Orisipon: Sorsogon City’s Tennis Courts

I played Tennis, on and off, since grade 5. I remember my uncle gave me this Wilson wooden racquet with braces. I would wake up early in the morning and go to GSIS tennis court. It’s very rare that I would play at the clay court of Sorsogon Tennis Club (STC) since there are more players vying for their slots; plus it was intimidating to mix with the experts.

I remember, aside from GSIS tennis court and the club’s clay court at Gobyerno, I also played at Camp Escudero – another clay court in the old town. Those are the three tennis courts, all clay, I remember. However, it was the GSIS’ court that was poorly maintained. It was at the back of the old government building. It was more fun for newbies to play there since one could have it for himself.

Beside the Sorsogon Provincial Museum is the Kasanggayahan Village. It's the former GSIS tennis court back in the 80s and early 90s.

Beside the Sorsogon Provincial Museum is the Kasanggayahan Village. It’s the former GSIS tennis court back in the 80s and early 90s.

The court was always deserted, there was no pulot boy around. So, whoever wanted to play had to take care of those tennis balls. And there was no net on the side of the road. I remember climbing over the wall to get the tennis balls.

When the GSIS tennis court started to deteriorate (grass started to grow on the court), I was good enough to get playing slot at the Sorsogon Tennis Club. Admittedly, I would only last for 5 minutes; 10 minutes would be the longest. I remember the old man who maintained the clay court was also living within the compound. His sons and the youngest daughter became good tennis players. The daughter, who was 5 years old then, would play with her older siblings; sometimes, the racquet is bigger than her. From what I heard, she reached Bicol Meet during her time in high school. My mom would sometimes pay one of the sons of the old man to teach me. His name is Bigit. He still plays, as far as I know. I remember Mr. Agnes and Mr. Alegre showing up every morning; Msgr. Varella would show up every afternoon. There were a few ladies that played, but I don’t think it was in the late 80s. So, one could call it an old gentleman’s club.

Rain - a pit fall of an outdoor tennis court. This is a normal sight during rainy season. However, it's impressive that the local tennis club is able to maintain its clay court instead of just converting it into concrete-based court.

Rain – a pit fall of an outdoor tennis court. This is a normal sight during rainy season. However, it’s impressive that the local tennis club is able to maintain its clay court instead of just converting it into concrete-based court. The structure on the middle-foreground is the original housing for the caretaker and where the players would stay while resting or waiting for their turn to play.

Tennis Court - Sorsogon Tennis Club

The two-court facility is surrounded by makeshift stores during the holiday season. The scorer/referee stand on the right is originally made of wood.

In high school, I played more than a couple of times at the PC/INP tennis court at Camp Escudero. Since I wasn’t that good and I lost more than a couple of tennis balls that went beyond the camp walls.

The (unfinished) resource map of Sorsogon province is located at Kasanggayahan Village.

The (unfinished) resource map of Sorsogon province is located at Kasanggayahan Village. The place is the former GSIS Tennis Court.

Currently, there are two (2) clay courts – Sorsogon Tennis Club (2 courts) and PNP tennis (single) court; and a two-tennis court at Penafrancia Seminary along Magsaysay St. at Brgy. Bibincahan. I also remember that during one of the provincial meets of Sorsogon in the early 90s, some played at the Balogo Sports Complex as part of the competition.

It would be nice to know when these old tennis courts were constructed. It seems that they have common history considering all of them – GSIS, STC and PNP – are made of clay. It’s also a curious point if it was built during the time of the American occupation. Clay court is not exactly popular in the US, compared to Latin America or Europe.

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12 Responses to Orisipon: Sorsogon City’s Tennis Courts

  1. Here’s a good report on Sorsogon City’s tennis courts & their history: https://sorsogoncity.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/orisipon-sorsogon-citys-tennis-courts/ But there is no truth to the rumor that some Sorsoganon politicians have the biggest rackets even if they don’t know how to play tennis (lawn, table or otherwise). — As posted in several Facebook Groups & in the Shout Box of http://www.mabuhayradio.com.

  2. Maria Humilde Baranda-Janaban says:

    .thanks for the write up and attention to our tennis courts..the Bigit in your article is now my husband..and we still play tennis everyday if the weather permits..i hope you can help us renovate or improve our tennis court at the capitol..it is my dream to see it as a first class tennis court with a new club house ..for the use in training more youngsters to play and enjoy the game..you can see my previous posts where the members worked together to at least fix it ..we are working on getting donations for our other projects ..i hope you continue to enjoy the game

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi Mam,

      If you can provide me contact information and a short description of the fund raising, I can post it on my blog. It would be good if you have a Paypal account that they can send their donations to. It’s more convenient than depositing a check on a particular bank account.


    • benjamin hacuman says:

      DO I KNOW YOUR HUSBAND? aram mo baga an kapit bahay ko siya

      • docbabes says:

        Hello Benjamin , my husband Mateo Janaban is the son of the former tennis club caretaker Pedro Janaban and the the former Flor Pado.they lived at the back of the Red Cross building at the Capitol Compound .He is the youngest of the 7 siblings and a Bicol Open tennis champion .

  3. Thanks, Dr. Ma.humilde Baranda-janaban, for your feedback. I used to play tennis at the court near the Sorsogon Prov’l Capitol in the 1980s. I have renamed today our MabuhayRadio.com Small Business Page to a Sports Page & we will discuss there how we can develop Sorsogon as the Filipino HQ for tennis, baseball & other sports where height is not primary consideration. You may access this Sports Page by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mabuhayradiocoms-Sports-Page-for-Filipinos-Sorsoganons/171614762867244?ref=hl FYI.

  4. (As posted in the “Mabuhayradio.com’s Sports Page for Filipinos – & Sorsoganons” from the “My Magallanes” FB Group): Actually to push the development of tennis in Sorsogon, we need the help of Cecil Mella, our province’s only Davis Cupper. I met w/ Igsoon Cecil at his residence then in Chicago, IL, in November 2003 (where I stayed during my visit) & we discussed how Sorsogon could be the No. 1 tennis (& also golf) center in PH but we could not persuade the Herodes of Sorsogon to support athletic development. Igsoon Cecil is both a tennis & golf instructor in the U.S.A. (he is now in Florida).

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi Bobby,

      You have an interesting story. Last December, I dropped by SNHS and check the status of the Sepak Takraw team; I found out that my former school doesn’t participate on the said sports anymore. According to one of the senior teachers SNHS is not a sports power house anymore unlike a decade ago.

      For somebody to influence the locales, one has to stay longer in Sorsogon and build the relationship on the grassroots level. Forget about the support from the government agencies; worse if it’s tennis IMHO – it’s a rich man’s game.

      One of the reasons IMHO, that Bigit’s sister was successful as a player back then because of the support of her family and of the members of the club themselves. I understand there were some limitations, nonetheless, she got support from the people around her.

      In any case, your experience is not exactly different from what our national sports industry is facing – all hot air from the sports officials.

      And thank you for sharing something about Cecil Mella.

  5. Sheen Mendoza says:

    Kung mamarapatin mo, Saan merong laruan ng Table Tennis dito sa Sorsogon? Salamat 🙂

  6. Pingback: That leaves one Clay Tennis Court? | Sorsogon City

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