Maayong Gabi-I from the Philippines!

I’m back at it again, look at me writing blog posts two weeks in a row! So for starters a little disclaimer – there may be some typos on this blog. My keyboard decided that some letters were not important anymore so it makes writing a little tricky. To be fair my computer doubles as a tablet so I have the touch pad to write with but I’m not very used to it.

Anyways, last week I told you about April which was a pretty slow month but now on to May which was busy and exciting and really fulfilling. So without further ado, here’s the highlights of the month:

  1. More Assessments

As May came into my life, habitat assessments continued. In May we were able to go to the last two barangays in my municipality and finish off the assessments for the year. The cool thing is that these last two barangays not only had artificial reefs but they also had natural reef! Once again the university team assessed fish, coral and invertebrate populations while I shot some footage with my GoPro

  1. Don’t go chasing waterfalls…

In May, I decided to contact the guy that runs the blog and Facebook page for my municipality. He always seems to be going to cool places and I wanted to join. So on a Wednesday him and his friends who live close by and myself headed to the majestic mount Pangasungan. We hiked ~4.5 hours up a river with some very challenging obstacles and huge boulders. Along the way we stopped for water breaks and a lunch with a view of an awesome and REALLY tall waterfall. After the long trek however, we arrived at a truly gorgeous and powerful waterfall, really in the middle of nowhere. The hike down was just as long but we had mesmerizing views along the way and the sun was setting so at least it wasn’t as hot.

  1. Cuatro Islas

During May it just so happened that the volunteer that used to live here 10 years ago came to visit. He introduced me to some cool people and left me astounded as I heard him fluently speaking Visayan after being away for ten years. On one of the weekends, he invited me and my friend to Cuatro Islas which are a group of four islands that belong to the municipality south of me. The day started out overcast but soon cleared up and we were able to walk around the island, visited a pond with shrimp that cleaned your feet and went snorkeling just offshore

  1. Exploring my site

One of the weekends my friend was at my site, we decided to go exploring. We set out to a place called “Jungle Valley” just a few kilometers down the road from me. I’m not sure what it was supposed to be or if we took the right path but we walked up a river, intermittently stopping in little pools along the river to cool off. Along the way we were greeted by beautiful greenery and cautious carabao.

  1. Training of Trainers for Environmental Education

If I had to pick one highlight from the past year in the Philippines I would say it was this event. After much blood, sweat and tears (more tears and sweat than blood though) my project got approved by our local government unit and received funding. This meant that I had just three short weeks to prepare all the materials, set up logistics, send out invitations, etc. But I was not alone – my office was so supportive in getting me what I needed, my island mate Bennett was very helpful in creating learning materials such as PowerPoints and activities and the department of education aided in sending out invitations and securing a venue.

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The day of the big event came and everything ran so smoothly I was in shock. Over three days we had lectures, games, workshops and outings. We talked about things such as the ecosystems, solid waste problems, fishing problems and global warming

The games were my favorite part. Everyone was so into them and they really drove home some important points home such as the connectivity between ecosystems, figuring out that trash takes eons to disintegrate and exploring ways in which to make fishing more sustainable.

The end result was to give teachers some tools and materials to start including environmental education into their classrooms. This couldn’t have been a bigger success and now I look forward to going to their schools and providing further technical assistance.

Preparing for this training and executing it kept me quite busy most of May but I was so happy doing it. After the training it was time to relax with some VERY special people that came for a visit. But stay tuned into my next blog and I will tell you all about it then

Once again thanks for reading!

Kitakits,

Dani

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