Through success or failure, I have followed Filipino football/soccer. It has by far been mostly failure, but I did get to watch at least one good game in Manila between North Korea and the Philippines.
I’ve always been a fan of Rugby League, but being a southern softie my chances at seeing a live game were few. I also now spend most of my time in China. There is no Rugby League in China.
On my last trip back to England, I went to watch the London Broncos in their relegation dogfight (that they eventually lost) and there was a guy selling Rugby League shirts from around the world. Two grabbed my attention, Albania (as I had just been working there), and the Philippines. I honestly had no idea that had a team.
The shirt cost me about $70, but is an amazing colour design (see photo), and it got me very intrigued about the Rugby League scene in the country.
With so many Aussies in the Philippines and Filipinos in Oz it’s actually no great surprise that there would end up being Rugby League in the country.
The team was established in 2011, largely consisting of expat players, and their nickname is the Tamaraws (a kind of dwarf buffalo).
In 2012 they won the Asia Cup by defeating Thailand in the final, and currently are ranked 22 in the world. That makes them one above Poland and one below Canada. So far, they have yet to qualify for a Rugby League World Cup, but with a rank of 22 you have to hold some hope they might qualify one day.
From what I can see online, their last game was in 2018, and there do not seem to be any fixtures planned in the near future, but to hell with it I am now a Philippines Rugby League Fan.
Check out their website for more details, and if you are feeling kind donate on their GoFundMe, very little helps.