Maayong gabi-i from the Philippines!

It’s been a while, huh? Believe it or not May and June kept me busy. Between work and trips (both vacation and work related) I’ve been preoccupied. Of course busy is a relative term, I won’t say I’ve been busy like I was in college but I will say it’s the busiest I’ve been in the past year. Speaking of which as I write this post I’m happy to say I’m only a couple days away from celebrating my anniversary of being in the Peace Corps and the Philippines. Anyways, that was an aside. What I realized is that I never wrote about what I did in April. Of course as has happened before, April is somewhat fuzzy now since so much time has passed. Either way, I will give you some of the highlights and in the next couple weeks I’ll also let you know why May and June were so busy.

So rather than make this post really long I will give you the highlights. I didn’t do THAT much in April so it will be short.

  1. Malapascua

Mid-April was holy week in the Philippines (and everywhere else in the world I guess).

Shark 4a Pelagic Thresher
This is what a thresher shark is (picture from google)

Since we had a long 4 day weekend, a group of other volunteers and myself took advantage of the opportunity to travel to Malapascua. To give you a little context as to why we went there let me start by saying, which many people know, I love sharks. Anyways, Malapascua has a place called Monad shoal nearby and here is the only place in the world where you can consistently see thresher sharks in shallow waters.

 

So we made the long-ish trek to Malapascua (one overnight ferry, a taxi, a four hour bus and another hour ferry). Once on the island we were reunited with friends, which is always one of the best parts of going on vacation!

We went diving, but alas we were quite unlucky and didn’t get to see the thresher sharks (although I did get to see the tail end of one, which I guess is the important part?). Despite our bad luck we still had a great dive at Gato Island immediately after. I also went on another awesome night dive to Chocolate island (below are some pics, there was lots of small things to see).

But of course, diving was not all we did. The weekend was rounded off by adult beverages, amazing food (there’s an Italian restaurant with DELICIOUS four cheese gnocchis), tons of beach time, a walk around the island, a sunset/booze cruise and one of the best parts was the “rave” we went to on our last night. The rave was a blast with amazing music and dancing and great people; and when it started to rain, we didn’t let it spoil the fun. We powered the night and ended up soaked to the bone but had such an amazing time just letting lose.

  1. Artificial Reef Assessments

Our local university has been doing assessments of our artificial reefs since August, and we continued doing just that in April. I go along and take pictures (hopefully to be used for some information campaigns) while the rest of the team assesses coral cover, invertebrate populations and fish populations.

  1. Clams Training in Hinunangan

At the end of April I went to my friends site called Hinunangan on the west of the island. Actually the days leading up to this I was plagued by fever and illness but luckily it subsided on the morning of the trip. This wasn’t just a vacation though (I know, seems like I’m always going on recreational trips) the reason for my trek to his site was to attend a giant clams training. During the first day of training a fellow volunteer did a presentation on the basics of giant clams (what they are, how to identify them, etc). The next day we went out to a marine reserve to see if we could see some first hand, to learn how to measure them and to see if we could also identify some species.

After the training we had a long weekend so we decided to stay at my friend’s site. We went snorkeling in his two island barangays (San Pedro and San Pablo), we went to some very small but still beautiful falls nearby and cooked some good food for my friend’s host family.

As I mentioned, April was not as eventful and marked by just a few big events. Stay tuned in the next few weeks and I will tell you all about May and June (which were much more exciting). And I promise to be a little better about blogging.

Kitakits!

Dani

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