Training camp ended on Sunday with a down pour. Our trip back to Manila was punctuated by constant rainfall slowing our progress to ISM. We eventually arrived as ISM in time for the game and after wolfing down the packed lunch we immediately started scrum training on the first scrum machine we had access to all camp. The trial was supposed to be three periods, but turned into two periods of different lengths. It was great to get a hit out with the boys and put much of what was practiced into action on the field. Although the Philippine Barbarians were not international standard they provided a stiff opposition at times.
After the match we checked back into the GO Hotel for a night. It was a short stop with just enough time to get laundry in at the mall and then it was into the number 1s for the jersey presentation at the Manila Polo Club. The jersey presentation was a lot of fun. There were many highlights during the evening with the most important being receiving our jerseys. Every time I look at the Philippine flag on the back of my jersey I get shivers. It is a great honor to be selected to represent the people of the Philippines. Another highlight was receiving 5,500 pesos of gift cards for Bench stores and seeing the massive 6 pages article on the Manila metro society magazine.
The next day started with stretching in the GO Hotel before a mad scramble to get everything packed. Phil, Austin and I put our laundry in at the mall and were told it was going to be there for pickup the next morning at 10am. This was critical as we were leaving for the airport at 11am. Unfortunately, the laundry arrived on Filipino time. So Phil and I went to pack our bags and our laundry was picked up by Duhig and Jake. When it arrived they had packaged all three of our clothes in one brick! So I stuffed it into the top of the traveling backup, shoes in the bottom, and everything else in my rugby duffel before making it on time to the bus!
The trip to Korea was uneventful and we all got our bags. Everyone loaded up onto the bus for the hour bus ride to Hanyang University Guest House. The trip was an eye opener with Korea being completely different from any other country that I have traveled through. There were only high risers, there was no English and the bus had a weird fish smell. We arrived safe and sound and our liaison, Samuel, then lead us to some BBQ (apparently in Korea you don’t call it Korean BBQ). It was awesome and the boys had a great time.