PLAYER JOURNALS

The orientation day for our trip to the Philippines was the first day that I had met the majority of the people going with us across the ocean. I had almost no idea what to expect for the trip, but a lot of key components were given to us at the orientation. We learned where we would be staying, how long we would be in each location, and also everything that we needed to bring with us. After the meeting concluded, I was ecstatic to board the plane for the Philippines.

On the second day of my visit to California the plane unfortunately was delayed to the 28th, so I had another day to explore the life of the west coast. Jakes family along with Cooper decided to take me on a trip to the city of San Fransisco. I was very fortunate to stay with an awesome host that showed me the city and all the cool spots around the city. I got to check out some sea lions, Alcatraz, and the famous In-n-out Burger. The atmosphere in the west coast is so much different than in North Carolina. There was no sweet tea but the food and weather was awesome and the city was incredible. After that we went back to Jakes home and chilled out at the pool and splashed a bunch of 3s. We practiced lacrosse and I am hoping I got rid of all the rust before we start training in the Philippines.

On the day of our flight to the Philippines we all arrived at the San Francisco Airport around 10 a.m. We said goodbye to our parents and went downstairs to check our lacrosse goals and bags into the Philippines Airlines. We then continued through security and grabbed some food before we boarded the flight. Although it was a 14-15 hour flight they did provide us with meals and a TV with movies, games, and TV shows. After the flight we went through customs and grabbed our bags from baggage claim. After we got onto the bus and proceeded to the Berjaya Hotel where we had an hour to rest before we went to a local restaurant down the street. We had a lot of food such as beef, pork, and white rice. After we went back to the hotel to rest for the next day of lacrosse, sightseeing, etc.

On the first full day in the Philippines, we toured different historical areas in the Philippines. It was very cool to learn the history of the beautiful area and country.The first place we went to was Razil national park. Razil was a big player in the Philippines fight to free themselves from the Spanish control. There was a monument made out for hime. He was executed in the park. As a group we played 3×3 in the park, with a trash can as a goal, which was aa big no-no. Security came and told us to stop and said that we could not do it in the park. Next we went to a fort where the Spaniards held Razil. It was very cool to see all the cannons and cells where people were held.

We then went to the University of Makati where we met with the lacrosse teams. After introductions by the coaches we went to go practice. We started practice with just the nine of us and a few national team players, and 30 or so minutes in we saw lighting streak across sky. It was weird because it was pretty sunny before and it was weird to have the weather change so quickly. Being form California the weather is a constant, it is hot with little to no chance of rain, but in the Philippines it will be hot and rainy and humid all at the same time, it is definitely a weird experience. After a while the rain and lighting cleared up and we started practicing again. After a while of just practicing with the 9-10 of us, the lacrosse team from the university came in and we got to help teach the game we love to others. It was a truly great day.

Our second day in the Philippines was a lot of fun. We woke up bright and early at 7:00 A.M, and took a bus to the University of Makati. We had a long and hard training session from 8-10:30, in extreme heat and humidity. Right after our practice we helped teach some of the kids who attend the university who are just starting to learn the sport. They seemed very grateful and were able to learn and improve very quickly. Afterwards we took a bus to a large shopping center, where we ate Pilipino pancakes and toured different local stores selling interesting items.

Finally, we took a long bus ride way out of town to a waterfall. On the way there, I witnessed many new sightings that I had never seen before in California, things that were only specific to the Philippines, such as two dogs who somehow became stuck together, and were unable to separate. When we arrived at the waterfall, it did not disappoint. While there were many locals there, the Dakana Waterfall was still a spectacle in itself. The water was very blue, and there was a 50 foot waterfall which we were able to swim under. We stayed there for a while and jumped off different rocks (while others slipped and fell off some rocks). It was a long and tiring drive back to the hotel due to Philippine traffic, but everyone got a good chance to get some shut-eye and rest for the following day.

