The Bahay Bata boys spent the day with their host families and attended the daily classes at Clifton College. The boys had to partake in the various subjects at Clifton and this would be a different format than what they are accustomed to back in the Philippines.
After the lunch break the Bahay Bata boys had their first ever swim at the Clifton College indoor swimming pool and enjoyed the heated pool and indoor swimming facility, they knew exactly why England has indoor swimming pools -- the weather.
The team then prepared to play the Clifton College U14 A-team and knew that this game would be a tougher encounter than the victory they enjoyed over the B-team on Tuesday. The teams were evenly matched and the Clifton College team had prepared for the Bahay Bata playmakers. Fortunately, the sun was shining and unlike Tuesday’s game the boys were able to throw the ball around without the pressure of the wet conditions and a slippery ball.
It was Bahay Bata who came out firing in the second half with Neil Garcia scoring on the back of some solid forward play to take the lead 15 – 10. Kingsley Ballesteros was playing the game of tour as he consistently ran the ball forward engaging the Clifton defense and continually recycling the ball to set up attacking raids for the Bahay Bata backline. It was the Bahay Bata speedster John Mark Manaloto who was able to step around his opposite winger to score taking Bahay Bata’s lead to to a commanding 20 – 10.
The Clifton College team suddenly realized that they were at the hands of defeat and reacted with force and drove the Bahay Bata team deep into their own territory and eventually scored a try 20 – 15. The Clifton team knew they that there was only minutes left in the game and they threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Bahay Bata defense. This paid off with the Clifton College halfback diving over to score from the base of a ruck to equalize the game at 20 – 20 on the fulltime whistle. He then had to kick the conversion to win the game and level the series at one all, fortunately for the Bahay Bata team, he missed the conversion and the game ended in a draw. As Bahay Bata had won the first game by 20 -0 they were awarded the inaugural Clifton Cup.
Clifton College principal Mr. John Milne praised the efforts of both teams and challenged the Bahay Bata team to return next year to defend their trophy.
Day 6: Aboard the SS Great Britain
In the morning before the game vs. Clifton College, the boys were able to meet up with Touraid President, Andy Berry, who explained that the Bahay Bata tour was the 50th tour and had a special place in his heart. The whole group toured the SS Great Britain and Coach Cullen was able to trace some of his ancestral lines in the ships log book, finding 12 Cullen's who were on the original trips to Australia, in all the SS Great Britain made 32 epic voyages to Australia between 1877 and 1898. The ship has been fully restored to its magnificent grandeur and the boys were able to discover what life was like for the early settlers traveling to Australia.
Day 7: Twickenham and Sightseeing in London
The Bahay Bata group traveled across England to visit Twickenham Stadium, the journey took 2.5 hrs and the boys were taken on a 1.5 hr tour of the stadium which included the President’s Board Room, Nike Corporate Box, England’s changing rooms and running through the tunnel to enter the hallowed turf. The boys were amazed to sit in the top row of a stadium that holds 82,000 and they felt as though they were on top of the world as they gazed down upon the perfect green pitch.
The Stadium tour was arranged by ex-Clifton College teacher and current RFU Head of Elite Rugby, Mr. Kevin Bowring who joined the tour and was impressed to hear that Rugby Union was flourishing in the Philippines. The boys sat in the England players’ individual changing room places and Coach Cullen addressed the team with a old fashioned team talk about the upcoming game against Clifton College. The boys lined the sideline of Twickenham and imagined what it would be like to play in front of 82 ,000 screaming England fans.
From here the group traveled into the center of London to meet the Philippine Ambassador, Mr. Reynaldo Catapang who had visited the boys at Clifton College on Sunday and had invited them all to his office that is situated in between Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. The Ambassador welcomed the boys at the front of the Embassy and in true Filipino style made all the boys feel like diplomatic guests, showing them around the offices and inviting them to sit and eat with him at the Embassy’s large dining table. The lunch was typical Philippine style, Pancit, Chicken and Boiled Eggs. After eating British cooking for the last week, the boys enjoyed the opportunity to indulge in a taste of home. The Ambassador then explained that he was exceptionally proud of the Philippines victory over Clifton College and awarded each player a 10 GBP note to spend while on tour in England.
