Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Deck Out goes global: Philippines


Makati, the country's financial center.
Hi everyone!

First of all, today's my birthday, yea! I turned 21 today so the age doesn't bring me anything cool but still - birthday is always a birthday.

In today's goes global - entry, I'll take a look at a not-so-known TCG country - Philippines. Philippines is one of the countries, where there is potential for a lot more but due the lack of official support, Philppines Pokémon TCG community is struggling. This time, there isn't as much controversy as in Mexico article, but I hope you enjoy it anyways!


PHILIPPINES

Population: 92,3 million
The most famous living person: APL – Black Eyed Peas member
Currency: Peso
Fun fact: Philippines was the first Southeast Asian country to gain independence in 1946, following World War II.

Local Player Profile

My source for this entry is an 18-year old player – Deric Tan. He’s a regular Pokémon TCG player  in the Philippines. He has played competitively since DP-RR then stopped until early last year and returned again. He’s not a Pokemon Professor because of the issues the Philippines have with Pokémon TCG. He calls himself an above average player with a little weakness on deck building. Back during the DP-era, he was known to beat the best players in the country and yet lose to the average ones as well so that’s why. He’s just a Pokebeach member who likes to play TCG, even if the Philippines don’t get POP support. His role in the TCG community is a player and sometimes the one running tournaments when the main organizers aren't available and don't have time. He’s just basically assisting people who need help both in the playing and the organizing aspect



Non-competitive playing and leagues

Leagues so far are not official. The players on the Philippines have been contacting Singapore and they have been trying their best to give them official leagues and tournaments. They haven't had a K-rated tournament in around two years or so. They just play for the fun of it and enjoy themselves. Our leagues aren't official so every week is a League/Tournament.


Atmosphere

The tournament atmosphere on the Philippines is definitely more laid-back and relaxed as compared to more competitive countries like USA. They always have fun when they play. They don't apply the really strict rules in tournaments here. People are also very rowdy when playing seeing as most of the active players are in the Masters Division and they only have less than 3 in the Seniors and Juniors COMBINED. Although, way back when things were a bit more official, Nationals would have a more serious atmosphere, when it comes to rulings and stuff. But all in all, we're a more relaxed bunch of people who play to enjoy the game, though Deric doesn’t have a competitive tendency in him to try and win more maybe because he stays on forums more often.

People loan out cards on the Philippines very easily. Since the atmosphere isn’t as competitive as in the “official” countries, they can build any deck they want to run and have fun all the time. Mewtwo EX probably isn’t worth of 50$ on the Philippines.  


Competitive playing and tournament organizing


Most players use the typical sites like PokeBeach, TheDeckOut and 6P. Some players also use PokeGym but not as much as the Beach and 6P two. Deric runs also the TCG section for www.pkmn-ph.com.

Innovation is very usual on the Philippines here. Though, Deric has a more competitive attitude and therefore plays usually the good decks but when he feels like it, he once in a while plays fun decks as well. For example built a Durant deck with the help of my Durant article, when Durant wasn’t as popular as it’s nowadays. 
Deric thinks that slayers on the Philippines are skilled and creative enough to win games even on the international level. All they lack is time and effort to test a lot but when it comes to raw skill, players have it and could make a good showing in if they somehow got into Worlds. 

Player base

The lack of organized play and Pokemon being not too popular in the country has dwindled tournament attendance to an average of 13-20 a week. (They don't have an official league, so they just run tournaments every week)

Sadly, the numbers are a bit stale in tournaments and leagues. It's partially because of finances and other TCGs like YGO and Magic that have that "mature" appeal to it, which is what society here actually prefers. So far there are around 20+ active players in the whole country. Since the Philippines have such a small player base, they usually mix all the age groups together to have a good tournament.

Also, the most respected players on the Philippines in Deric’s opinion are:

- Lawrence Gueco (2 time National Champion, Worlds Competitor)
- Rhian Famaran (consistently good player, Deric didn't know how many Nationals he won)
The rest of the respected players already quit Pokemon because of finance (third world country :( ) and lack of league support. It’s unfortunate that good players have been quitting the game on the Philippines because usually the presence of good and well-known players feed the interest of younger players because they have someone to look up to.


Conclusion

The Philippines is no-exception when it comes to countries in the Asia-Pacific region. They would have a lot of people that would want to play Pokémon TCG but financial issues come in the way. When looking at the state of the game on the Philippines, everyone should be grateful that the things aren’t THAT bad in your country. There are lots of things to improve in the game for example in the Scandinavia but thankfully the players still have money to buy cards. In the end, it’s a sad fact that Pokémon TCG –just like any other TCG – is only a business, and where there aren’t enough customers, there won’t ever be Organizer Play.

It’s good to understand that things could be worse. This gives players strength do develop their local play and to avoid the situation the Philippines is at the moment. If we look the bright side, the atmosphere on the Philippines seems very still very inviting. Even though, it’s a small community, they are happy with and in the end that’s all what matters.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave any comments!

A legal note: The things written in this article don’t necessarily present the official opinion of The Deck Out.

Image tags: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjlsha/3549512394/

6 comments:

  1. Hi! THis is the guy you interviewed.. SInce this e-mail came to me a few months ago, right now, we're starting to get league kits, and player base has grown to around 20-30 players weekly. There is also a slight chance that we could have Philippine National Championships with Invites to Worlds but no travel awards.

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  2. Ian Fritz Dela CruzApril 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Hi Deric! Kamusta! I played Pokemon TCG when I was still young back in the Philippines! I am playing the game here now at the US. I am so happy that there is still a Pokemon TCG community going and I hope it grows more. I would love to someday come back to our country and play with you guys. Thanks Esa and Deric!

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  3. Esa the most famous person for the philippines is MANNY PACQUIAO. Besides APL has american citizenship =p. Kindly edit it.

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  4. Just wanting to say Happy Birthday Esa. Keep up the great work on the site. :)

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  5. Yeah thanks a lot everyone for the comments! Hmm, yeah I'll edit it, but does APL has Philippinese citizenship as well or Americah only. I guess I need to Google, lol.

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  6. You share the same birthday as me!!!

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