On the last day of July, we woke up at 8:30 for breakfast in our hotel. Ben leaving his shoes after eating, was punished by starting our 2 hour bus ride by sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” which was more of a punishment for the rest of us. Before arriving at Maru’s family’s house, our bus driver impressively squeeze through the tight front gates leaving only inches on each side. While there, we played basketball until the rain was too overwhelming and we had to retreat under the gazebo for lunch. The food was amazing and we shared about the best so far and hopes for the rest of the trip. After eating, some of us explored the farm seeing coconut and banana trees while others continued shooting hoops. Coach Christmas almost hit a coconut out of the tree with a shot and Mike almost broke his expensive Phantom Drone before leaving. The view from the house was incredible with a volcano, lake, and a hotel in the mountain across from us.

Before leaving for our slow journey back to the city, Ben left his hat at the table so he started us off with “Don’t Stop Believing” which was better. When we arrived at the university of Makati, we started our training session which lasted around an hour and a half. We then began to play lacrosse with the university students by helping them to go through the drills that we had just finished. Before leaving for the hotel and then dinner, we heard a rap from Ben and Don who had forgotten their lacrosse pennies. We finally got back to the hotel around 7:00pm and finished the rest of the day relaxing in our rooms.

It was the first day that we got to sleep in and we all took advantage of it.We got to sleep in till 9:30am and had a very nice breakfast at the hotel. Although, my rule is i don’t eat what i cant pronounce, i had cereal and some fruit. 30 minutes after we all finished eating, we took a nice and long bus ride to Oceana Park. I saw some things i have never seen in my life before at that aquarium. For an example, a fish that took up a 5th of the tank. Or another example is them selling gun scopes and knives at an aquarium. I couldn’t exchange my money there for reasons unknown, neither could a kid with the same card as me. While we were in the aquarium Johnny and Don played a nice prank on Ben, tickling him with a styptic and saying bugs keep landing on himRight as we got on the bus to go play with the University kids, we took Enyas phone and played the weirdest music in the world. When we got to the university, we stopped at a close by park to play some three by but we weren’t allowed to. So we headed across the street to scrimmage the kids from the university. I was very impressed on how fast they caught on to playing in their first game.

When we were done playing the University kids, all of them swarmed us to take pictures. I think we all got at least 3-4 pictures. We didn’t even give them our social media profiles for them to follow us, yet they found all of us. So we finished at 5pm and have nothing to do, so we looked up some places that were fun and killed time. We came to a conclusion that go karting with a view of the city. Little scary seeing how fast they went and we didn’t have seat belts. Little upset afterwards because i realized that we never got to play three by, and he has promised us some three by. It passed over me in like a hour or so. Right after Go Karting our bus got pulled over for going through a no bus zone, so we had to walk to the hotel. Good thing it was fairly close. We had no time to get ready or shower so we went to dinner stinky and sweaty, Where we then got a nice view of the city and i was faced with the biggest challenge of my life. A  burger the size of my head, LITERALLY. Not going to, lie, thought i was going to die. After i finished the burger some how, we walked back to the hotel to get some much needed rest.

August second was a very busy day for the Encore lacrosse team, starting with an early wake-up call for the trip to the airport. The team met early in the hotel lobby for a traffic heavy drive to the international airport. Once there, the whole group checked in with ease after many days of practice. The flight we were to embark on was headed to Dumagete marking the second leg of our journey. After checking in, we still had about an hour and a half to kill meaning that the players had some quality wifi time posted up at the Cinnabon. After about an hour of following back our new UMAK friends on various social medias, it was time to board the flight. The flight was a routine enough domestic flight lasting only about an hour, which was enough time for patrick to get a good nap in. While on the flight, I had no idea what to expect from our new destination, Dumagete. Manilla had been amazing in its own way, but is a very fast paced, bustling city; after arriving, however, the whole team discovered that the next destination of the Philippines lacrosse trip was always better than the last with no exception given to Dumagete.

Upon arrival in Dumagete the entire group was greeted by long beaches, a more laid back atmosphere, and of course the welcoming committee from Siliman University. The welcoming committee came in the form of three of the kindest ladies Siliman had to offer: Faith, Rose, and Lauralie, who were tasked with showing us around the university and explaining some of the Philippines eclectic heritage. The ladies showed us around, answering any and all questions we could think of, extending their knowledge and generosity to us. Before the tour was done though, coach Butterfield asked them one last question about something that the whole team had heard rumors about, the basketball courts at Siliman. Not only did the ladies arrange for the team to use a court, they also set up a scrimmage with the Siliman University varsity basketball team. Needless to say, the coaches got right into the competitive spirit, followed closely by the players. The game started off with promising back to back threes from Ben, but soon after the university players began to catch up, making for a devastating loss for the Encore team. The game was well fought on both ends, and was the perfect way to wrap up our absolutely amazing first day in Dumagete.

