Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Bamboo and the Power of Play

Bamboo and a Better Self

From the Arizona Region

We often associate indoor volleyball with luxurious gym floors, shiny poles, and pristine game nets. But what if we told you that two coaches embarked on a journey that challenged these norms and led them to a world of indescribable poverty? This is the story of their eye-opening experience in the Philippine Islands, where they discovered the true power of play and found their better selves.

A New Perspective

Upon arriving in Manila, the coaches were confronted with heartbreaking scenes of poverty: children bathing in buckets on the street, families taking refuge under makeshift shelters, and neighborhoods built with flimsy materials. It was a stark contrast from what they were used to in the United States.

Lessons Learned

The coaches began their journey by conducting clinics at local high schools. They quickly realized that a gym doesn’t need walls to create a sanctuary for aspiring athletes. These Filipino students, who had to earn their place in the program, listened intently to the coaches’ instructions. Despite the language barrier, the coaches communicated through demonstrations and kept the students engaged by using a simple rope as a makeshift net.

The Power of Play

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Unfazed by inclement weather or stifling heat, the students showcased their passion for the game. Each point was celebrated with cheers, songs, and dances, radiating pure happiness. The coaches witnessed firsthand the universal language of play and its ability to transcend cultural boundaries.

The Hunger for Success

As the clinics progressed, the coaches discovered that the students’ dedication went beyond the volleyball court. These young athletes hadn’t eaten for hours, yet their hunger for success never wavered. The program they were part of provided them with nourishing meals at the end of each clinic, which were not taken for granted but seen as a necessity.

Inspiring Resilience

Throughout the week, the coaches encountered various groups of students, including girls from a facility called “The Haven” who had experienced unimaginable hardships. Despite their past traumas, these girls demonstrated resilience and fortitude, leaving a lasting impact on the coaches’ souls.

Empowering Future Teachers

The journey continued on the island of Cebu, where the coaches worked with students studying to become PE teachers. They introduced new games like sitting volleyball and Smashball, showcasing alternative ways to engage students in physical education. The coaches emphasized the importance of play and reminded the aspiring teachers of its transformative power.

Touching Lives

At an orphanage in Manila, the coaches witnessed the joy and camaraderie among the children. The outdoor courts became a hub of activity, with kids of all ages practicing, playing, and finding their own paths. The coaches realized that sometimes the best thing they could do was step back and let the children take the lead.

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The People of the Philippines

Above all, it was the people of the Philippines who left a lasting impression on the coaches. Despite the challenges of pollution, poverty, and overcrowded courts, the Filipino people displayed resilience, humility, and kindness. Their unwavering spirit became the true success of this journey.


Q: How did the coaches communicate with the Filipino students?

A: Although there was a language barrier, the coaches relied on demonstrations and gestures to effectively communicate with the students.

Q: Did the coaches face any challenges during their trip?

A: The coaches encountered various challenges, such as inclement weather and limited resources. However, these challenges paled in comparison to the resilience and determination of the Filipino students.

Q: What impact did the journey have on the coaches?

A: The coaches left the Philippine Islands feeling humbled and inspired. They discovered their better selves through the experiences they had and vowed to use this newfound perspective to make a positive impact on those around them.


The journey of these two coaches to the Philippine Islands proved to be a life-changing experience. They witnessed the power of play in the face of poverty and adversity, and they were deeply touched by the resilience and spirit of the Filipino people. This story serves as a reminder that sometimes the most meaningful lessons are learned when we step outside our comfort zones and open ourselves up to new experiences.

Visit Alpinetgheep to learn more about our brand and how we are dedicated to empowering athletes through the transformative power of play.

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