Asian 5 Nations 2014: Philippine Volcanoes vs Japan Brave Blossoms and when the scoreboard doesn’t even matter at all

Hot and humid. It was 34 degrees and the sun was just relentless. Heat & exhaustion can easily nauseate you if you’re not used to this kind of weather in the Philippines. And despite all of this, there in the middle of the Southern Plains Football Field, you’ll find the Philippine Volcanoes, our national Rugby Union squad, lined up & ready to face Asia’s top team, the Brave Blossoms of Japan.

A few minutes into the game, we looked into the score board, 7-3 in favor for the visitors. Yes Japan was leading but the meager Filipino crowd still cheered on after team captain Oliver Saunders slotted home a gorgeous penalty around 40 meters out. It was like manna from heaven. Yes we scored!!!

6th minute into the game, Oli’s brother, Matty Saunders saw an opportunity, picked off an awkward pass from the Japanese and just made a run for it and scored again, 8-7, Philippines now up by a point versus Japan. Conversion from Matt’s try was successful and we got 10-7. For a while there, we were on top of mighty Japan and I just couldn’t explain the feeling. I was just so happy shouting and & cheering on for the team. Well done, just well done.

I think right before the game, nobody expected the team to score against Asia’s best after the jittery opener versus Hong Kong where the Hong Kong lads blanked us out, 108-Nil. We didn’t expect the score but I for one, didn’t doubt the team. I always know they have it in them. I know they can, they just have to find out how to. 🙂

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We lost to Japan, 99-10 but who cares? Who cares we lost to them & who cares the lead didn’t last? All those Volcanoes supporters, Expats & Filipinos alike, doesn’t seem to care. They don’t seem to be bothered by the scoreline. I think what really matters is that we got into the scoreboard and for a while there, the team shone & gave us a glimpse of what could have been if both 15s and 7s were given equal opportunity in funding, preparation, camp, training, and everything else by the Union. And that reminded us why we need not to waver and get tired of supporting this team. When all else fails, the team can only count on us, the 16th man, to get behind them and cheer them on.

I’m on the verge of ranting again, really. But no… Don’t you go barging the dark side again. I’m pretty sure I share that same level of frustration with some friends in the Rugby community. I take comfort in that and in the hopes that somehow, in the near future, everything will change for the better and for the benefit of the team. So, let’s just leave the ranting to another post and just relive the fun moments last saturday! 😀

This trip and game watching almost didn’t materialized after we found out that all games will be held in Southern Plains in Laguna and not in University of Makati as originally planned by the Union. But thanks to my good friend Nikki, former Liaison Officer for Chinese Taipei (Under 20s) and Sri Lanka, who came all the way from Singapore, we were able to rent a van to take us to Laguna. She is the coolest really! And we really miss her, more than a year away from the Philippines, she spent 2013 in Singapore.

Nikki in the middle wearing light blue blouse & skirt with the girls!
Nikki in the middle wearing light blue blouse & skirt with the girls!

 

Then a few weeks before the game versus Japan, Junnel, former PRFU Administrative Officer and a good friend of mine informed me that a certain “Volcanoe” is in distress upon knowing that the games will not be held in University of Makati but in the far-flung Southern Plains. “They need a ride..” Junnel said. So I said yes (just cause, I couldn’t say no to any Volcanoe who needs my help)! :)))

lucky Josh he got himself some fan-girls!
lucky Josh he got himself some fan-girls!

Meet Joshua Tolentino, Rugby player who is currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He tried out for the team year 2012 and stayed for the camp but unlucky he wasn’t able to make the cut. Though he never got capped for the Philippines, he remained close to the team and has been keeping tabs on the team’s progress. So needless to say, I’m glad I was able to reunite Josh with his Volcanoes family. I can see & feel he misses the team and really wants to get back to play again. Perhaps in the near future, he’s only 26, still young and can still try out. Hell we have Lolo Austin Dacanay in the team who’s 37 so really, nobody’s too old for any sport!