The second day of Dumaguete had been the most relaxing day, the day started with breakfast at the Sillimon University cafeteria. Finishing breakfast we had a clinic with the PE class of Silicon University. We thought them how to catch, pass, pick up GB and shooting. later, we played a little game of steal the bacon. It was great to see people play sport that they never heard of and having fun what they just introduced to. Coach told us that many boys that we taught this day were called the ladyboy who acted like a girl. After taking turns on shower, everybody changed in to nicest clothes they brought to meet the mayor of Dumaguete, Mr.Ipe Remollo. We met the mayor at the city hall that is connected to elementary school. It was fascinating to see the mayor, he talked about how they are trying to spread lacrosse all around Philippines.

On the way to snorkeling we stopped at the market to look around. The market was divided in to blocks fish & meat, fruit & vegetable, and miscellaneous goods. Everybody looked at each other when Don, our tour guide/Philippines Lacrosse coach, told everyone to go get fish. The fish was for snack at the beach. There weren’t much to buy at the market but luckily there was a straw goods shop were some bought hats. The beach was really beautiful and warm. There was big corals and sea urchins and we were scrapping skins on the way. Other then that we had fun swimming and observing lots of fish in the reef. Don cooked us fish and pork for snacks, it was amazingly delicious. Coaches made up couple mini games so we can have more fun at the beach. We named a game after the beach, Uzi, where we put stick and the ground and tried to hit it with the ball. Back at the dorm everybody hurried to shower and get good sleep for tomorrow morning.

The day started with an early wake up and a quick walk to the Sillimon University cafeteria for breakfast. After finishing, we drove over to the gym to start the days clinic. Everyone on the trip anticipated the opportunity to once again teach the local students how to enjoy the sport of lacrosse like we all do. I was placed with a few others outside with a considerably smaller group than the one inside. Most of the students were eager to learn the sport, and all of them were very welcoming of all of us. We taught them all of the basics of lacrosse, and ended with a fun game of steal the bacon. The clinic ended like every other day with a bunch of pictures and after a quick shower we headed over to a resort type river to swim and just have fun.

We starting off by smiling around and jumping off small rocks before we found the real attraction in the park. There were waterslides like we had never seen before. The length of them was nothing special, but the speed and sudden curves we unbelievable. After having fun of these for around an hour, we decided to eat lunch and head over to the zipline. While it was only 100 meters long, it was very fun and I would definitely try it again. Leaving the park behind us, we headed back to the dorms we were staying in and had around 3 hours of free time before the long bus ride to another part of the island.

The day started on a bus to the City of Smiles. We sat on a bus with the first sign of wifi he had in a while. The bus was good or bad depending on where you sat, the road was bumpy and on the back of the bus each bump we hit we would get some air. While in the front they didn’t feel anything. We were on the bus all night and got in the city around 5 o’clock in the morning. Then we waited to go into to a TV studio to be interviewed about our trip and what lacrosse is. After the show was over we checked into our hotel and slept for a couple hours, then we went to a high school and played lacrosse. We first demonstrated to the school how to play, then we went to coach the kids who wanted to learn the game. We taught them for a couple hours and afterwards took what seemed liked millions of pictures with people in the school. It was very cool an enjoyable to see how excited the kids were to see us and play lacrosse. 

After we were done we got some lunch at a place that served chicken on a stick. This was probably the best native food that I have tried on the trip so far. It was truly something to bring home. After lunch we went back to the hotel and hung out and bonded together as kids and coaches. After a while of just chilling we went to dinner, which we had more chicken on a stick but this time we had to eat it using our hands. In the Philippines it is okay to use your hands to eat food, but there is a certain way of doing. So at dinner we had to try to use the way of eating food. After dinner we went back and went to sleep early after a long day and night.