Maayong gabi-i from the Philippines!

This week on Dani’s blog – a review of in service training!

So where we last left off I told you about January, a pretty uneventful month by all standards. Post January monotony, me and my other batch mates went to a training in Manila.

Before the training my island mates and I made our way to Tacloban which is the big city in the north of our island that has the airport in it. We spent Friday night and Saturday night there, mostly just having a relaxed pre-training weekend where we laid in bed and ate good food.

During our training we met this cool group of students from Korea who were on a 5 week trip in the Philippines to learn English

On Sunday morning, bright and early, we made our way from our hostel to the airport and to Manila. Once in Manila we went to the training center where we started to meet up with everyone from our batch. It was an exciting time to be reunited with everyone, this was the first time since September of last year that all of us had been together. To celebrate the beginning of training we made our way to the mall where we had some awesome burgers, mine was a mac and cheese burger to be exact, needless to say I was in heaven.

During week one of training we came here (can’t recall the name) but basically it’s a lake within a volcano within a lake. And then we had burritos for lunch!!

The first week of training we did a lot of language classes and technical trainings learning a little bit of everything, including some megafauna fun and how to respond to sea turtle and whale/dolphin strandings, we even had hands on training where we responded to stranded inflatable whales. Me and my island mates even got to lead a session about the marine protected area management effectiveness tool (MEAT); in layman’s terms it’s a tool to see where your marine protected areas need to improve and where they are doing well.

Marine Mammal Stranding Training
Helping with a cooking demo – here… I make tortillas!

The second week of training was called “Project Design Management”. This was an exciting time as our counterparts joined us in Manila for this part of the training. We went through the process of coming up with a project for our municipality, from identifying needs, to picking the project, to designing a schedule and a budget. My supervisor and I came up with the idea of doing a “Training of Trainers” (or a ToT) for high school science teachers were we teach them fun and effective ways to teach and incorporate environmental education in their classrooms. Awesomely enough this project is still in the works, and pending approval from higher government departments, it’s set to happen in May.

Playing a fish game with our counterparts that explore the different types of management and different forms of fishing practices

To be honest it was a great time and the refresher I needed after a very monotonous month at site. Being with my friends, all people that are so like-minded and enthusiastic, gave me a boost of motivation for when I came back to site. We got to learn technical things, practice our language and got to be with people that just feed of each other’s positive energy and support each other through good times and bad.

The place where we had this training is also where we spent the first two weeks when we first got to the Philippines, needless to say this was weird for all of us as we reflected how we were during our first two weeks in country. Simple things like being able to leave the training compound and catch a Jeepney to the mall had been terrifying to us when we first got here, but during this training we did it without so much as a second thought. It’s a small thing but it shows how we’re growing in this country, by making us more extroverted and forcing us to step out of our comfort zone every step of the way.

The 3 Kalamansies reunited

What’s more is that after two weeks of training I was ready, even looking forward, to going back to site. I was pumped to get to work and to be back in the community I now call home. It’s been a crazy journey but to look at where I was 8 months ago compared to now really blows my mind, work may be slow but the personal growth has been immense.

Of course my friends made sure I got tucked into bed every night

Thanks for sticking around and I hope you enjoyed. See you later, or as they say here “Kitakits”!