Mar 26, 2010

Evolution of Airsoft in the Philippines

Just a quick infos about airsoft in the Philippines.

Summer of 1985 – the brothers, known then as Team Gypsy, started a game that they would be playing every weekend for the following years. Then the airsoft wargaming in the Philippines begun.

Tokyo Hanna in Greenhills (store) – the group managed to convince the latter to import better airsoft guns, and they they did. As Tokyo Hanna got more customers, the number of players started growing and new teams started to form - a mostly Chinese family/peer group from San Juan (later to form People’s Park Airsoft Group (PPAG) in Quezon City), a family/peer group from Malabon (to resurface as Northern Alliance in Bulacan), and a student peer group from Las Salle Taft.

Action Games League (AGL) was formed – to standardize the game rules, centralize game organizing, and promote airsoft as a hobby.

Lil’s Hobby Shop and Special Toys Center – The demand for airsoft guns stripped shelves of the few existing stocks took notice and these stores followed suit in offering airsoft items.

GOTCHA – the first commercial paintball operator in the Philippines, which came out in 1989. That should lay to rest any question now as to which came first - airsoft or paintball?

December 1989 – AGL operated an airsoft game booth in Payanig sa Pasig during the Christmas season carnival. The roughly 1000 sq.m. battleground was enclosed by fine mesh see-through net and attracted sizable crowds. It was the first time airsoft was exposed to the general public.

July 1990 (The 1st Ammunition and Defense Fair in Philcite) – The AGL managed to get the organizer to allow an airsoft display alongside real firearms. The organizer provided a 3000 sq.m. game demonstration playfield right outside the building.

October 1990 – The airsoft gaming was featured on channel 2 “Magandang Umaga” (The first media documentary on airsoft in the country).

Again in October 1990 – AGL entered a team into GOTCHA’s 1st Philippine Paintball Cup, if only to prove that airsoft players can play paintball as well. Using only rental guns, with a load limit of 40 balls each, despite the odds, the airsofters put forth a valiant effort. In the end, they were sidelined and beaten due mostly to equipment failure and stuck-together ammo because of the rain.

Some six years later – AGL once again entered a paintball tournament - the UP Speedball Open, held in the UP football Field – this time, with three teams. AGL came out overall champion, with the other two teams taking 3rd and 4th place in a field of six. The victory was recorded and shown on television by, Gameplan.

March 1991 – AGL first set foot on Rolling Hills Resort, located on the Montalban foothills of the Sierra Madre, it was to be our “home” for the next 8 years. During that time, Rolling Hills became Mecca to every team and every single player to enter airsoft.

March 1992 – The first overnight bivouac was played in Rolling Hills Resort. AGL’s original sub-teams have since dissolved and its members assimilated into one homogenous body that others preferred to recognize as a single team organization. Late that year, AGL, Nemesis, Recon, People’s Park, Renegade (spun off from PPAG) grouped together to form the AirSoft Association of the Philippines (ASAP) – another try at putting all airsoft teams under one operational umbrella. Minus AGL, the other groups then formed the National AirSoft Society (NASS), spearheaded by new AGL spin off - Stormtroopers AirSoft Group (STAG), and the addition of Meycauayan AirSoft Club (MASK). This attempt at another umbrella lasted longer – around 2-3 years – before effectively fizzling out.

May 1993 - It was also in Rolling Hills resort that the first airsoft team competition, the 15-man Team Challenge, was launched. Rolling Hills was background to two different episode features on the tv/cable sport program Gameplan.

Senator Biazon’s grandstanding in the Senate about realistic looking toy guns, Senator Orly Mercado’s advocating a ban on of toy guns, plus local ordinances to the same effect – pushed the local airsoft hobby underground.

1994 onward – player attendance slowly dwindled and numerous squad sized teams disappeared. Through the decline, airsoft wargaming thrived in the hearts of a hardy few who kept playing on discreetly.

1999 – Rolling Hills Resort was sold and AGL moved the game to a scrap metal yard in Balintawak, and eventually to the PUP campus in Sta. Mesa.

For about 8 months (from 1999 to 1st quarter 2000) – AGL was able to use the abandoned residential area of Fort Bonifacio (now site of International School – Manila, the British School, and Market Market). The venue attracted many players back into the game, reviving old squads, reinvigorating the surviving teams, and enticing new blood. It was there that a returning AGL veteran brought his barkada which eventually formed team Wyvern, and its all female sub-team Power Puff Girls (PPG). Wyvern eventually disbanded and reorganized as Fenris. On its own, at the same time, RASTA was forming up and playing over at the Navy Compound of Fort Bonifacio. RSGC spun out Trinity (now disbanded), later on - Recon 1st Battalion (R1B), and got reduced to a small team unit (still playing in Tropical Palace). Present team 101st Airborne was formed by ex-RSGC Anthony.

In Pampanga, local team Semper Fi , came to be an AGL chapter and upon exposure to the other metropolitan groups, eventually became a part of the popular “airsoft community.”

Down south, AirSoft Games established presence, first in Cebu and then in the other southern provinces. Though their development was separate and independent of Manila teams, some of their founders trace their initial airsoft exposure back to Metro Manila during the “Tokyo Hanna Days”. Omega Zone, a group initially targeted for Internet professionals, was formed by players, one of whom professed to have started playing in Montalban.

2002 – AGL reintroduced the 2-day bivouac game while playing on Grande Island, with Wyvern and Semper Fi in attendance. While playing in the PNR train repair facility in Sangandaan, Caloocan, the group was featured in Gameplan (third time around). AGL also made the first adaptations of the reality program “Combat Missions” for scenario based team contest. The first, “Pilot Rescue”, was sponsored by a cable network, and the second, “Drug Bust” was documented and shown in Gameplan (AGL’s fourth time!). AGL opened the historic Corregidor Island to airsoft playing.

Meantime, the old-time groups Trinity, R1B and STAG got together with new teams Wyvern, RASTA, Semper Fi, and OZ to form a third try at an airsoft umbrella, with a patriotic acronym at that – the Philippine National Airsoft Society (PNAS). So far, into its fourth year, it has outlasted the two previous attempts, and lives on thru its trademark event – the KALIS airsoft team competition, now also going into its fourth run.

August 2001 – In addition to previous break-aways, AGL teams Tomahawk and Rainbow went on their own to form Spec War.

Mid-2003 – Black Ops declared its own independence. Other teams also suffered the same fate. Earlier, Nemesis spun off Recon which, in turn, spun off team Trinity, while the remaining split into R1B and RSGC.

Other Nemesis members are now scattered among different teams among which is Sitting Ducks. Wyvern had spun off Fenris, and its original members now either inactive or mixed in with other groups. Team Black Ops itself split into 4 groups, giving rise to Elite Kommandos Tactical Airsoft (EKTA), BOD, and Dragons aside from its current self. Even OZ was not spared – it just recently gave rise to Team Raptor. Just recently, relative newbie team Murder of Crows split and produced team Atlas.

Internet – it was an instrumental in local airsoft renaissance at the turn of the millenium. It brought exposure to airsoft hardware, the game, the teams much wider and faster than conventional word-of-mouth. New teams have formed, some have split, merged, reorganized, and disappeared only to be replaced by several new ones.

This year due to a total gun ban (this election period), the number of competitions and tournoments and even players decreases (nagsasawa na din ung iba hehehe).

source: AirsoftXtreme

1 comment:

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