It was with pride and pleasure that Coach Cullen was also able to introduce current Philippine National Men’s 15s and 7s player, Harry Morris was able to take time out to visit the Bahay Bata team and meet the Filipino Ambassador. Harry has been representing the Philippines since 2007 and he and his bother, Freddy have played over 16 combined Test Matches for the Philippines, winning in 15 out of 16 games in the last five years. Harry is Filipino-Welsh and has recently relocated from Wales to London, so it was a notable gesture that he took time out of his busy schedule to come and meet the Bahay Bata boys.
The ambassador then walked the group through Trafalgar Square and directed them onto the world famous London Eye. Unfortunately because of meetings he could not join us, but he waived the boys goodbye and wished them well with their next game against Clifton College.
Coach Cullen thought he was back playing Monopoly, as the group walked past Pall Mall, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square to the edge of the Thames were they finally saw the London Eye. The boys were amazed at the size of the massive ferris wheel and ran across the Westminster Bridge to line up for the ride of a lifetime. Once upon the London Eye the group were then able to recognize several famous London sights that included, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and of course the iconic Big Ben clock tower.
The day ended with a long and sleepy ride back to Bristol and the Bahay Bata boys dreamt about their day visiting some of the famous sights in London and one of the great Rugby Stadiums in the world.
Day 4 : Chapel Service and meeting the Phil Ambassador to the UK
The day began with a chapel service in the Clifton College chapel, which could easily be compared to a small Cathedral in most other countries. The Chapel was built over 120 years ago and is steeped in history, with tall ceilings, stain glassed windows and a pulpit that would match Westminster Abbey.
Photo credit: Jessica Zafra
The host families decked the Bahay Bata boys out in full Clifton College school uniforms which included, long trousers, Vests, Dress Shirts, Blazers and Clifton College Ties. The Bahay Bata boys looked a treat and all of the boys explained that they had never worn a tie before. The Chapel service ran from 11am to 12nn and the collection was donated to the Bahay Bata foundation. After a rousing service all the parents and children congregated outside the chapel in front of the main Clifton College field where they would be playing the fun day touch football tournament in the afternoon.
The afternoon fun day began with all the children being split into different teams, mixing the Bahay Bata boys amongst the Clifton College teams. The afternoon was also a fundraising activity for both the Bahay Bata trip and the Clifton College u14s Rugby tour to Australia. James Breeze and John Digby from Clifton College arranged a wide range of fun activities including old English stocks where the students were able to take revenge on their teachers.
The Philippine Ambassador Mr. Reynaldo A. Catapang travelled from London to Bristol to join the fun day activities and watched the Bahay Bata team defeat the Clifton College u14s team in the Touch Football Tournament, he was delighted to see the young foundation children in England and could not believe that they played Rugby so well and instantly invited the team to visit him at the Philippine Embassy in London this Wednesday when we visit Twickenham Stadium.
The day was another amazing success and once again the boys from Bahay Bata thrilled the crowd with their attacking skills and flair in the touch football tournament.
Day 5: A Trip to Western Super Mare
The Bahay Bata boys enjoyed a day trip to Western Super Mare (locally nicknamed Western Super Mud) which is a quaint seaside British town situated 40 km south west of Bristol. Clifton College arranged for the Bahay Bata boys to visit the famous Grand Pier at the beachside and provided free rides and activities for all the players to have a fun day at the theme park, which is situated at the end of the 200m long Pier.
The boys arrived at the Seaside and Coach Cullen challenged them to don their swimmers and have a dip in the North Atlantic Ocean, to his amazement there were no volunteers. After taking a stroll along the promenade and observing the differences between the Pacific Ocean waters of the Philippines and the North Atlantic Ocean, the boys were entertained at the Pier Theme park.
The theme park included various old fashioned rides and of course the bumper cars and the house of terror stole most of their attention and money. It was extremely windy at the beach and the boys were happy that the theme park at the end of the Pier was enclosed, we all ate a good old fashioned English lunch of “Fish n Chips” followed by freshly cooked sugar donuts.
