Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Philippine Volcanoes Looking Forward to 2nd Half of the Asian 5 Nations Series

Wazzup Pilipinas!

There are 37 volcanoes in the Philippines, of which 18 are still active volcanoes. Volcanoes can cause violent and destructive outbursts or eruptions causing disastrous effects such as airfall deposition, pyroclastic flows, rain triggered debris flows and lava flows.

This is probably why the Philippine Rugby team was nicknamed "Volcanoes" to mean power and destruction to everyone that blocks their path towards deserving victory. True enough, they represent the Philippines in international rugby competitions thus they need to excel and show to the world that nobody messes with the Philippines.

But after reading some information about them, I found out that the team name Philippine Volcanoes was adopted from the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment composed of Filipino Americans who saw battle during World War 2. The first Philippine National Rugby Team that participated in their first international tournament was a mix of Expat and Filipino players. Thus, the team name.

Though the Philippine Volcanoes have their own share of losses, their performances in previous matches which already earned them worthy recognitions makes us hopeful for more victories soon. Rugby is fast emerging to be another popular sport in the Philippines that it would be nice to emulate a winning team and let it transcend to the next generations.

Jake Letts, Oliver Saunders, Coach Stuart Woodhouse and Alex Aronson

Fresh from the 2014 HSBC Asian 5 Nations Rugby Tournament held at Eagles' Nest in Cabuyao City of the province of Laguna, where they loss to the Rugby team from Japan, the Philippine Volcanoes held a press conference at Pergola, located at the Boom Complex at Roxas Boulevard corner Gil Puyat just right across the World Trade Center.

The members of the Philippine Rugby team, led by Director Matt Cullen, opened up for some updates on their upcoming activities and matches and to answer inquiries from members of the media. Jake Letts, Oliver Saunders, Coach Stuart Woodhouse and Alex Aronson took the panel seat.

Director Matt Cullen

They also informed us that they are regularly practicing at their new-found home in Laguna - a high performance facility located at Southern Plains Subdivision in Calamba that was built by Randell Carman, a long time Philippine resident and founder of the HMR Group of companies. They also invited us to witness their match on May 24, 2014 to be held at the said facility.

When asked if the government is providing some support to the team, Director Matt said they have a very good relationship with the government specifically with the Philippine Sports Commission. The team finances their own travel expenses when they visit the Philippines to attend training camps leading up to tournaments, but they have some sponsors that shoulder some of their expenses like Fila Philippines which is their official Kit Sponsor.

They also showed us a video where they are promoting the sports of rugby among the youth. Members of the team believe that rugby is a great sport that can be appreciated by a lot if only it will be introduced to more people especially the youth.

I, in turn, also requested for a video from them where they shout for Wazzup Pilipinas. I didn't edited the video anymore (just like in most of my videos) because I wanted it to look as natural as possible, complete with whatever bloopers and mistakes, including hand signals and countdown.

Fila Bloggers Team with Cherry Bustamante Burwell

Below are all twelve of the Philippine Volcanoes rugby team members who were present at the press conference. I got there early so I took the guts to ask them for some mugshots so I could spend my waiting time productively. I didn't took individual photos of Director Matt and Coach Stuart because they seemed to be so busy preparing for the press conference. Can you name all twelve of them as per shown below. If you can, I promise to send you a token as a prize.

Below is their official press release for more information about their matches:

After taking on Asian heavyweights Hong Kong (IRB ranking 25) and Japan (IRB Ranking 13), the Philippine Volcanoes (IRB Ranking 56) will regroup to prepare for the second half of the 2014 Asian 5 Nations (A5N) tournament. This is the second year that the Volcanoes are competing in the Premier Division in Asia’s elite Rugby tournament, where the top two teams will win a spot in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

The Volcanoes take on Sri Lanka (IRB Ranking 41) in Colombo on Saturday, May 17th and then host Korea (IRB Ranking 23) in Laguna on Saturday May 25th.

The Philippines last met Sri Lanka in 2012 during the A5N Division I tournament in Rizal Memorial Stadium where the two teams, both tied with two wins apiece, battled for the division’s top spot. The Volcanoes won this encounter, 28-18 to advance to the Premier Division, while Sri Lanka remained in Division 1.

Sri Lanka’s entry into the Premier Division sets the stage for another epic battle with the Philippines. The Volcanoes will have to fight hard to overcome an improved Sri Lankan team, backed by their vocal home crowd in Colombo. Both the Volcanoes and Sri Lanka are looking for their first win in the 2014 A5N series and this will be a highly competitive game for both teams.

South Korea will then travel to play the Volcanoes at their new home, Southern Plains Field located in Laguna. The Volcanoes will be looking to win their first home game this year, and playing at 3.30pm will hopefully ensure that conditions are humid for the visiting Koreans coming off cooler winter conditions up north.

The A5N series is also the start of the Volcanoes’ preparation for the 2014 Asian Games in Inchon Korea. The Volcanoes are quietly confident that they can compete at the top level in the Asian Games and have received positive support from the Philippine Sports Commission to ensure a thorough preparation. The two winning teams at the Asian Games will qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The Philippines would love to match their historic achievement in 2012 of qualifying for the Rugby 7s World Cup in Russia.

The Volcanoes are composed of Filipino-heritage players who are based locally and overseas. Unlike higher-ranked teams that receive salaries and train year-round together, the Volcanoes finance their own travel expenses to the Philippines to participate in training camps leading up to each tournament. It is their passion to represent the country, their brotherhood and love for the sport that has enabled the Philippines to reach the elite levels of Rugby in the region and even compete with the best in the World, against all odds.

The Philippine Volcanoes would like to thank the Philippine Sports Commission and the 2014 Major Sponsor JML Philippines and Kit Sponsor FILA.

Fila Bloggers Team doing a fake selfie group shot

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