MANILA, Philippines – There’s a new game in town!
This game allows you to socialize from a distance, get your body moving, enjoy the outdoors, grab your vitamin D and have fun. Oh, and enjoy a gourmet meal afterwards?
Padel – pronounced “paddle” – is the perfect antidote to the locked up and enlarged life we have had to endure over the past two years. It is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and has been described as “tennis with walls” or “squash in the sun”.
Played in an area one-third the size of a regular tennis court, Padel has been adopted by the local tennis community, with Titas looking to socialize and lose weight as millennials want to burn off excess energy, and families and friends who just want to get together and live a new outdoor experience, all in the center of Bonifacio Global City.
I spent a breezy afternoon at the rooftop bar at the Manila Padel Club, enjoying the breeze and the sunset with Managing Partners and Owners Fredrik Lannquist and Alenna Dawn. Stuck in Europe at the height of the pandemic, Fredrik found himself addicted to paddle tennis and decided it would be the perfect pickup sport to bring to quarantine-tired Manila. Alenna found the ideal 2,000m² property at 9 th Ave., BGC, right next to the soccer field – a “welcome coincidence” – she said, as padel is the second most popular sport after the football in the two southern countries.
America and Spain.
Although outside, the surrounding skyscrapers provide shade from 9 a.m. and the wind tunnel provides a breeze all day. You actually feel air conditioned at night!
The sport is easy to learn, but at the same time can be difficult and very energetic for more competitive players. Just bring your shoes – and three other friends! Or make new friends while you’re at it. The club rents rackets and balls. A 30 minute lesson will prepare you to play, if you are a racquet sports player 15 minutes will be enough.
The Manila Padel Club has players aged 7 to 87, from beginners to professional athletes who want to play a sport out of season. It really is a game for all ages, abilities, and times – the club opens at 5 a.m. and closes at midnight.
According to the Manila Padel Club website, Padel is:
- Great for all ages – with its small field, its small rackets, it is easy to play, and is played in doubles so it is very social. It’s soft and easy on the knees, with the same basic format as tennis. The ball is the same as a tennis ball, but with less air pressure.
- Ideal for beginners / non-athletes – it’s as easy to take as it is to ping-pong. Many “non-athletic” types find it very easy to learn and addicting as a fun “new” sport. It offers a fantastic workout!
- Appreciated by tennis and squash players – rallies are like “the best tennis doubles of all time”.
- Trick-shots, quirky fun shots, smashing smashes, you’ll feel young again. Padel is a real skill leveler so that the best players can enjoy a game with less experienced players.
But wait, there is more!
The Manila Padel Club also boasts of having the very first outdoor gym in the country – a feast for the gym rats’ eyes. When it comes to equipment, the Manila Padel Club Playground has everything from cardio machines, plate weight machines, dumbbells, free weights, dumbbells, full power racks and forging machines, to specialized equipment like kettlebells and balance balls, among others. Personal trainers work with you to achieve your fitness goals.
Membership is priced at or below other gyms in the area, plus specialized equipment in an open outdoor space – and the added health benefits of indirect sunlight and none of the “factor. ick “that you usually find in indoor gyms. There are also outdoor group classes for all skill levels including yoga, HIIT and strength training, barre, pilates and more!
What happens in bad weather? Frederick assured that the artificial turf has a built-in drainage system. This, along with canvas covers for the courts and machines, ensure the courts are playable 15 minutes after it rains.
Padel being an extremely friendly game, people stay after the game to socialize at the club. With that in mind, the Manila Padel Club also has a restaurant with a world-class menu and a rooftop bar. The dining room has a wide range of foods, because like Alenna said, customers have different goals.
Some come to lose weight, others to gain weight. Whatever your preferences, you’ll find them here. From healthy smoothie bowls, protein shakes, juice bars and healthy shakes to breakfast plates with the works: sausage and egg plates, avocado toast, banana pancakes with bacon, the list is long. Due to the origins of Padel, lunch or dinner is Spanish / Mexican themed, so you will find tacos, nachos, fajitas, quesadillas, but with a Filipino twist, like the Lechon Baka Tacos with Atchara. You’ll also find savory favorites like soups, salads, burgers and pasta. All dishes will include full nutritional information so you can keep track of your macros.
For those who like to drink their calories, the rooftop bar will have a tequila cart with all the accessories, and creative cocktails will focus on tequila.
While membership has its perks, such as discounted rates and field reservation privileges, you can simply go in and pay the non-member rate. There is also a Padel Kiddie Camp, which costs P 8,000 for 16 one hour sessions. The first tries are welcome and include the use of rackets and balls. And stay for fabulous food or relax with friends watching the action and the sunset from the ‘naturally air-conditioned’ outdoor bar.
The Manila Padel Club officially opens in mid-January 2022 and plans to open clubs in Alabang, Ortigas and Cebu.