“Boom, boom, boom, poom!”- Boxing in the Philippines

There are various ways to go from Manila to Boracay, the gorgeous Filipino beach island. I visited Boracay in early 2014 and I chose the quite popular route going via Batangas, where I took an overnight ferry to Caticlan, a seashore town five minutes by boat to Boracay.

As I remember quite clearly, it was incredibly busy at the pier in Caticlan- queues of motorbikes and cars, countless signs and boards indicating the names of numerous hotels and resorts, and visitors and local residence who were smiling, sweating, or enjoying the occasional sea breeze.

Not far from the pier, there settled a delicate bamboo box, which stood out from a few properties along the unpaved promenade because of its humble construction materials and its sophisticated structure.

Wild Punch Boxing Gym
Beautifully built by the sea. (Source: Wild Punch Boxing Gym Facebook page)

When I first arrived at the gym (after spending a few magnificent nights partying, enjoying happy hour discounts (I’d rather call it happy day!), and strolling in Boracay :-P), I was warmly welcomed by the Wild Punch team: Cha Cha, a local artist, is the admirably generous boxing tutor who founded the gym in 2003; Miguela, Cha Cha’s wife, is a very friendly lady who runs a stall on White Beach in Boracay; and Ads, the gym cook and security, is a down-to-earth bloke who cooks you mouth-watering and hearty-healthy dishes.

Wild Punch Boxing Gym is actually an initiative that targets at adolescents and kids from poor families, aiming at bringing discipline, strength, and protection to their lives for good cause. Cha Cha has been helping a significant number of boys and girls as well as their families by teaching them boxing, providing shelter, and taking care of them. In my opinion, this project has brought so much light and positivity to those youngsters in need that it has changed their lives in a favourable manner. When you get a chance to talk to Cha Cha, I have no doubt believing that you could feel his passion, his generosity, and his belief in bringing up the good.

Cha Cha posing
Cha Cha posing in front of one of the Wild Punch banners, celebrating the pride of the gym – Bryan Ascaño – for winning the first professional boxing fight of Manila. (Lucky me! I was “trained” for around an hour with Bryan, a very bright young man:-P) (Source: Wild Punch Boxing Gym Facebook page)

There is also one man whom I ought to introduce to you all. Andy from Nîmes, France, is the mastermind of this initiative. He has been putting his utmost effort in non-profit making financial support of the gym. He has already designed a couple of fancy t-shirts which he usually sells at a hostel in Nîmes for the sake of charitable funding purposes. Andy is very passionate about the project that he goes back to Caticlan every year to check out the bits and bobs and to help out with the operation.

Andy in t-shirt
Andy (middle) and his mates in their Wild Punch t-shirts (latest design)! (Source: Andy’s Facebook)

While we are all ready to spend a good five-day holiday on the charming Boracay island, why don’t we drop by this modest gym to say a wee hi and a big thank you to Cha Cha and the team? I’m sure you will enjoy the inspiring atmosphere at the gym, and let’s see how you get on with the wild punch… Boom, boom, boom, poom!

P.S. To show your support, please “like” the Wild Punch Boxing Gym Facebook page here.

Cover photo: From the gym, watching the ferries come and go.

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