The team then travelled back to Clifton and held their last training session from 3pm – 5pm before their first game against Clifton College. So far the Bahay Bata boys have been able to display their skillful touch Rugby talents, but the boys will certainly have to focus on their defense to stop the bigger Clifton College team. The games against the British School Manila and ISM will certainly pave the way for the boys to take on Clifton College.
The Bahay Bata Foundation U14 Rugby Team defeated Clifton College by 24 points to 0 in wet and windy conditions at the Clifton College Sports Complex on Tuesday, 10 May.
The game is the first in a two-match series with the second game scheduled on Thursday, 16 May at 4.30pm. The Clifton College squad is made up of 32 players who will be traveling to Australia this July to play four top-level private schools in both Sydney and Brisbane. Half the squad played in yesterday's game and the other half will compete to try and even the series on Thursday.
In wet, cold conditions it was the Bahay Bata Captain and flyhalf Ryan Padilla who dazzled the Clifton defence with one of Coach Cullen's favourite plays, the "Chooky 2", which is a dummy switch move on the inside center. The entire Clifton College backline fell for the play and Ryan ran in under the posts to score the opening try. Because of the rainy conditions, the ball was slippery and both teams dropped plenty of ball. In the end it was the Bahay Bata team that had the forward momentum and managed to find some holes on the edge of the ruck that were exposed by the halfback Jolen Madrona, who scooped on two loose balls at the base of the ruck to score two runaway tries.
The game finished with John Mark Manaloto supporting another break by Jolen Madrona and they linked up to score the forth try of the game and win the first game by 24 - 0.
The parents, boys and coaches enjoyed an after match function at the Clifton College Sports Complex and everyone was very impressed with the Bahay Bata performance in the first game.
The Man of the Match was awarded to Ryan Padilla and the Clifton College coach asked if he was available to represent Clifton on the Australian tour.
Obviously the Clifton College team will regroup and the next squad will be more prepared for the Bahay Bata attacking plays and forward momentum.
Day 2: Training & Bristol Zoo
The day began with a 9am training run at the Clifton College Sports Complex that includes 12 Rugby Fields. The hosts allowed the Bahay Bata Team to train on the No. 1 pitch which was recently constructed as an IRB accredited Astroturf pitch. The boys certainly had to run the cobwebs out of their system after the 20 hours of travel and they trained alongside the Varsity Team until 11am. The Sports Complex has its own cafeteria and the boys were treated to a quality lunch of Potatoes, Baked Beans, Salad, Tuna and fruit.
Unbelievably the temperature hit 26 degrees today and the team walked 5km back to the school through the beautiful countryside of Bristol and were treated to the lovely Victorian-style houses that lined the cobblestone roads.
After arriving back at Clifton College at 1pm, the team were escorted next door to the Bristol Zoo. This proved to be an incredible afternoon with the 15 boys walking through an array of Animal Shelters and attractions that were world class and allowed the students to view animals such as Gorillas, Hippopotamus, Monkeys, Snakes, and Lions.
The day then concluded with a second training session with the Clifton College u14 team on the main field in front of the historic building that will turn 150 years old in 2012.
Day 3: Tour of Bath City, Fun Rugby Festival and the Aviva Premier Division Match
The day began as a wet and windy morning with a 30-minute bus ride to Bath City which is located 25 km South East of Bristol. Luckily, the group arrived at the historic city to sunny weather and the day started with a tour of the ancient Roman Baths and a general stroll through the 2000 year old streets of Bath. At 11am they crossed the bridge to enter the "REC" stadium and participate in the Fun Rugby Festival that was attended by up to 150 other local mini rugby players from clubs situated all around Bath.
The Bahay Bata Team were the main attraction and captivated everyone with their pace and skills and ended up winning the Juniors Touch Rugby Competition. The Bath Rugby Club also arranged a number of fun activities for all the children including Bouncy Castles, Reverse Bungee Races, Face Painting, John Deere Tractor Displays, food stalls and a wide range of Rugby Skill related activities. The boys loved the interaction with the other children and made a number of new friends throughout the Rugby Festival.
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