The History of Volleyball in the Philippines

a group of people playing volleyball on the beach

The Philippines had more influence over the style of modern volleyball than you might think. In fact, Philippine volleyball players invented the set and spike. More than 800 million people in the world play volleyball at least once a week, according to information from the Westlake High School physical education department. This competitive sport burns 364 calories per hour for a 200-pound person.


The history of volleyball in the Philippines dates back to 1910. The Physical Director of the YMCA, Elwood S. Brown, first introduced volleyball to the Philippines that year. Philippine people began to play volleyball as a backyard sport and games of beach volleyball soon followed, according to information from the Philippine Volleyball Federation, or PVF. Players hung the net between two trees. They made up their own rules regarding how many players on each side and how many times you could hit the ball before sending it over the net.

Three-Hit Limit

The Philippine style of volleyball inspired the Americans to create the three-hit limit, according to information on the PVF website. Before the rule, Philippine volleyball teams would sometimes let every player hit the ball before sending it over to the opposing side. This took too much time and snuffed out the challenge and competitive nature of the game.

Set and Spike

With the new three-hit rule in place, Philippine players experimented with new volleyball techniques and came up with the set and spike, a.k.a. the “Filipino Bomb.” In this offensive passing style, one player hits the volleyball and sends it high in the air to set it up for another player on her team. A second player then strikes the ball sending it over the net at a downward angle. This is called spiking the ball.

Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association

The date July 4, 1961 marks the birth of the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association. The director for the Playground and Recreation Bureau, members of the business community and others gathered to create an organized volleyball association in the Philippines. The Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association was later named the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association and is currently called the Philippine Volleyball Federation. It is affiliated with and accredited by the Philippine Olympic Committee, Asian Volleyball Confederation and the Federation International de Volleyball.