But right now, Josh is enjoying the moment with his wife. They’re newly weds! Just a week old in marriage and they found themselves in the Philippines watching games and about to go on vacationing La Boracay style! :))) Congratulations to this lovely couple! Cheers to more years of wedded bliss! 🙂

Of course I wouldn’t pass up the chance of taking pictures of the game. It became rare these days when I get to enjoy and indulge my love for photography so whenever there are games, I go for it. (Apologies for the lack of practice in taking shots) Here are some of the photos I got last Saturday:

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Taken right after the game. Ze lads gamely posed for the picture taking. :)))) It became pretty hard to take pictures when all the fans (mostly girls) came running to the field right after the game! XD

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Really been a while since I last capture photos like this. 🙂

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Lolo Austin… uhhhmmm… I just couldn’t figure it out what he was doing? Be like “hey guys, give us the ball and you be spared!” -LOL :)))))))

 

Scrum. Contesting the ball.
Scrum. Contesting the ball.

The Philippine Power Forwards! All those  eaten cupcakes paid off! (Yes, Lolo Austin, you..) hahahaha!

Stay up high, Japan.
Stay up high, Japan.

This picture, I got it by accident. I was holding my DSLR and accidentally pressed it while holding it up and viola! 🙂

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And here’s the team Physio for as long as I can remember, Rico!!! 🙂 He’s the go-to guy for all injury-related stuff. You can see him busy running around and tending on the team’s various injuries. There’s just no “petiks” time for this guy! And to me, he’s one of those unsung heroes behind the team who never gets mentioned and never gets any citation for doing a job well done every single tournament the team is in. He’s the hardest working Physio I know and for that Sir, I am forever grateful for all the things you’ve done for the team! Maraming maraming salamat po for taking care of them! 🙂

Also happy that I was able to take my cousin with me last Saturday (2nd girl from the left). She had a blast and enjoyed the day! It was Jae’s first time to watch Rugby 15s live and I am totally happy to have shared that experience with her. 🙂

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and lastly… t’was odd… I find this awesome! :)) awesome that a guy as big as him (#1) made it into the National Team! Buff and chiseled bodies be damned but he can bulldoze opponents in a heart beat! :))) i am so proud! guess you need not to be “model size” to get to play Rugby! and we both play the same position! Prop! :))))) –> can somebody get me the name of this player?! :))

It was a fun day indeed. And really happy to be reunited with the team! Despite what happened before the Japan game (between me and the PRFU Admin and it’ll be reserved to another post), I will never get tired of supporting the Philippine Volcanoes who’ve become a second family to me through the years of doing volunteer work for the Union. They are family, period. And I can always look beyond the score board. Guess you can say, my love for the team and the sport is greater than those numbers & those stats. And like the famous saying in Hawaii –> Family is Ohana.. and Ohana means nobody gets left behind! Walang iwanan, I promise! 🙂

**Please guys if you have time, we still have one home game on May 24th in Southern Plains, Laguna versus South Korea. Please be there and get behind the Philippine Volcanoes! Game kicks off 3:30pm.**

So until the next great Rugby Adventure! 🙂

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy.

 

 

 

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RUGBY: Time for Asian 5 Nations 2014! :)

It’s that time of the year again! yes folks it is! And the Philippines got all the reason to be giddy and excited… Rugby Asian 5 Nations 2014 is just around the corner! woot-woot! 🙂 Since 2012, the Philippines have been playing in the top tier of the prestigious Rugby union tournament along with Japan (the only qualifying Asian team in the Rugby world cup), Hong Kong, Korea, and the recently promoted Sri Lanka.

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2013 Asian 5 Nations Finals game vs UAE
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2012 Division I Championships. Right after we beat Sri Lanka
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Volcanoes in training at Nomads Club. 2012.

For this year, we are facing tough match ups once again. But I’ll be honest, that 2 games vs Korea & Sri Lanka can be “winnable” like what Coach Jared Hodges said but then again, operative word here is “can” and this win situation can easily turn into a loss. Last year, we were not able to snag a win against tough Korea and as for the newly promoted Sri Lanka, I’m expecting some vengeance and  a “payback whip” from them since it was their loss vs Philippines last 2012 that ended their run for Top flight Division and us getting promoted & playing with the big guns. I’ve seen the Sri Lanka team and this is a “new breed” team, players I have yet to see play since their last tour here in the Philippines and a new coach I hear coz the last one, Coach Phil Greening, was sacked after they failed to get the spot in Top 5.

