on days when Dru wouldn’t feel motivated to climb, I’d be the one pushing him so we pushed each other to keep at it. 

What makes it a great workout for couples?

Pia: It’s an amazing bonding experience. Climbing, especially top rope and lead climbing, are definitely pair activities because there’s a climber and a belayer. It builds trust because you need each other to stay safe. It’s also complex and difficult enough that the sport keeps you hooked for a long time.

There’s always a next big challenge the both of you can work yourselves towards whether it’s to conquer a dream route or achieve a certain climbing level. Then there’s the travel aspect because once you start doing outdoor climbing, you go to different parts of the country and the world to try out famous crags and that’s a whole new world to explore as a couple. Plus, the very warm climbing community makes the whole experience more social and more exciting. It's great to meet new people with your special someone.

Animal Flow: Faisal Tabusalla and Angel Alberto

WORKOUT BUDDIES. Angel Alberto (left) and Faisal Tabusalla embrace the fit life. Photo by courtesy of Faisal Tabusalla

Faisal Tabusalla and Angel Alberto were far from living their best and fittest lives before discovering Animal Flow, which is a form of bodyweight exercise. As they journeyed deeper into the practice, not only do they get to bond, they also make sure to encourage others to try the workout.

How did you guys get into this workout?

Fai and Ange: We’ve been together for 7 years. In the earlier years of our relationship, Fai was a national record-holding powerlifter and Ange was a Grade-A certified couch potato. At one point we realized we were abusing our bodies to two different extremes. Fai’s heavy lifting left him constantly sore and injured. Ange was constantly tired and could barely make it to the top of the stairs without losing her breath. One thing lead to another and we found ourselves looking for a way to actually feel good in our bodies. This is how we began our journey into Animal Flow and bodyweight movement.

What makes it a great workout for couples?

Fai and Ange: It’s an activity that you can set aside time to spend together where you know you’re doing something really good for your body and your mind. You connect to yourself, your body, and the people around you, where you are at the moment. Flowing with your partner can be a great way to be fully present together while building a new skill and a healthy hobby. Plus, you get really mobile and limber.

Badminton: Kim Chan and Josh Obeles

ACTIVE LIFESTYLE. Kim Chan (right) and Josh Obeles cross badminton paths. Photo courtesy of Kim Chan

Badminton has always been a great sports acitivity for a barkada or even an avenue for meeting new people. It's thanks to this sport that Kim and Josh got to meet and it remains to be their main form of exercise after all their calorie-inducing dates.  

How did you guys get into the sport?

Kim: We started gaining weight from all our food trips so we had to find an exercise that we'll enjoy and not treat as a bothersome thing to do. We chose badminton, since it's our common sport and we have friends who also play so we thought its like a 3-in-1 thing: we get to go on a date while spending time with our friends and exercise all at the same time. 

What makes it a great workout for couples?

Kim: It's a great workout for couples since it will allow the couples to play against each other or as a team so it creates a healthy competition and collaboration. 


Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.