ISAC, also known as the International School Activity Conference, is something our classmates and peers get excited about every school year. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed along with it, ISAC has not been hosted in over two years. But with the situation looking better and the restrictions slowly lifting, our first batch of players are going to compete at the conference very soon. In this article, we asked three students, who have participated in ISAC, about their experiences in this exciting event.
For those who don’t know, can you explain what ISAC is, and how your games work?
- ISAC is a tournament that consists of seven international schools all over the Philippines, and every school year they meet three times for three different seasons of sports. The first season is for Volleyball girls and Volleyball boys, the second season is for Basketball girls and Soccer boys, and the third and last season is for Soccer girls and Basketball boys. Each season is hosted in a different international school; sometimes it can be in Manila; sometimes in Subic, and sometimes in Cebu. All players are hosted by different families who volunteer from the host school. Each season follows a round-robin tournament style where the top four teams with the best standings move on to the semi-finals round and the loser of that will play in the battle for 3rd place, while the winners of the semi-finals play [with] each other in the finals.
What is the best thing about joining ISAC?
- Personally, the best thing about joining ISAC is meeting other people from different schools. You get to make friends and compete with students from different international schools while having fun. Living in a host’s house also allows you to easily get to know your host better and get closer to them. Another thing that I really like in ISAC is exploring the different campuses because there are all kinds of aspects in each campus that are unique and different. Some have nicer food, some campuses are high-tech and much bigger, and some campuses have nicer facilities. Overall, ISAC is such a positive experience that I advise everyone to join and experience it.
What was it like interacting with students from different international schools around the Philippines?
- It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had as a CIS student as the whole team was able to make friends that we really got close to. It was also cool that we could find people that could relate to us outside Cebu like student-athletes which made the whole experience so fun. Even after all the competition, we were still friends which made it quite cool and special.
When you don’t have any games to play, what do you usually do?
- We just hang out with our varsity team. That’s actually how we made friends since not all teams were playing and we would meet them in the gym or coffee shops of BSM. We got to chill a lot of the time and really get to know each other. Some of them also invited us to their gatherings and parties. One memorable experience we had outside of our ISAC games was when one of the BSM students invited us to their house to have some dinner and get to know each other.
What skills and experiences did you gain from joining ISAC?
- Joining ISAC can equip you with various skills and experiences. As training for ISAC is a taxing process, you have to adapt to a new schedule and balance your time between work and practice. Communication is also something we try to work on as a team, as a lot of a team’s success is based on how well they can work with each other. Learning from my own experience of losing really badly in the girl’s basketball section; I realized the importance of working as a team (as ours was kind of disjointed) as well as the value of dedication (we barely had the chance to practice as a full team lol). You also realize that winning is not everything (very cliché), and you can gain knowledge from your failures. And, lastly, (obviously) you gain the skills involved in your sport, whether it be basketball, volleyball, or soccer.
How did this event bring you closer as a team?
- I became pretty close to members of our teams and even closer to the people I was already friends with. Through the struggle of the drills, conditioning, attending practices, and spending a lot of time a week with new people, you get pretty acquainted with them. I think that through the hardships, you get to know others better as well as find common ground on something to complain about (which is a great bonding experience). We also got to fly to Manila together, which means that we spent time outside of school going to dinner, shopping, and playing sports. I also got much closer to the people I was home-staying with as we had to share a room and spent much more time with each other.
For those interested in sports, ISAC is a great opportunity to meet new friends, advance your skills, and become more independent. The first event is the volleyball competition on October 22, 2022, which will be hosted in British School Manila. All the best to our players!
Article & interview written by Renoa K. & Feature Image by Victoria J. (G12)