But I’ve got my faith in our team (always do). We are hard workers, we persevere despite challenges, and we play all heart out for the country. 🙂

Again, to all our fellow Filipinos, we invite you to watch the games live this Apr-May 2014. We have 2 home games (same as last year’s only with different opponents this time for home games). May 3rd vs top guns Japan & May 24th vs South Korea. ALL GAMES WILL HAPPEN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MAKATI FOOTBALL FIELD. Ticket & game times will be announced later, perhaps by early April.

For the meantime, here’s the schedule of Philippine Volcanoes game in Asian 5 Nations 2014:

April 26, 2014 – Philippines vs. Hong Kong (away game at Hong Kong Football Club, Hong Kong)

May 3, 2014 – Philippines vs. Japan (home game at University of Makati Football Field, Makati, Philippines)

May 17, 2014 – Philippines vs. Sri Lanka (away game at Colombo Racecourse, Colombo)

May 24, 2014 – Philippines vs. South Korea (home game at University of Makati Football Field, Makati, Philippines)

This will be a tough climb and the team needs all the support they can get especially during the home games. Let’s make use of the home field advantage! head to UMAK field, support, cheer, and get behind the Philippine Volcanoes! 🙂 Hope to see you all there! 🙂

P.S.: It never fails, A5N always makes me feel like I’m finally seeing my family again. hehehehe… seeing all my brothers & sisters from another mother & father comin’ in for the event! really can’t wait… stoked! 🙂

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy!

For my other RUGBY related posts, click on the links below:

https://kalelbrave.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/hsbc-asian-5-nations-filipino-fans-easily-the-best-in-the-world/

https://kalelbrave.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/hsbc-asian-5-nations-2013-memoirs-of-the-weekend-and-of-the-game/

https://kalelbrave.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/random-thoughts-of-being-a-proud-pinoy-and-of-the-philippine-volcanoes/

Random thoughts: Of being a proud Pinoy and of the Philippine Volcanoes

Have you ever felt so frustrated that any moment you feel like you can burst like a bubble? Yeah, its always like that for me when I see empty seats in the stadium. It is also kinda depressing. Why are people not coming in if we’ve been doing so well after 5 years? Why are people not coming if the team have been phenomenal?

Do you know what its like when you’ve played your heart out, almost losing a limb in the process and yet nobody seems to know? Nobody’s watching? Yeah, tell me all about it. That’s the most painful that after you’ve given everything you’ve got, nobody cares. I should know coz I’ve been playing football for 3 years (not an athlete just to be clear) and the teams I’m with still struggle, begging for people’s attention. But its quite understandable coz we are not a National Team.

But for a National Team like the Philippine Rugby Team Volcanoes, who’s been existing, playing and doing really, really well for the last 5 years, not getting the people’s attention sucks big time.

For the past 2 years that I have been volunteering and helping out in organizing the tournaments & handling International teams for the Union, this always get my attention — empty stadium seats.

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We’ve been struggling (pretty damn hard to be honest) to fill the stadium with audience who can cheer & vie for the team. With a capacity of just 13,000, Rizal Memorial Stadium (RMS) is considered one of the smaller venues for football here in Asia. Best we can do is an almost (but not quite) full grandstand during the final game with still empty bleachers (the green & blue area).

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yep, that green area –> bleachers of RMS. Still empty seats.

So you ask yourself, what seems to be the problem? The team have been doing really, really well, on top of their game since the team formed & played year 2008. And to prove just how good, no, how PHENOMENAL the Philippine Volcanoes are, the International Rugby Board (IRB) applauds the team citing its remarkable climb to the top of the rankings. IRB says & I quote; “Of these seven nations, the Philippines are the ones to have left their mark, ending the year 15 places higher than they entered the rankings after winning the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division 1 title on home soil in April to earn their place alongside the continent’s elite in 2013.” And its not only the 15s team who’s cited with remarkable performance, the 7s team as well as they have qualified for the 2013 Rugby 7s World Cup in Russia for the first time in record history.

