Marielle Benitez

The Best of Both Worlds: Marielle M. Benitez as Football Player and as Bayanihan Dancer

We were so lucky to have had Marielle Benitez as guest today! 🙂

Marielle was a graduate of Woodrose School, a PAREF School.  She formed part of its football team “to spend more time with friends” and, since then, has been enjoying the sport until she became part of the National Team at age 16 (later as captain of the Women’s National Football Team). Thus she has come to be labelled the “David Beckham of the Philippines” 🙂

Marielle is a granddaughter of the prestigious Ms Helena Benitez, owner and founder of Philippine Women’s University (PWU).  This explains why she’s currently PWU’s Sports Development and Physicial Education director.  This also explains why she has come to form part of and enjoy the beautiful dancing at the BAYANIHAN (means, literally, ‘solidarity’, ‘all for one, one for all’) or Philippine National Folk Dance Company, of which her Mom is Executive Director.

What amazes me about Marielle is her ability to combine all these skills and achievements –National Dance performances on the hand, and excellent football on the other hand– at the same time.  Out of all the data she shared with us, allow me to highlight the following as critical, because of their formative reach and their ability to touch people lives:

  • The training she has given to kids, especially to special children, in the program called “CHAMPS”.  A spin-off activity of this enabled Pinoy street kids to win against Brazil in the Street Child World Cup this 2010!
  • Creation of town-specific local dance: A new program  initiated by her Mom as a program she called “Teaching and Touching Lives”, whereby the Bayanihan Dance Company would ‘adopt a city or town’ and create a specialized dance peculiar to or representative of that particular place, e.g., “Zapatero” for Marikina, or “Bangkero” for Pagsanhan (referring to the bangkas plying the Pagsanjan falls).

What occured to me are the values and education being imparted in these initiatives.  For example, in CHAMPS, the special kids (autistic, ADHD) are made to wait or be patient until they achieve victory in a given sport, and therefore grow in these virtues (at the same time learning the sport) which elsewhere they may learn only with difficulty. Or in the “localized dances creation” in that “adopt-a-town” program, there is a fantastic achievement of cultural heritage awareness and promotion, which otherwise may be lost through the “metropolitanization” of our arts & culture programs in our schools.


Kudos, Marielle Benitez! I’m your new fan!



Marielle’s Multiply Site:

Manila Bulletin story, 25 May 2010:

Bayanihan: Dancing to the World:

Helena Benitez and here family:

Segment Host, ‘Road to Johannesburg’, 2010 FIFA World Cup:

RP Street kids beat Brazil in soccer: