New Homes for Sports and Wellness

| Written by Stephanie Cabigao

Be it on the lines, on the lanes, at the nets, on the courts, on the fields or on the floor, UP’s athletes have made history and a name in sports. While they may be struggling today to recover lost luster in some areas, the University’s Maroons were not named “Fighting” for nothing.

New blood, new coaches, and new management with a new game plan will make that happen. After all, UP is a university like no other. Its charter puts sports squarely in the context of “training and learning in leadership, responsible citizenship, and the development of democratic values, institutions and practice through academic and non-academic programs, including sports, and the enhancement of nationalism and national identity.”

But to meet these lofty goals, the University needs to provide its athletes—and anyone else interested in health and wellness—with the proper facilities for training and competition. And true to its mission, UP has not been remiss in making this possible.

And while UP Diliman, being the largest constituent university, often hogs the headlines—its new sports complex will soon boast a new football field, football stadium, and track oval—encouraging initiatives in sports and wellness have been arising elsewhere across the System.

Mindanao’s “Mecca of Sports”

One of these bright new spots can be found in UP Mindanao, which has worked closely with the City Government of Davao to put up a sports complex aimed at serving as “a unifying venue to showcase the common and distinctive social, cultural, indigenous heritage and identity of the people of Mindanao through the development of sports and human kinetics.”

Construction of the Multi-Purpose Building (Football Stadium Phase (Photo by DPWH XI)

According to Cherrylyn F. De Leon-Cabrera of UP Mindanao, the idea for the DC-UP Sports Complex began in 1998 with the creation of the Mayor Elias B. Lopez Sports Foundation, Inc. (MELSF) to oversee the planning and management of a sports complex inside the UPM campus as well as the administration and sustainability of the city’s sports programs.

But things really took off only in 2013 when then Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte revived the plan for a sports complex in Davao, spurring meetings between the city government and UP. In April 2015, the Davao City Council authorized Mayor Duterte to sign an MOU with UP, and in July, the BOR authorized President Alfredo E. Pascual to do the same for UP. The MOU was then signed on August 6, 2015.

Under the MOU, UP Mindanao will provide a 20-hectare site for the complex, while the City of Davao will provide and develop the infrastructure facilities at par with international standards.

This so-called “Mecca of Sports” draws on many inspirations: the Canberra Stadium in Australia; the Yankee Stadium in New York, USA; and Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain. Its Human Kinetics Center looks back on the Australian Institute of Sports, the National Institute of Sports in India, and the Institute of Sports of the Heidelberg University in Germany.

According to its site development plan, the DC-UP Sports Complex envision a sports venue that will have a training gym; a football stadium; a football field; a track oval; an aquatics center; a sports arena/coliseum; a medical center and athletes’ dormitory; open and public areas for hiking, skateboarding, among others; a multi-level public transportation terminal and parking areas; as well as a tree-road network.

Panoramic-aerial view of the on-going construction of the DC-UP Sports Complex (Photo by DPWH XI)

Working closely with the University’s Office of the Vice President for Development, the construction of the following facilities is underway:

Training gym.The basket-like structure is taken from the handy container that the indigenous people of Mindanao use for food and goods. This functions as a sun-shade to the building, with its façade and windows in triangular shapes symbolizing the IP’s dominant symbol.

Concreting/Improvement of the UP Mindanao-Manambulan Road. The P50-million construction of a two-lane road along the upper perimeter of the sports complex is ongoing, being handled by the 2nd District Engineer’s Office (2DEO).

Multi-Purpose Building (Football Stadium Phase 1).The football stadium is being constructed in phases based on the available budget allotment for this site. Its initial budget of P50 million will build a 1,300-seater facility, which will house two locker rooms with bath and comfort rooms for the playing teams; office spaces for the FIFA as well as the local organizing committee (LCO); medical and doping rooms; a VIP room; a sports commentators’ room; public restrooms; and viewing areas especially made for PWDs and the like.

Multi-Purpose Building (Football Stadium Phase 2). Another P50-million endowment from the 2016 Local Infrastructure Program (LIP) of the DPWH XI-2DEO has enabled the Multi-Purpose Building (Football Stadium Phase 2) to be constructed, and it will extend Phase 1’s seating capacity by around 2,000. This will also house the “mixed zone” area, where it will hold the meet-and-greet between spectators and athletes, as well as provide a media holding area.

Sports Complex. The Sports Complex Building will host international football matches. Its civil works as well as its track oval is now being laid out for the installation of a FIFA-certified artificial turf including an IAAF-accredited synthetic track oval.

The Aquatics Center in Davao City draws its design from indigenous themes.

Construction of the P150-million sports complex—P70 million for the football field and track oval, and P80 million for the Aquatics Center Phase 1—is expected to begin within 2017.

Upon completion, the Aquatics Center is expected to have a 25 x 10m warm-up/warm-down pool that can be converted into a children’s pool and a 20-foot deep diving pool. Its design is inspired by the cultural and economic significance of water in Mindanao, taking the form of the Badjaos’ sama dilaut (tribal houseboat) and employing the patterns of t’nalak and bwengkel (crocodile).

UP Mindanao and the Davao City Local Government expect this “Mecca of Sports” to be completed by 2018.

Wellness in Manila

As the University’s leading institution in the field of medicine and public health, UP Manila’s promotion of sports and wellness among its constituents comes as no surprise.

Building perspective of the UPM Sports and Wellness Center (Photo by Joy J. Deanon, UP Manila Office of the Chancellor)

To create an active and holistic healthy environment, UP Manila has installed regular programs of pocket sports activities and social exercises, as well as regular physical education classes for its students and other constituents. It’s been limited, however, by a small and outdated two-storey Sports Sciences and Wellness Center (SSWC) formerly occupied by the Environment Management Bureau. Otherwise, physical exercises and group activities are held in tiny pockets or halls on campus, or outside the campus.

Faced with this challenge, then Chancellor Marita V. Reyes and then Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Marilou G. Nicolas envisioned a sports and wellness gymnasium in 2000.

It wasn’t until 2015 when the money for this gymnasium came through. Headed by Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla, the construction of a sports and wellness facility amounting to P45 million began.

Expected to be completed this year, the three-storey SWC is UP Manila’s first fully integrated gym that will serve the needs of the Department of Physical Education as well as being the sports venue of the UP Manila community.

Its ground floor, with a 4-meter floor-to-ceiling clearance, will have subdivisions for indoor sports activities like dancing, badminton, arnis, and weightlifting. The second floor will be reserved for classrooms, while the top floor will have the basketball court and volleyball court. Shower rooms will be provided. The Department of PE will also have its faculty rooms onsite.

Progress on construction as of May 16, 2017 (Photo by Joy J. Deanon, UP Manila Office of the Chancellor)

Email the author at upforum@up.edu.ph.