Read IRB’s full article here: http://www.irb.com/rankings/news/newsid=2064835.html

Well perhaps the sport Rugby is too foreign to Filipinos. We’ve been known for ages as Basketball and Boxing country and these two can be quite hard to contest with. Rugby is totally foreign to us that we’ve got no historical ties with it. And we also cannot deny the fact that its hard to endear yourself to a team looking too foreign, sounding so foreign too, speaking any language but not Tagalog and know nothing about the Philippines, not until they made it into the team.

But I dare not to lose hope. I started out as a soccer player but I fell head over heels in love with Rugby. The discipline, fitness and the confidence it gives you, something that I never found in Soccer. Its really not hard to love and embrace the sport, if you just give it a chance.

And what’s not to love about the team? Well for girls, you can see the very “obvious” reason why they hound I mean support the players as most of them are good-looking sons of a gun and can give David Beckham a run for his money!!! But kidding aside, they may look & sound too foreign having no knowledge about the mother land and cannot sing the national anthem in whole, believe me, they’re Pinoys through and through and here is why:

1) Like most of us Pinoys, they too love to take their pictures of new places, stuff, and what have you. Look at Ollie Saunders here with his new furniture & that other photo taken when he first got on board NTT Shining Arcs RFC of Japan! :)) I must say, that is just so Pinoy, Ollie! and that peace sign.. Pilipino ka nga! :))

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2) Ask Matt Bellenie “What about you is Filipino?” His answer? “My rice consumption & dashing good looks!” ahahaha! read full article here: http://www.teamphilippinevolcanoes.com/1/post/2013/04/10-questions-for-mat-bellenie.html. But I think, the way you sleep is the most Pinoy in you! :)) photo courtesy of Ollie! :))

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3) One of the most favorite food of Darran Seeto is Chicken Inasal! Whether it’s from Bacolod or Iloilo, it doesn’t matter, as long as it is Inasal!

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4) Ask Lolo Austin Dacanay of how proud he is of his Filipino heritage & of being a Philippine Volcanoe, here’s what he said:

We represent 92 Million people every time we put on that National Team jersey. And although the brotherhood is very loose & fun, from the most senior players to the rookies, we all understand that it’s an honor and privilege to represent the Philippines. Our words, actions and performance is just a result of that understanding. Being a Volcano finally validates all of the years of sports where I fought with the White, Black and Hispanic kids that I never fit in with, but tried so hard to. It has given me an identity that I am forever proud of, and that honestly, I’m ashamed not to have known much about until 2007. It’s something that I will pass on to the players that follow me, to my children, and every Filipino that I meet anywhere in the world until I’m gone. I’m proudly Pinoy, and that’s what it means to be a Volcano.”

Lolo is definitely one proud Pinoy! Fact: Austin Dacanay is one of the few team members who’s pure Filipino, both parents are Pinoy. read full article here: http://www.teamphilippinevolcanoes.com/1/post/2013/04/10-questions-for-austin-dacanay.html

Just give ’em a chance, will ya? They all have a different way of thinking & speaking but they are doing their best to adjust and reach out to fellow Pinoys. They need room to work at trying to live and be a Filipino without other fellow Pinoys judging them or making fun of them. They are all working hard to get to know a place that they didn’t have the privilege of growing up in. We should also recognize and accept the fact that they are bi-cultural, that the other half of them belongs to another place, another home.

Now think of it this way… These players CHOOSE TO PLAY FOR THIS COUNTRY, FOR THE PHILIPPINES. They can opt to play to wherever but they choose here, they chose us. Its more than a testament that they acknowledged and embraced the Filipino in them.  Who is a Filipino? Sino nga ba ang Pilipino? How can one say I am a Filipino? Is it the color of your skin? Your looks perhaps? Is it the language you know & speak of? Somebody born, raised, and living here in the Philippines? Somebody born from 2 legit Filipinos? Here’s what I think — You don’t have to be born, raised, and living here in the Philippines for you to be called and considered a Filipino.  Being a Filipino is not just by blood, by your skin color, or your looks — it is but most importantly by heart.

