Friday, November 02, 2007

Games big boys play

THE fighting was intense as the main body of a group called Masa confronted heavily armed terrorists trying to blow up a bridge in the middle of the forest. One group tried to maneuver around the well-entrenched terrorists, but they incurred heavy losses to snipers overlooking their line of attack.

Left flank team leader and Masa tactician Francis “Raptor” Vargas ordered his men to provide cover fire for the advancing troops. They were met by sporadic barrage of gunfire coming from every direction. As the situation escalated, they soon realized that they were pinned down, outgunned and getting short on ammunition.

But something has to be done to defuse the bomb! In a last-ditch effort, Mark “Rampage” Duclayan ordered his remaining troops to push forward through the enemy lines.

With overwhelming force and guns blazing—reinforcements led by Jennie Lontoc, a.k.a. Aero, finally came to the rescue.

The terrorists were finally forced to abandon their siege and hastily retreat.

These scenes may sound like battle encounters in the jungles of Mindanao or in some far-flung regions of the Philippines—but it’s not! It’s just one of the many scenarios that the Masa Airsoft Club (of which this writer is a member) plays out during one of its weekend Airsoft war games.

Majority of Masa or the Magiting Airsoft Alliance members are employees of TDK Fujitsu Philippines. Other Masa members include active police personnel, businessmen and medical practitioners.

Airsoft skirmishes are mostly held at the 15-hectare Magna Rubber Corp. compound in Loma, Biñan, Laguna, owned by the family of Paulo Garcia, an avid airsofter.

The area was chosen as the home site of Masa because of its proximity to the group’s place of work and the versatility of the site itself.

Old buildings are used for Close Quarters Battle and Military Operations on Urban Terrain, while the heavily wooded areas provide an excellent venue for guerrilla-type battles and large-scale skirmishes are played out on wide grassy areas.

According to Christopher Iñigo, who goes by the call sign Cobra, Masa was created to bring out the weekend warrior. It is a gratifying activity as a way to reminisce their childhood days when they used to play baril-barilan with friends.

The only difference now are the toys, mainly because they are quite expensive.

An Automatic Electric Gun will set one back around P6,000 for a stock China-made gun and P18,000 for the high-end brands. A set of Battle Dress Uniform is around P3,000. Practitioners even go to extreme lengths, like traveling to different historic war sites, just to get a feel of how it was like.

In the group’s most recent journey, it visited the historic capital town of Lingayen in Pangasinan.

Primarily, the Masa plays war games to have fun and strengthen its camaraderie as this is important, especially in its line of work.

They work as a team to achieve their target. Also, the group learns rules of gun safety and planning for combat strategies.

The group’s president, Rannie Samson, who goes by the call sign DKing, said: “Players’ safety comes first.”

All airsoft war games are well organized as safety checks are done to ensure everything is in order. FPS limits are strictly enforced and BDU and safety goggles are required.

Masa is a brotherhood of disciplined men, who knows the boundaries between a war game and the perils of real encounters. Every member has high regards for lawmen and soldiers, who risk their lives to protect the country. In short, airsoft is just a game played by the big boys!

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