Who would have thought that I would be hobnobbing with the hunks of the Philippine Muzang? The fact that my fave Daniel Matsunaga was not there was kind of a let-down for me though. Oh well, the rest of the team was so nice to everyone anyway and I found myself enjoying all the activities at the event center of SM City Masinag last October 28. This event is part of the team’s mall tour at various SM Supermalls all over the country.
To those who are not into the sporting scene, the Philippine Muzang is our very own futsal team – futsal is an indoor football sport that is fast gaining popularity among sports enthusiasts in the country. The fan base of the Philippine Muzang is following that of the Philippine Azkals. Some of the members of the team are, in fact, members of the Azkals too. The sport is relatively young in the Philippines and is in need of public support.
While basketball has been considered to be the “national sport,” futsal can be played in the basketball courts in just about every barangay. Muzang ‘s team captain, Misagh Bahadoran, put up the Misagh Futsal Academy where kids aged 4 to 16 years can learn how to play the game. His academy will “focus on developing the skills of the youth and teaching them to be disciplined and hardworking,” said Bahadoran
Getting Into the Game: Learning Futsal
The Muzang had an exhibition game right inside the mall. The team members also picked out several participants from the crowd and gave them lessons in playing the sport. Although I did not get picked to join the games, I really enjoyed watching from the sidelines and learned a thing or two about playing the game. It was also fun seeing the little kids appreciate the game. There was even one kid who stood out and looked like he really had potential in futsal. One of the players, Romeu Rodrigues, took off his official Muzang uniform and gave it to the kid.
There was also a meet and greet session with the Muzangs at the end of the event. They were so friendly and approachable as fans had their pictures taken with them.
They talked to the fans and signed autographs – there was even one fan who had his iPad signed by the players. They accommodated everyone and stayed until the last person in line left.
Food Tripping at the SM Food Court
It was off to the Food Court with the team afterwards – it was a good thing since we were all feeling hungry after all the energy we used up during the event. There are quite a number of food establishments at the SM Food Court to satisfy different palates. It was a smorgasbord of sorts as we were treated to food from a variety of cuisines.
We started with lechon manok (roast chicken) from Baliwag. When it comes to lechon manok, Baliwag is really my favorite. They have been around for a long time and everyone knows how good their food tastes.
We were also served with bibimbap from Kimbob. It’s actually my first time to try it and I liked it. It was tasty, although the kimchi was a little bit too spicy for me. I was surprised that each regular portion only costs P99 (P199 for the large portion).
They served us more food and although we were a bit full, we couldn’t let the food go to waste. We had shawarma from Turks and siomai from Master Siomai. The shawarma’s sauce was on the sweet side far from how I prefer my shawarma sauce – garlicky and spicy. It was still good shawarma though. As for the siomai, well, it’s another one of my favorites so there’s nothing but raves here. I just wished that they served us sago’t gulaman too as the perfect pairing for the meaty dimsum bites. Our food was downed with Coca-Cola products, SM Supermarket distilled water, and buko juice from Buko ni Frutas. And, just as we enjoyed our food, it looked like the Muzang players did too.
Up Close and Personal with the Muzangs
A perfect cap to the event was our interview with Muzang players Paolo Pascual, Romeu Rodrigues, Misagh Bahadoran, and Shayan Anvarpour. According to them, the Philippine Muzang just made their first public appearance at the SM Arena just last month. The players are all passionate about the sport and are hoping that more Filipino children would get into the sport too. They would like to share the same love for the sport with more people as they go around the different malls in the country. The team practices at the Clubsixfifty Sports Center (Club 650) in Libis on Saturdays at 7pm. It’s open to the public so anyone who is interested in seeing them play can just go and watch.
sorry for audio delay 🙁
MUZANG SM Mall Tour Schedule:
- October 21 – Fairview
- October 28 – Masinag
- November 17 – Lipa
- November 24 – Lucena
- November 25 – Batangas
The Philippine Muzang Mall Tour is part of the promotional campaign to increase awareness and generate public support for the sport and the team. With the thick crowd that was at the event center, it looks like the Muzangs will have a throng of fans patronizing their games.