Life in the Fast Lane


Sports Geeks Unite at Decathlon Philippines

By 8:55 AM , , , , , , , , ,

I am rarely in the south (specifically, the Alabang and Parañaque areas) since I live all the way in Quezon City. And with the traffic Metro Manila faces daily, it's an odyssey just to get from Point A to B on an almost hourly basis.

But on Sundays, I'm usually willing to make the trip. Especially because I have dear relatives who live in the south.

And now, I have a bonus reason to do so.

In the past weeks, some Facebook friends have tagged me in posts related to Decathlon Philippines, telling me that they're sure I would love it there. I told my sister, our family's resident hiking enthusiast, about it. She was so excited to check it out that we found ourselves in Festival Mall, Alabang, on a Sunday.

As soon as we saw the store from afar, my sister and I started to flail like giddy schoolgirls, and we brisk walked toward the entrance. When we were in, I stopped for a minute to take in how huge it was. Think S&R (for those who have been inside one), or the likes of Target, etc. — actually, just imagine one giant warehouse — filled with different kind of sports-only items, in shelves divided by sport.

According to the website, there are at least 70 sports represented in any Decathlon branch around the world.


My sister immediately helped herself to one basket that you could later roll on two wheels (should you start to fill it to the brim and feel its weight, haha!).

We split up and I decided to check out the different sections, agreeing to meet at a certain time. She stayed mostly in the Hiking, Trekking, Camping, and Climbing sections.

First, I went to the Biking Section. Decathlon's flagship bike brand, BTWIN, was on full display with a decent range of bikes: from mountain bikes, to road bikes, to commuter bikes, to children's bikes.

What I noticed immediately were the prices of the items. They were quite affordable, enough to rival the prices of some Taiwanese bike brands seen in many bike shops today (i.e. Trinx). You could get a decent mountain bike for about PhP 10K, and a starter road bike for PhP 17K. Their bike accessories were really cheap, as were their apparel, and I walked away with a floor pump for PhP 600 (one that I could actually use, without huffing and puffing my life away).

Next, I checked out the Swimming section. Again, I was happy to see the range of products available for training and racing: from goggles, to kickboards, to swimwear, to training fins and more.

But what piqued my interest was this. I have a pair of graded goggles from Speedo (yes, my eye grade is now 300; go, me), and when I saw that Decathlon carried their own line, I needed to buy a pair. After all it was just P400. This blew my mind. My Speedo pair cost me more than four times the price!

I can't wait to test this pair. Of course I'll be checking to see if it really doesn't fog up easily, and if water doesn't enter the goggles. But while trying it out in the store, I was amused to see how clear the lenses were. I don't imagine myself using this in races, but if this can serve as a decent back-up pair for training, that will be amazing.

I spent the most time in the running section (just because I didn't have enough money to buy more things for cycling, to be honest; HAHA). They had their own range of trail running and regular running shoes called Kalenji. Most of their running apparel also carried the Kalenji brand name.

I got myself a pair of running shorts (pictured above), compression socks (only for PhP 900; their competitor brands go for at least twice this price), and sweat-wicking tank tops (only for PhP 180 each!). Whew! 

Meanwhile, my sister went bananas over the different things she could buy for hiking or trekking. Her favorite purchase? A pair of hiking boots for only PhP 1,800!

Their tents, hiking backpacks, and pretty much most of their apparel were really, really affordable. And from the look and feel of things, their quality and build seem to be at par with their competitors.

Here are two other sections that I took pictures of — out of the many, many that I didn't get to take.

What I also appreciated was the fact that the people who work in the store are all involved with different sports/fitness activities. They actually use the products that the store carries; they literally walk their talk. In fact, the attendant in the Running section said that he used three pairs of Kalenji in a recent 160K trail run event that he competed in; he switched pairs at the first 50K mark, then the 100K mark, and used the third pair for the last 60K. Whew!

If only we could've shopped some more, we really would have. At least we know where to go next time we need something for our own respective sports/interests. We also now know our sizes when it comes to their tops, bottoms, and shoes, so we know what to look out for the next time we're there (or if we decide to order online).

My sister got several things for hiking and climbing (from gloves, to a fleece jacket, to leggings) as well things for biking, since she now cross-trains with me (namely, a pair of padded cycling shorts and shades). All were well within budget, too.

Now that we had a lot of stuff in our basket, it was time to remove those that were unnecessary for the time being. We had two elimination processes. Hahaha!

Yes, our basket was filled to the brim with our joint purchases! But I promise, we were able to remove a bunch of stuff that we didn't need just yet.

Before we knew it, it was time to pay up. The lines were quite long, but each transaction went by pretty quickly and smoothly. It was nice to see so many people buying things for their chosen sport/s; proof of how Filipinos are slowly integrating fitness into their lives.

What was blatantly missing, though, amidst this sea of different sports/fitness activities was a section dedicated to my beloved TRIATHLON. Please, Decathlon Philippines, get on board the tri train! Even if there are sections for swimming, biking, and running, there should be at least one half of a shelf dedicated to triathlon that could carry things like wetsuits, transition bags, trisuits (sleeveless, aero, one-piece, two-piece), transition baskets, and other things triathletes would need apart from the separate disciplines of swim/bike/run.

But I did come home with at least one item per discipline, as seen below: goggles (swim), floor pump (bike), compression socks, tank tops, shorts, and arch insoles (run).

While I have brands that I support, and brands that sponsor my triathlon team, it's good to know that I can buy the other things I need for training (not necessarily racing) and cross-training (i.e. I've started boxing, hiking, and even wall climbing, now that I'm not in training for a particular race), and that the items carried by the store are of good quality at affordable prices. After all, this is the vision of Decathlon Philippines, which they seem to be pulling off quite well; at least for now.

I hope that they'll expand to include even more sports, bring in more items, and maintain their budget-friendly prices. I look forward to seeing their growth and expansion (can the next branch be in the north?) and seeing even more Filipinos adopt a lifestyle of fitness.

P.S. Except for the last photo, the rest were taken with my new-old/secondhand Olympus Pen. Yes, I added another camera to my photography line-up and I'm happily experimenting with it at the moment. Should anyone choose to use any of my photos for whatever purposes, kindly contact me first.

P.P.S. This is not a sponsored post; how I wish it were, however!

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