One of my favorite sports commentator and analyst, Sir Bob Guerrero capped all of this in one of his interview: “At the end of the day, if your momma knows how to cook a mean adobo, then you have to be considered Pinoy. Even if you are raised abroad and have never been to the Philippines. The reality is there is a huge Filipino diaspora living abroad and their children have every right to represent the Philippines in sports.”

and its just mean and unfair of us to deny these lads of our support. We should remember to love our own, no matter what package they are presented in. : ) So the next time you think about you being a Filipino and how proud you are of it, remember these lads and how they fight just to bring glory and pride to the mother land.

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I am inviting everyone to get behind the Philippine Volcanoes and support them in their home games on May 4th & 18th, 7pm at Rizal Memorial Stadium. Tickets are available in all Ticket World outlets nationwide and via Ticket World online: https://www.ticketworld.com.ph/Online/default.asp. PLEASE do watch the games live! It will make a world of difference seeing your home crowd cheering for you to win, it’ll definitely give the team a boost after the loss vs Japan and I’m pretty sure the boys will appreciate it seeing each and everyone of you at the stadium. : )

So why am I doing this? What do I get from this? I frequently ask myself that. To be honest, this is not a paid article. I get nothing doing this… I don’t even know if the players even know that I am doing this or if they even remember me… But, I’ve seen them since day 1 and the amount of dedication, passion, and hard work they put in to just wear that jersey and represent this country, it just moves me. Their eagerness to share and teach what they know about the sport to every Pinoy, that makes me happy. Their “never give up” attitude, Pinoy na Pinoy yan and something that I look up to. And their love for fellow Pinoys, always trying to pay it forward in anyway they can, all of these, It makes me extra proud that I am Filipino. The Philippine Volcanoes is one of the many reasons why I flaunt and will always be proud that I am PINOY! : )

Be in the know and catch up with the team & the Union thru:

https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineRugby

https://twitter.com/PhilippineRugby

For inquiries and sponsorship, you may contact the union via:

http://www.prfu.com/

email: communications@prfu.com

email: prfu@prfu.com

Best of luck to the team in their next games! and everyone, hoping to see you all in Rizal this May! : )

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy.

Philippine Lady Volcanoes on ARFU Women’s Division 2 Tournament

After the success of Philippine Volcanoes in the recently held Asian 5 Nations 2012, their lady counterparts, Lady Volcanoes is now gearing up for the ARFU Women’s Division 2 Tournament happening this June 14 and 16. The Philippines will again be the host nation for the said women’s event.

Lady Volcanoes will take on Laos, Thailand, and Singapore in a four day tournament happening at Eagle’s Field, Southern Plains, Silangan, Laguna next week. In preparation for the tournament, the Lady Canoes will be in a four-day camp starting June 10 under the supervision of National Team Coach Expo Mejia, who also coached the men’s team to championship last A5N 2012. It will be one tough climb for the ladies but its doable. They are eyeing Thailand and Singapore as the hardest teams to beat, especially Singapore, the team relegated to Division 2 after they failed to win games in Division 1 last year.  Laos on the other hand, will be the must win game for the Lady Canoes to avoid demotion to lower division.

Lady Volcanoes line up for ARFU Women’s Division 2 Tournament 2012:

Lalaine Albarando
Alice Almocera
Amelia Bryere
Rose De La Cruz
Blessie De Los Santos
Mai Farjado
Jessica Filoteo
Tonette Gambito
Eloisa Jordan
Aye Honoras
Ann Layumas
Nikki Lira
Ada Milby (Captain)
Nicole Moore
Rozie Morala
Noreen Novero
Reena Novero
Aiumi Ono
Anne Sajorne
Madille Salinas
Acee San Juan
Angelica Santican
Manila Santos
Cassie Umali (Vice-Captain)

Lady Volcanoes with Singapore after a friendly game last week (photo credits to Singapore team)

Women’s Rugby is still on a struggle for development in this side of the world, that is the reality we cannot deny. When i started training Rugby with this team, few girls pay attention and interest in the sport primarily because its a tough sport to play and Filipinas are typically the shy, quiet, and gentle type. You see the picture? Let me quote what Coach Expo said in one of his media interviews “Filipino girls find it hard to be aggressive on the field while playing Rugby.” Pinays and Rugby don’t mesh up easily. Another thing that halts the development of the sport for women, well unlike the men’s team who’s popularity shoots up like a meteor, spectators and sponsors alike don’t pay much attention to women playing Rugby. But having said all of these, I still am hopeful that one day, Filipinas will learn to embrace the sport and they’ll be able to earn respect from football fans and get much needed support from sponsors as well. After all, who says Maria Clara can’t play ball? In this day and age, everything is doable and possible if we believe. 😉

I too have fond memories training with this team. Because I’m more focused on soccer and my club just recently joined the first ever Women’s Soccer League in Philippine soil, I kinda lost Rugby a little so my dream to play together with these wonderful ladies will remain parked in the meantime.

