This appears in the Thursday, June 30, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror.
Kaholeros to cheer on Azkals on July 3
by rick olivares
When the Philippine Men’s Football National Team played Mongolia during the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers at Panaad, Bacolod last February, the stadium was packed with some 16,000 plus people who cheered and gasped with every move made by the Azkals.
As terrific as the support the Azkals got, the cheers and chants died down quickly as the crowd couldn’t muster anything sustainable.
“That’s because we don’t have a footballing history,” said Richard “Ebong” Joson who once played for the varsity teams of Ateneo and UP. “The cheers and songs take years, even decades before the names, games, and championships are immortalized in song.”
Joson gained a measure of infamy when he ran down the track of Panaad Stadium prior the start of the Philippines-Mongolia match while dressed up in a blue wig and face paint. “That day the Blue Haired Freak was born,” joked Joson who is now known by the moniker.
While talking to Philippine Football Federation Treasurer Bonnie Ladrido while watching the replay of the Azkals’ games in the recently concluded AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Myanmar, the two thought of organizing a booster group that would help come up with cheers and chants for succeeding football matches.
Joson saw the local football film Happyland where there was a feature of street music as done by musician Paul Zialcita. Instead of using traditional percussion instruments, Zialcita used water jugs; the type used for water coolers.
“As a percussionist, I like tapping things,” recounted Zialcita who has been performing using the unique instruments since 2000. “I was by the water cooler when I tapped a half-filled container. I got a nice sound from it and thought, ‘this is a great sound.’ Since then, it’s been a love affair with this container of water that I call, ‘the aquadrum.’”
Along with Joson and many other football fans who are now called “Kaholeros”, they have come up with beats and chants (inspired by native beats) that they first unveiled during the recent exhibition match between the United Football League All-Stars and the Azkals (that ended in a 4-3 win by the former).
“We’re going to have 400 Kaholeros in the bleacher seats on Sunday, July 3 (for the home match of the Philippines against Sri Lanka,” added Joson. “We’re going to be using the aquadrum as well as traditional equipment in cheering for the team and putting hexes on the opposing team. Not something malicious, but something respectful in a way.”