The Quezon City Sports Club, along E. Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard, is a premier recreational center for Quezon City’s wealthy and middle class. This history of the Quezon City Sports Club can be traced to the demand that the wealthy Filipinos be treated with respect and equality, by the Spanish and American colonial elite and their exclusive social-sports clubs. This started with the Club Filipino Independiente, formed in 1898, which started as a Filipino gentleman’s club along Calle Alix (now Legarda Street) in Manila. However, the Filipinos could still not penetrate the American expatriate’s clubs, such as the Manila Elks Club (est. 1900), the Manila Golf Club (est. 1901), the Manila Polo Club (est. 1909), and the Army Navy Club (founded 1911). When the Rotary Club of Manila opened in 1919, it was the first inclusive organization in the Philippines having two Filipinos and one Filipino-Chinese among the first thirty-eight members, with Alfonso Sy Cip and Gregorio Morente Nieva serving as the first vice-president and board director. This inclusive nature was continued in 1930 by William James Bernard Shaw (1877-1939) built the Wack Wack Golf Club in the Municipality of San Juan del Monte (now a part of Mandaluyong City), after he witnessed the cruel treatment of the 1929 Philippine Open winner, Larry Montes.
After World War II, these clubs were now open to Filipinos, with many of the Americans having left the country. Slowly many of these organizations were transferring to the newly developing cities, as Manila was devastated by the bombings of 1945. In 1949, the Manila Polo Club moved to its present location in the city of Makati, followed by the Manila Golf Club in 1959. Other groups took longer to move, as much of the funds were allocated to rebuilding Manila. By the economic boom of the late 1960s and 1970s, a demand to transfer or create new clubs outside Manila grew. In 1970, the Club Filipino Independiente was renamed as the Club Filipino, and found its permanent home in San Juan City. In 1976, the Makati Sports Club opened in Salcedo Park, Makati City; and the Valle Verde Country Club was in business by 1978, in Pasig City. Meanwhile in Quezon City, the local elite also demanded their own recreational facility, even if the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club was already operating in 1960. Finding the Capitol Hills too far off and with and under developed neighborhood, the race for a new hang out ended with the completion of the Quezon City Sports Club and the Celebrity Sports Plaza in 1979.
Incorporated in 1977 and completed in 1979, the original facility was designed by Arch. William Vargas Coscolluela, in a Y-shaped structure. After several renovations, the Quezon City Sports Clubs has many amenities for its members and guests, such as ten-pin bowling alleys, an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, squash courts, badminton courts, a billiard hall, basketball courts, a gym, and dance studio; aside from the many function rooms, restaurant, café, and bar.
Arch. William Vargas Coscolluela (born 1933) is a graduate of the Mapua Institute of Technology, with a Mapua president’s gold medal, in 1957. A registered architect in the Philippines and the state of California, Coscolluela is a member of both the Philippine Institute of Architects (PIA) and the American Institute of Architects. Noted for his design for commercial buildings, such as malls, all over the country, Coscolluela has designed buildings locally and in Palau, New Guinea, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States.
At the second floor lobby, right across the reception desk, Eduardo Castrillo’s 1979 expressionist brass relief “The Purification of Physical Being” stands as metaphor of the cleansing of the mind and body though exercise, and alluding to the many sports facilities in the compound.
Eduardo De Los Santos Castrillo (1942-2016) is a noted sculptor, who had defined the second wave of modernist sculpture in the Philippines. Castrillo graduated from the UST Fine Arts program, and first started at first as an illustrator for publishing before embarking into a career in public sculpture. In the course of time, Castrillo has represented the Philippines in many exhibitions abroad, and has also been commissioned to create monuments all over the country and overseas. He received the TOYM Award for sculpture (Ten Outstanding Young Men) in 1970, the 13 Artists Award by the CCP in 1970, Outstanding Makati Resident in 1971, Outstanding Sta. Ana Resident in 1974, Outstanding Son of Binan Award in 1980 from the Maduro Club, Outstanding Son of Laguna Award in 1980 from the Laguna Lion’s Club, Adopted Son of Cebu in 1996, the Far Eastern University Green and Gold Artist Award in 1998, and the Most Outstanding Citizen Award of Quezon City.
Around the lobby and other hallways are a series of paintings by Oscar Salita, which are neo-cubist paintings of physical work and recreation in Philippine cultural context. The painting range from the labors of coconut graters and mango harvesters, Salita continues to feature recreation and relaxation with images of tennis players and tuba drinkers.
Oscar T. Salita (1943-2012) is an abstract painter who graduated from the University of Santo Tomas. First exposed to his paternal grandparents’ collection of paintings, in the Quiapo home he grew up in. Salita was later introduced to sculpture by a local santo maker, and he made his first carving at the age of 11. While studying at the UST, Salita would augment his allowance, by doing fashion illustrations for couturier Pedrito Legaspi of the Fashion Designers Guild of the Philippines. After graduating, Salita co-founded the Starving Artist Group, which participated in exhibits at the Contemporary ArtsGallery. Salita has also exhibited abroad, such as Daly City and Los Angeles in the United States of America, Hong Kong and Taipei.
There are many other artworks to find in the many function rooms, and even the restaurant. However beyond the art are the many stories shared by those who have stepped into the Quezon City Sports Club. Aside from the recreational activities, business meetings, press conferences, book launchings, seminars and workshops, baptismal and birthday parties, wedding receptions, dance parties and other social events have made the Quezon City Sports Club an integral part of local life. And for me to visit it, brought a flood gate of memories of the many “New Wave” dance parties we had in the 1980s. What is your own fond memory of the Quezon City Sports Club?