Maayong gabi-i from the Philippines!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of trips and vacations, and now I’m at site finally, but only for two weeks before I depart yet again, this time to Manila for a two-week training. Regardless I’m here now and next week which means you can rest assured I will be writing for the next two weeks. Last blog I wrote about my first month at site and now we get to the next month and a half. This blog basically focuses on my time from mid October up to the end of November, which is exciting cause next blog I get to my favorite month here – December!

So what did I do in this month and a half leading up to December? Honestly when I think about it my brain is kind of mushy and I can’t exactly remember all of it, but here I am again scrolling through my pictures to give me an idea of what I was doing. Actually something great that I started doing during October is bullet journaling. I am a person of lists and calendars, I love ticking off boxes, having an idea of what I will do with my day and I like writing down basically any idea I get in my head. Bullet journaling is a notebook that has all of these lists and calendars that I make. The lists are varied they can be anything from books I want to read to places I want to go to, and the fun thing is you can be as creative as you want. Anyways the point of me telling you this is that I can also scroll through my calendar that month to give me a better idea of what the heck I was doing in October and November.

So during October and November I definitely got to know other aspects of Baybay. See when I first got placed here I was a little disappointed as technically my municipality is a city and I’m not a city type of gal. I went from living in a place with dirt roads and a few convenience shops (Belize) to a place with endless flows of traffic and even a Dunkin Donuts. I like rural towns with dirt roads where you can only communicate with the outside world through carrier pigeons. But such is life and this was the hand that was dealt to me so I either liked it or remained miserable. So I started exploring, through work functions and on my own. One of the work events I went to was mangrove planting which was not only great cause I got to see where the mangroves were in my municipality but it was also a good bonding experience for my coworkers and I.

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The team and I setting up stakes for mangrove planting

I also went on a snorkel trip with one of my coworkers, this may be one of my favorite nights at site actually. We rode down to barangay Maslog and finally I got to find where the reef was, we also spent the rest of the night having dinner with the barangay captain, singing videoke and drinking a couple beers.

On another occasion I went with my site mate up to the mountains, to a place called Lintaon Cave and Peak. This actually may be my favorite place in all of Baybay with an amazing view and awesome cave,  and it’s an ideal spot to sit and have merienda.

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View of Baybay from Lintaon Peak

So you see, you can either decide to look at the glass half empty or half full, although my site was not what I expected there were still some great aspects about it.  The cool thing to is that there remain a lot of places I have yet to explore such as our beautiful mountains which are rumored to have many endemic species on them.

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Another beautiful part of my municipality is Mount Pangasungan which I have yet to explore

During November of course I also went to more meetings which I couldn’t understand but sat through anyways. I introduced myself to more people still. I conducted some socioeconomic surveys for the fisher folk in my limited new language. And the worst part probably of the whole month was the dreaded November 8th (but since I live in the future actually November 9th for me). Luckily we had a meeting that day in my friend’s municipality, but as the meeting went on and we had our eyes glued to our phones we watched in terror and shock and disbelief as the elections unfolded. Although it really was a terrible outcome, life went on and I like to think that’s how the next four years will go by without too much damage (although let’s face it, it doesn’t look hopeful).

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Conducting fisher folk surveys

During November we also had our country director come and visit us. She came and we had dinner [pizza actually woot woot] and smoothies and we talked about Peace Corps and the elections and so on and so forth. Since we were having a late dinner my friend got to stay over (vans stop running at 6) and we had a sleepover of sorts at my house. For us that was great cause you see during the first three months at site we’re not allowed to do  overnight trips so this was a little glitch in the system and we had our night of fun.

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We decided to go snorkeling the night after our pijama party

So yeah I guess when I think about it now October and November were also pretty fun and I did more than I thought when I first started writing this post, but just you wait for December because it has definitely been my favorite month here thus far! All in all though, life is moving and I can’t believe it’s almost been half a year since I departed on this adventure.

Until next time

Dani

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