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Albay Vulcans, Manila Storms Clash in Bicol, in one more Rugby first

Albay Vulcans
Albay Vulcans

BY ERICK ELEFANTE – New Rugby League team Albay Vulcans based in the province of Albay in the Philippines clashes with another pioneering Rugby League team the Manila Storms at 3:00 pm on Friday 11 December at the grounds of Bicol University in Legazpi City, Philippines.

The rugby league match will be held in conjunction with the annual Karangahan Festival..

Albay Vulcans Rugby Club which is named after Bicol’s world famous and picturesque Mayon Volcnao was founded by Ric Raymond Bellen, one time Board member of the Philippines National Rugby League (PNRL) in 2013 and one of the organisers of  local Filipino teams for the October 2013 PNRL Clark 9s tournament with Tom Simpson.

In January 2014 Bellen created PNRL history in the Philippines by organising the first Rugby Nine’s tournament involving Papua New Guinea (PNG) students studying with Site Skills Training, Site and Orion Project Services (PNG) and the Ipatas Foundation Inc, in Clark city.

Missing their hometown in Bicol in 2014, Bellen and wife Mary Rose  moved the family to Legazpi city in the Southern tip of the Philippines main island of Luzon. While there Bellen found himself separated from the Rugby Union and League scenes in main areas of Northern and Central Luzon.

Already fired by what he called as “footy in my blood”, Bellen started a local club  fuelled by the “dedication and passion for the game.”.

“The name Vulcans, came from the main attraction here in Albay, which is the Mayon Volcano. Also known as Mount Mayon, which is an active volcano in the province of Albay.,” he said..

On October 16, 2014, PNRL supported Victor Valentine Costuna, a regular PNRL 9s player from Canberra take a slight detour from his Philippines holiday, to run the first Rugby League clinic at Cotmon National High School with his mates Luke Jarman, Jake Battenally and Manila Union and League player Val Cabigting.

After over a year since the PNRL had contact with local Rugby aficionados in Albay,  Ric Bellen and his Albay Vulcans initiated for the long  awaited first Rugby League game against the Manila Storm.Ric said, “We know that the Storm made a great impact and history for all League fans, as they played the HongKong side a few weeks ago. We want to help each other, to be more competitive and this will set a great example that we can organise Rugby league games at a local level in the Philippines.”

Ric feels that their first game of League will be very tough for himself as coach. In its inception he was preparing the Albay Vulvans to play League, but with no team to play against he shifted to playing Union. So he now needs to review League rules and start working on their play:

“Physically and intellectually we are working hard. I know the Storm has the edge in terms of experience in the game, but they are only ahead by one game against us. But we will work hard to be able to show them that we are ready for theplanned League season next year.”

We encourage Balikbayans visitors, expatriates and “wantoks” to go along and watch the game and at the same time take in Albay’s best in culture, arts, produce and rich heritage at the festivals, all held beneath the picturesque Mount Mayon Volcano..