In 1979, the president of a dive shop in Manila named Dive Asia, read an article about underwater hockey in a World Underwater Federation (CMAS) magazine. After inquiring and receiving information about game rules and equipment, their first underwater game was held in the shop's own pool in 1980. It reached the dive club at the University of the Philippines, known as the U.P. Divers were they became the first to find a regular venue for the scrimmage games. They first played at Quezon City Sports Club swimming pool every Tuesday night from 1984 to 1997.
By 1990, these players finally incorporated themselves into the Philippine Underwater Hockey Club. Since then, it has evolved to become the Philippine Underwater Hockey Confederation (PUHC) and is recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (World Underwater Federation).
Exposure was not limited to Metro Manila. The group's enthusiasm for underwater hockey has brought some PUHC members to places like Cebu, Angeles, Bacolod and Quezon. By October 1998, the first PUHC Affiliate, the Bacolod Underwater Hockey Team was inducted into the PUHC. And the first game of the Davao Underwater Hockey Club was held in November 2002.
A PUHC member, Joey Carpio helped built the Singapore club. PUHC try to extend its networks by building more clubs like the Cebu Underwater Hockey Club last year and soon their very own club based in Australia. With some of the PUHC members playing in the United States, Singapore and Australia teams, it has brought its local team to compete in international competition.
Enthusiasm for underwater hockey inevitably brought the PUHC to the Pacific Coast Championships in Canada, an international competition for the first time in 1995. The group returned the following year to have its Mixed Division entry streak to a remarkable Fourth Place finish amidst a dozen other teams at the 1996 PCCs in Fremont, California. By the 1997 PCCs in Hawaii, the Philippine Mixed Team has advanced to the Second Place.
But the players have for many years held this dream of participating in the World Championships-the 'Olympics' of underwater hockey. In June of 1998, the Men's and Women's Teams excitedly shared the pool with the best of the best from 14 countries all over the globe. The PUHC has since then participated in the 2000 PCCs and over the years, some Filipino players individually joined the PCCs as part of a team composed of other players from different countries.
Underwater hockey is a very fast moving game that quickly builds swimming and free diving capability. It is played on the bottom of a swimming pool by two teams of six. Players wear fins, mask, snorkel, a protective glove, ear guards and headgear. Success (scoring) ultimately depends on teamwork, since no single person can hold their breath that long.
Underwater hockey is a game of teamwork and strategy. Each team will try to out swim, duck their opponent and guide a 3-pound lead puck towards a goal, an untended 10-foot metal goal post lying at the swimming pool floor. And you do all of these while holding your breath.
Though speed is an advantage, it does not necessarily equate to a win. Newbie players usually rely on speed but as you play longer, you realize it's more important to keep puck possession, timing and being able to outsmart your opponent.
This is a sport dedicated primarily to having fun in the water. Anyone can play very effectively, and all those willing to try are welcome. Typically, members come from different areas of sports such as divers, mountaineers, rowing teams, triathletes, swimmers and other sports enthusiasts-wannabe. Underwater hockey in the Philippines includes people of all ages & shapes. Underwater hockey is played 4 times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends) in Ultra, La Salle Greenhills, Manila Polo Club and Philippine Army Pool.
Every year, the club hosts different tournaments like December Balikbayan tournaments, quarterly batch graduation tournaments, anniversary tournaments; and other fun activities like November Halloween Race, Christmas parties, Summer Outings and their planned triathlon to motivate members, enlarge the community and celebrate the love of the sport. By offering these events, they have been able to enrich PUHC and keep the love of the sport alive by continuing to recruit a highly motivated and diverse group of hockey addicts.