Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ultras Filipinas and the Sons of Mighty Kaya

Ultras Filipinas at the Philippine Arena (photo credits to the owner)
The Ultras scene has been in the Philippines for quite some time now, 4 years to be exact. Quite young compared to other South East Asian Ultras, but nothing is stopping them from growing and chanting their hearts out.

Before we get to when and where it all started lets check out what being an Ultras really is about. Some of you may have watched a game of football on TV, you see those champs wearing the team color they support chanting like they're singing? Yes, those are Ultras. Die-hard fans of the club they support they create an atmosphere that would encourage their team to fight on and keep going. Sometimes these chants would even intimidate the opposing team giving their club an advantage of having a "12th man".

The Ultras scene started out in 2011 for the Don Bosco Futsal Club. They had supporters who called themselves the Don Bosco United Futsal Club Supporters or in short, "The Futsaldiers." These guys weren't even aware they were already an ultras group. Later that year, one of the leaders of the Futsaldiers, a casual fan, and two former Kaholeros (a group of friends that cheer the Philippine National Football Team, but not the Ultras way) formed the Ultras Kaya or better known as the Sons of Might Kaya (SOMK). These lads support the Kaya Football Club that play for the United Football League (UFL).

The lads of SOMK are the only Ultras fan base in the UFL. Chanting their hearts out with a snare drum or sometimes two empty plastic bottles hitting on a rail. They sing out in European-tuned songs and chants cheering on for Kaya FC. The group may be small, approximately 35 men and 3 girls, but they have great impact to the team especially this year when they won the UFL Cup. I tell you, these guys went crazy, like winning the lottery, after a 4-2 penalty shoot out win.

Ultras Kaya celebrating the 2015 UFL Cup (photo credits to the owner)
In 2012, the Ultras Filipinas were founded by supporters of the Philippine Air Force Football Club. The supporters were not military men, these supporters were just following the likes of the great Chieffy Caligdong during his prime with the Philippine National Team and traced him to his former club, Philippine Air Force FC.

These supporters approached SOMK and asked if they can form something for the Philippine National teams. Yes not just football alone, because the first outing for the Ultras Filipinas was not for the Philippine Azkals (football), but that of the Philippine Volcanoes (rugby). Since then, they have also been supporting Gilas (basketball) and the Malditas (womens football NT). But they mainly support the Philippine Azkals.

How to join the Ultras Filipinas? Well it's quite easy, join their Facebook page and stand-by for any upcoming Azklas match. If the match is in the Rizal Memorial Stadium make sure to purchase the tickets that are at the green bleachers section and meet up the lads two hours before game time at the 7-11 near the main gate entrance. Once there, just introduce yourself and mingle with the crowd and get hyped with everyone else. Oh by the way, make sure to wear black or any Philippine national team jersey, don't wear any other team jersey, it's just plain football etiquette.

Don't know the chants? Not to worry! The chants are not a lot as expected, they usually go around 10 chants that are all easy to catch just make sure to listen to the capo (chant leader), he's in charge in saying what to chant and getting the group in the mood. Of course you have to know the lyrics to Lupang Hinirang and Pilipinas Kong Mahal too. How can you be supporting your own national team when you can't even sing your country's national anthem?

Once getting to the bleachers, get ready for 90 minutes of chanting, support, and live action. Remember, you can sit and watch the matches all you want at home but the best experience is at the stadium, live with all the other fans of the sport we love.

Ultras Filipinas after the PHI vs YEM match (photo credits to the owner)
Follow Ultras Filipinas and SOMK on Twitter for the latest announcements and live tweets from games: @UltrasFilipinas & @Ultras_Kaya

Wanna join the lads but are way too shy? Comment below and I will personally hook you up, don't miss out on the fun!