Here are some of our pics during Rugby training;

yes true, Rugby skills are still a work in progress but what we lack in skill, we compensate with our heart & iron-will to win. I think even the great American Football Coach Vince Lombardi will agree with me that the will to win is the most important of all. At the end of the day, its not the greatest team or the fastest player who is a winner, it is the one who believed she is a winner and she can make it to the top.

so girls, i bid you good luck. I will be cheering you on towards winning. Whatever it is that you’re going through as an individual and as a team, just shrug it off. keep your focus. don’t listen to people who says you can’t do it, just believe in yourself and in your capabilities, that right there makes you a winner already. and always remember that whatever the outcome is, as long as you know you give more than your 100% in it, you gave it your best shot, you can always hold your head up high and be proud. toughen it up! never surrender, never back down! best of luck! 🙂

Please do watch the ARFU Women’s Division 2 games happening on June 14 and June 16, 3pm-5pm at Eagle’s Field, Southern Plains, Silangin, Laguna. Let’s cheer on our Lady Canoes to win! 😀 

RESPECT. DISCIPLINE. PINOY PRIDE.

will be back to regular programming in a few! :D

sorry guys, been busy lately with the recently concluded HSBC Asian 5 Nations Rugby tournament but i promise to blog about that awesome experience I had with the 4 participating teams, Volcanoes, and PRFU! 😀 t’was pure RUGBY AWESOMENESS! :>

but it’ll be more about behind the scenes and all.. haha! been really busy handling my team Chinese Taipei Rugby Team that’s why i never got time to take photos of the canoes or watch closely each and every game! XD

Bostik 10s League at Nomads Sports Club (Saturday, February 18, 2012)

RUGBY AT THE HOME FRONT: So before we gear up for the most awaited Rugby 7s event here in Asia, the Hong Kong Sevens happening this March, check out some  Rugby happenings here in Manila.

Last saturday, February 18, 2012 was indeed a good day for Philippine Rugby as the 3rd round of Bostik 10s League commenced at Nomads Sport Club in Paranaque with Alabang Eagles, Alabang Ibons, Nomads, and Globe Immortals leading the pack  for the men’s team and Team Xena (formerly Team GL) leading the women’s team  (in terms of standing).

i was suppose to play for Team Xena but unfortunately I got injured while in training. Doctors told me its Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) and will be sidelined again for 3 weeks and do therapy to strengthen quads, hamstring and inner thigh muscles. this is my second major injury after I pulled & torn my right calf muscle last year (in Rugby traininng too). its a definite setback i have to admit and i was getting depressed and all for just sitting on the sidelines and watching my mates play and have fun. but the good thing about this whole getting injured stuff is that i was able to indulge the other love of my life which is PHOTOGRAPHY! 😀

Aside from training in PRFU’s Rugby 101 program, I do volunteer work for them every now and then (worked as Liason Officer last December for the Division 2 Under 20s game held in Manila) and made good friends with the Admin officers and the coaches so I was thrilled when Junnel asked me to be the “sort of official” photographer that day. armed with my Nikon D5000 and just my kit lens (18mm-55mm) plus the trusty point-and-shoot Nikon camera of PRFU, i managed to get some good shots last saturday! 😀

Behind the scene photos:

at the match officials tent before the game starts with (l-r) LO Nikki, PRFU Admin Officer Junnel, and LO Mika! Kuya Ren and Ms. Precious at the back chatting.. =)

two of my most favorite coaches: Coach Expo & Coach Grant! their one of the world’s finest! =) took this photo while they’re busy talking about the weather i think! =)))))

yehey! may picture na si Junnel! =)))) (from left to right) my good friend Zsazsa with Nikki & Junnel! i’m not sure what’s the name of the guy at the back! 😀

this is a mix of players from all the women’s team who participated last saturday: Team Xena, MAAP, and  Alabang Bullets.. the girls warming it up before the big game! =)

and still all smiles after a tough game! =)

