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NGO builds PH’s first-of-a-kind floating soccer pitch in Basilan

By Marthy John Lubiano

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A non-profit organization has built the Philippines' first-of-a-kind floating soccer pitch in Maluso town, Basilan for the Samal-Bajau children.

Initiated by Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation (YBHF) and its stakeholders, and primarily sponsored by UNISEA Shipping Ltd Greece and UNISEA Philippines Inc, the goal behind the project is to bring the popular sport to the community, taking into account the culture and way of life of the people.

“From the time they’re born, they’re living on water. We initiated this project because we wanted to create an environment that is not intimidating,” YBHF Co-Founder and President Dr. Anton Lim said.

The people in this community are Samal-Bajaus who live on stilt houses and their children go to school everyday to the Yellow School of Hope with classrooms also built on stilts.

With only their homes and classrooms, Dr. Lim said, “There really isn’t much space to play sports or enriching physical activities for students, so we decided to adapt the floating soccer field like that of Koh Panyee in Thailand.”

The idea behind this project designed by Architect Gio Cariño of the Prodigy Group, which is branded as “Kickstart Hope,” is to support in enriching and stimulating physical activities for students.

“This will then positively affect their minds and bodies, and improve their studying habits as well. This assumption has been proven by several (studies),” Lim told NowYouKnow.

A recent study by University of Delaware researchers in the United States of America suggests exercise can boost kids' vocabulary growth.

The article, published in the Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, detailed one of the first studies on the effect of exercise on vocabulary learning in children.

“They believe that, with children, increased participation in sport and other forms of physical activity also enhances cognitive functioning (information processing), memory, concentration, behaviour and academic achievement,” Lim said.

The benefits of greater physical activity participation include assisting with maximising children’s learning, as well as improving their physical, social and mental health benefits that are likely to extend into adolescence and adult life.

Many among the Bajaus suffer illnesses due to hard work. Their body is worn out throughout the day because of too much eagerness to earn something to buy food for the family.

Children are prone to illnesses and worse, death, because of negligence. They are seen playing outside; dirty, coughing with runny noses, and left out because parents are too busy looking for means to supply them with food.

“With this research evidence, and our goals to make sure that children in the Philippines go, stay and finish school we are officially advocating for healthy and enriching physical

activities to the schools of our communities,” Lim said.

Yellow Boat is open to future partnerships; interested organizations may contact them using the following details:

Dr. Anton Mari H. Lim

Co-Founder / President

Telephone: 8275 5627

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