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.
On Wednesday, May 4, 15 children from Bahay Bata Foundation headed to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in preparation for their 1.30am flight to Bristol, England. A product of almost 12 months of preparation by the PRFU and the Foundation, the trip is a project of Touraid, a UK based charity that offers support to UK schools and clubs wishing to host activity based tours for disadvantaged children from overseas, in cooperation with Clifton College, the tour host.
The children were extremely excited and overwhelmed by their coming adventure and at the same time suffering with the strict rules and regulations of having to navigate through the unknown territory of an international airport. Luckily Mercy, the boys’guardian at Bahay Bata and PRFU Consultant, Matt Cullen were on hand to make this transition a little easier.
Upon boarding the Etihad flight, all the boys forgot any fears they may have had of flying, and instead became immediately addicted to the personal TV screen that came with the Playstation packages. They took full advantage of having their own personal theater and game station with all of them playing games for practically the entire trip.
During the stop-over at Abu Dhabi, the group spent a relaxing 2 hrs in the airport lounge and then departed for the second leg of the journey to London, England which would take another 7hrs. The boys continued to enjoy the games on the Playstations, and it seemed as though they were never going to sleep.
Mr. James Breeze from Clifton College and Mr. Andy Berry of Touraid were on hand to meet the boys upon their arrival at Heathrow Airport. The two were absolutely ecstatic that the PRFU had managed to bring all the Bahay Bata children on the tour without any major passport, Visa and travel problems. The boys jumped on a bus that would take them across England from Heathrow to Bristol, and with the Playstations now gone, the boys finally fell asleep and enjoyed 3 hrs of rest after the epic 20 hrs of travel.
On arrival at Clifton College the boys were greeted by a group of equally excited parents and students who were waiving a large Filipino Flag. John Milne, the Prep school Principal, was on hand to welcome all the boys and the boys then met their respective home stay families.
The Clifton College students immediately welcomed the Bahay Bata children and from first observations it looks as though some very worthwhile relationships will be formed between the children from differing countries, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.