Tuloy Foundation is located along the Alabang-Zapote road in Cupang, Muntinlupa, a stone’s throw away from Alabang Town Center. Tucked away in the back of the sprawling Tuloy complex is the new XO Field that was inaugurated on April 26. It’s a unique facility in many respects. The new field measures 87m by 45m. That’s far less than the regulation minimum of 100m by 64m, but this size is alright for recreational and youth play. This dimension is roughly similar to that of the BGC Turf field. It’s called the XO Field not because it finagled a lucrative naming rights deal with a Cognac brand. Fr. Rocky wants the street kids, orphans, and foundlings of Tuloy Foundation to grow up to be “extraordinary,” hence “X.O.”
Unlike almost every other artificial-grass field in the country, this pitch has no infill or rubber granules. The contractor, Firmbuilders, says this makes the surface much cooler on hot days since there is no heat-absorbing rubber. The Tencate Thiolon grass is branded Torch Grass, and Rolin Uy from Firmbuilders says Torch is a leading supplier in China. Underneath the grass is a 10mm shockpad for comfort. I must say it does feel very cushy. My 45-year-old knees approve. Tuloy kids play rugby too, so this soft pitch is great for that sport.
Firmbuilders are giving free maintenance to the pitch for five years. That is also the length of the warranty. This is Firmbuilders’ fourth pitch installation in the Philippines. They did the DLSU Canlubang pitch, the turf in Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, where Ilocos United played in the first PFL Season, and the ground in the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology in Cabanatuan. All of these pitches feature that signature striped grass that assistant referees, who must make offside calls, probably love. Firmbuilders next football project will be an indoor 200m track with a small futsal-sized turf field inside that will rise soon in Sta. Rosa. Watch for it!
There are yellow lines for two seven-a-side pitches that, based on my calculations, are 45 meters long and about 38 meters wide, a nice squarish size for small-sided play. Speedy wingers would love the abundance of space on the flanks. This makes the XO field ready for multi-pitch football festivals.
An interesting feature of this field are the penalty boxes and six-yard boxes that are smaller than regulation. I am told the goal frames are also smaller. The idea is to make these in proportion to the size of the field. I think the big box is now about 7 meters narrower than regulation. This philosophy is in contrast to the similarly-sized Turf BGC field, which has full-size penalty boxes, six-yard boxes, and goal frames, to simulate a real pitch. This set-up in XO is not going to be ideal for serious recreational players who want a full 40m by 18m penalty area, but for the kids in Tuloy who will be using the field the most, it’s okay.