Contrary to what some expats beleive that chess is hopeless and dying in the Philippines (which I respectfully have to disagree, I'm Manila based chess blogger, witnessing the progress first hand), a survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) shows that chess in the country is experiencing an all time high in terms of popularity. Although billiards and bowling remains the most successful non contact/physical games for the Philippines in the international sports scene (RP has 6 world pool champs, bowling has 3 world champs), it is chess that remains the most beloved non-physical sports for most Filipinos. In a recent article at Inquirer.net;
And no surprised that the sport is widely being played around the Metro than the rest of country where tournaments and clubs are being organized here and there like mushrooms. Not to mentioned that most of our top players, chess media personnel, are also based in the Metro.
Chess is the No. 1 game. It turns out that chess is the Filipinos’ most popular game, meaning non-physical sport. Those citing it as the game they play most frequently are 15.6 percent in the country. This projects to 8.5 million adult chess players nationwide, based on a population of 54.1 million Filipino adults when the survey was done.
And if you think that the sport is played mainly by the 'tambay or the lower classes, then you misinterpret chess culture in the Philippines in its entirety.
Chess is relatively more popular in Metro Manila, where it is cited by 20 percent, than in the rest of Luzon (18 percent), in Visayas, and in Mindanao (the last two both 12 percent).
The popularity of chess grows with education and socio-economic class. It is the favorite game of only 1 percent of those who didn’t finish elementary school, 10 percent of those with some high schooling, 20 percent of those with some college, and 26 percent of college graduates. Only 11 percent of class E adults, compared to 24 percent of class ABC adults, call chess their favorite game.
It was not mentioned how many Filipinos plays chess online but I'm pretty sure that the numbers would greatly surprised everyone. Chess is the undisputed non-physical sport in the archipelago and the most passionate about the sport in all of Asia. It is with these people that CH draw strength and inspiration.