While it is called the sport of kings, Atty. Jun Eusebio is convinced anyone can play Polo. Hence, the North Polo Club which Eusebio, who is also chairman of the Polo Federation of the Philippines, founded in 2004. Back then, the property was but a meager 500 square meters in Pulilan, Bulacan. For anyone who wishes to play here, there are no membership fees or specific requirements.
The club has a total of four fields, but right now only three are functional. It is home to a hundred horses but should the players choose, they are welcome to bring their own. On occasion, the club can also accommodate guests, be they diplomats or other VIPs in the club’s rest houses—which have been used as settings for teleseryes. A portion of the property is occupied by a thousand mango trees thus the Polo Club is also considered a mango plantation—another teleserye magnet if you ask us.
Polo is more than just riding a horse. It is a dangerous and difficult sport, says Eusebio. Like car racing except the equipment is different and the setting a little less cold. On the bright side, it helps build the rider’s confidence and conquer one’s fear. For those not familiar, the game usually lasts 120 minutes, with each game divided into seven-minute periods. It starts with two teams made up of four players each, all of which are on horses. Long-handled mallets are used by the players to roll a small plastic ball across the field.
The North Polo Club also hosts equestrian games. The Philippines will serve as host country in the upcoming SEA Games in November which will be participated in by five countries: Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia.
Since establishing the club some 15 years ago, Eusebio has produced numerous polo players. He is looking forward to encouraging more players to join the sport. As far as he’s concerned, with polo, you only need to be nice to play.
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Photographs by Daniel Soriano