'Tuloy sa Don Bosco': A model Philippine grassroots sports program

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
'Tuloy sa Don Bosco': A model Philippine grassroots sports program
The world-class facility located along the Alabang-Zapote Road has an amazing artificial football pitch and a brand new futsal center.

MANILA, Philippines – If there is any model sports grassroots program in the Philippines, it is the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation.

Nestled in the swank and posh of Alabang, Tuloy sa Don Bosco’s apostolate is in the less privileged youth.

“We call them ‘the less privileged,’” pointed out Fr. Marciano “Rocky” Evangelista of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “When we ask for volunteers from the corporate world, we don’t want them to view us with pity, but rather to join us because they like the program we run and its aim for excellence.”

It’s more than newspeak.

It’s a different way of looking at life. And most certainly, Tuloy sa Don Bosco walks the walk.

The world-class facility located along the Alabang-Zapote Road has an amazing artificial football pitch and a brand new futsal center. As Evangelista believes, both are vital components in Tuloy’s holistic program that gets the less privileged — 160-plus kids as of the latest count — inside its walls where they undergo first-class schooling, religious formation, and sports development.

“A church or a school without a playground is incomplete,” said Fr. Rocky. “A playground attracts them and makes them happy. Aside from the skills one receives, there are the values that one learns from sports that can serve them well for the rest of their lives. We use sports to spark formation.”

Fr. Rocky enumerated such personal skills as resiliency, teamwork, cooperation, and focus to name a few as the valuable lessons they learn through victory and defeat.

“They cannot learn it on their own, which is why we have coaches, many who were former players and have been promoted to the position of a coach.” 

Aside from the instructional side, Tuloy sa Don Bosco has lent its talented youth to the Philippine teams to the Homeless and Street Child World Cup. A handful of their students are also part of both the Philippine Football Federation’s youth boys and girls national teams. Some alumni have also played in the now defunct United Football League.  

And now, they are an acknowledged center of excellence for Philippine futsal. One that Philippine Futsal Program Director Kevin Goco believes will provide a much needed pipeline for the national team.

“The Tuloy kids already play 5-a-side everyday with futsal goals. I believe this is one reason why they are technically very good. So what we have done is linked Tuloy with what (Futsal Program Consultant) Vic Hermans has planned,” expounded Goco. “The strategy of Vic is to set up regional centers of excellence — such as Tuloy and the Inspire Raya Academy to name a few — all over the country that will send players to future national teams he will setup.”

“Tuloy has one of the best grassroots program in the country,” summed up Goco, who pointed out how their teams consistently make it all the way to the finals of national futsal tournaments despite being new to the sport. 

“Most people rave about their top notch sporting facilities and performances in competitions, but what makes them special is their holistic approach and emphasis on human development, founded on their mantra of doing ‘ordinary things extraordinarily’.”

“What we do is transform lives,” summed up Fr. Rocky. “But what these kids will do is transform our own world. And we will be better for it.”

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