We’re also honored to have Cebu Dragons as our guest last saturday! They may have been beaten by Alabang Eagles but we cannot deny that these lads fought with all their might! Mga Bai! You have all my respect! hopefully we get to see more of them in the coming games!

man of the match gets this baby from Hardy’s! =)

and last but definitely not the least, 3 of my favorite photos that day!

i got so lucky that these two lads tackled one another near the area where i’m standing so i managed to capture the intense moment. Raging Bisons (in black) versus Manila Vipers (in red). the one in black is a good friend of mine and a former LO too for the U20s event last December, Noel Villa. It wasn’t surprising that he got himself to rugby since before we even started volunteering for PRFU, he’s been a fitness buff and sports junkie too! proud of you Noel! you really had it in you! =) although i have to say that the one in red nailed it! kudos for a priceless game face and superb battle cry! =)))))

the picture is a bit dark but i didn’t brighten it up coz I wanna emphasize the time of the day this photo was taken, its twilight and the two teams (Hapons and Manila Nomads) are still battling it out at the line throw out.. adds drama to the pic don’t you think.. =)

i also had a huge respect for the players of Hapons (in white). i’ve been seeing a lot of “Oji-san” (Grandfathers) playing for the team but they run, kick, and tackle like they’re in their 20’s! i’m just in awe really and i admire how fit they are that despite their age (oldest is 65 years old), they can still play rugby well.

this must have been what it’ll look like playing Rugby during Rizal’s time! 😀 and i can’t think of any other way to conclude this blog but with this photo. loving the old world vibe in there…

if there’s one thing i’d wish to see today is that Rugby getting as much attention and popularity as soccer. its a tough sport but there are a lot of values and discipline you’ll get from learning and playing the sport.  i hope one day Pinoys will love the sport as much as I am loving it today..

until the next Rugby adventure and keep on moving your feet! =)

*** Join us guys every Mondays & Wednesdays for FREE Rugby training sessions at Ultra, 6pm to 8pm! Be there!***

Let’s toughen it up for RUGBY 101! :D

If you can sum up the words FUN and TOUGH in just one, it’ll be RUGBY!!! =)

Yes my friends, you might be surprised to hear a girl trying to play the sport Rugby. I may be a girl but I’m not a softie like everyone else so when I heard that the Philippine Rugby Football Union is offering a Rugby 101 course for free, I grabbed the opportunity with no questions asked! 😀

My mom was diagnosed with a heart problem last May 2009 and that served as a wake up call for me to start living healthy. So I ditched rice, sweets, fatty foods, & junk food and started my quest towards healthy lifestyle. I went on looking for a sport to do and decided to run. Then I decided to take it up a notch and got myself drafted to my hometown’s local football team, Pasig United F.C., been playing for them 2 months now & was lucky enough to see some footy action on a recently held Football Tournament, Laurel Cup 2011.  Trying to move around as much as I can before I turn 30, the once-a-week soccer training was not enough to quench my thirst for crunch time on the pitch. I wanted more. I want to just go out there in the field and play so I went on looking for another sport and stumbled upon Rugby.

So, together with some of my mates from Pasig United F.C. Women’s, we booked ourselves for our first training sesh last July 06, 2011. Before training, I tried to learn as much as I can about Rugby, the positions, the rules of the game, the Haka (All Blacks for the win!), and everything about it but no one prepared us for that one tough night last July 06!  Our first Rugby training sesh was facilitated by Sir Jovic & Sir Gabe. The warm up was okay but then we went into doin’ the drills and it was INTENSE! At first I thought that Rugby, bein’ classified under football too was just the same with soccer only this time you’re playing with your hands. But I had it all wrong, man, all wrong! Rugby is the exact opposite of soccer! You have everything backwards. And doin’ all the foot drills, I was running around the pitch like a headless chicken, trying to concentrate not to hit the other players and at the same time do what the coaches was tellin’ me to do. Like in Soccer, running is essential so running and foot drills tops the list when training for Rugby. I enjoyed all the foot drills but it was tough. I was forced to run 200% more than my usual run in soccer. I play defense full back for soccer so most of the time I’m just hovering around near the goal post covering the goalie, not running much on the field. I could just wait for the forwards to come to me with the ball on their feet & will just have to clear the ball given the opportunity. But in Rugby, you’re always on your toes as all of the players in the team gets to have a chance to score — oh and if Soccer calls the points as goals, in Rugby, they call it a “try,” just want to share that little info with you guys. After the foot & running drills, we went to passing. Its tough too but I’d say its a great core & upper body work out coz I had to use all my core & arm muscles to catch & throw the ball properly. The biggest difference perhaps with soccer and Rugby is that the latter is a full contact sport, expect to get bumped or bruised when playing Rugby. You have to go touch opponents and try to stop them from scoring a try.

You can tell that the coaches were dead serious with the training, even with newbies and that was something I really admire (thumbs up to that!). For every bad call that we make because we didn’t pay attention or listened to the coaches equates to 1 set of 10 man push ups! But that I think is essential so that players will have discipline and will always listen to what the coach is saying. Then everything commenced into a SCRUMMAGE! yep, you got it right! if soccer calls the matches scrimmage, for Rugby its scrummage. We’re divided into two groups composed of 15 people, after brief instruction from the coach, we do head-on collision of a Rugby game! real intense!

The second training sesh was more intense than the first one since t’was Coach Aloh Abono who facilitated the session. He’s one hell of a tough guy, I tell yah! If the first training sesh I was pushed to run more than 200% of what I was used to in Soccer, now I was forced to step it up a notch to 300% as I heard Coach Aloh talking to me & to those left out in the formation: “Ayaw nyo bilisan?! Sige dadagdagan ko pa yan!” It was crazy but a good crazy coz all that running paid off. I used to finish a 5k marathon in an hour and 15 minutes but after all those running, I can complete a 5k in 40minutes! :)) and 2nd sesh turned out to be great as we learned how to do the tackle and all those tackle sessions in Rugby toughened me up as a defense for soccer! I can go head-to-head with a guy, not worrying about getting me self thrown out of the pitch. Oh and not to mention that I got my 1st 5 seconds of TV fame in Rugby as the crew of GMA 7 filmed our training for an episode of one of their sunday morning show! Really cool! =)

I’ve been to 4 sessions already and immensely proud that I was able to get out on every training sesh alive and in one piece! But seriously, I love the discipline of Rugby and I totally dig the challenges the sport has to offer. It pushes you to do good, to go out of your comfort zone, makes you constantly push yourself beyond your limits then you feel rewarded every after training, feeling proud that you did all those drills & you were able to play the rough but fun sport of Rugby! =)

oh and after a tough training sesh of Rugby, me & my mates were rewarded with.. dundundahhhh…

we get to meet & have a photo opt with one of the Philippine Volcanoes , Andrew Wolff! He’s so nice and very accomodating and so adorable too! right ladies??? great reward after a hard day’s work on the pitch! 😀

All of us while staring at Andrew Wolff, I mean resting after the intense Rugby training at Ultra! :))

goofing around after training! *on the sides: waiting for an opportunity to talk to you know who.. hehehe*

all tired but still lookin’ pretty after training! woot-woot!

me (in orange shirt & white socks) with the ladies.. i could just lounge here forever then sleep! so tired after training..

man, serious! PUFC girls are tough! to the core! as in!  We were able to finish the intense Rugby training in one piece! haha! proud of you ladies! good job!

On behalf of my team Pasig United F.C., we’d like to thank our Rugby coaches Sir Jovic, Sir Gabe, & Coach Aloh, maraming maraming salamat po for teaching us Rugby! Got to thank you guys for the patience and tons of encouragement while teaching a bunch of “super makukulit” ladies! And big thanks to PRFU for comin’ up with a great program such as this! mabuhay po kayo! =) because of you guys, we’ve got this new found respect for the sports Rugby, yes it is tough but I’d say you’ll come out every training a better person.

till the next training sesh guys! =)