Monday, August 30, 2010

settling down in banate

hello there..... 

I have finally settled in with my host family and town.  Things are going as smooth as they can for not knowing the language or much of the culture.  Sunday we made a trip to the "big city" of Iiloilo to get rain boots because when typhoon's hit the streets become flooded.  With the trash and excrement int he street I can imagine it is not a pretty site. 

Monday we started class.  With language being in the morning (8-12) then we go back to our host families house for lunch and ending the day with technical training (1-5ish).  Yesterday was the hottest day its been since I have been in the Philippines about 92 degrees with 95% humidity.  Just walking to class really drains your entire body and everyone shows up to class COVERED in a combination of sweat, insect repellent, and sunscreen.  The sun is more powerful here than in any other place I have ever been.  Your liable to be sun burnt from being outside just for 15 mins.

After class yesterday some volunteers and I decided to play some basketball after it cooled down.  I was not able to find them, so I decided to join a random game.  The lady(Gloria) who owned the land the basketball court was on came up me and was asking me all types of questions.  What are you doing here?  Are you a Mormon? etc.  I patiently explained to her what I was here for and how long I've been in town.  She was much obliged to let me play on her court after we had a 20 min. conversation in her broken English.  My fellow volunteers finally showed up to the court after I had played a few games.  Since I had already meet all the locals on the court I got to play with them while we took on the other volunteers.  All of the Filipinos either played in sandals or barefoot which is quite feet being that the court had holes all over.  As the game went on a massive crowd gathered...maybe about 60 to 70 people lined the court and trikes were stopped on the street watching us play.  The Filipino's and I eventually won the game, not because we got to 21 first, but because there was no more sunlight.  Pretty much everyone played shirtless and towards the end of the game the ball became extremely difficult to handle due the copious amounts of sweat.  After the game Gloria provided all of us with some cold tubig (water) which was a treat because most people here do not have fridges. 

I came home and showered and ate some dried fish, rice, and a fish stew...MMMMMMMMMM!  THere was a city wide brown out during dinner so we ate by the candle/flashlight.  There is a lady (Ami) who lives across the street from me and has Internet access and has a bakery attached to her house.  So, I came over to see what was going on.  There are always a ton of people over there helping bag various baked goods and watching T.V.  I assisted them for a few hours while there was no electricity and they helped with some vocabulary words.  Mostly they just laughed at me while I butchered the language.  THe phonetics of Hiligaynon is very very difficult to get down, but I have only been studying for two days now. 

We have a lechon (roasted pig) lunch with the mayor today.  So, I need to go take my second shower of the day and put on some pants blllllllah and a dress shirt.  Nothing like meeting the mayor of the town with a sopping wet button up shirt.  But, so far so good I'm loving Banate and the people are very welcoming.  More updates to come.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Ok so I just found out where I will be spending the next 3 months for training.  I will be going to a city called Banate, in the province of Iloiolo, and on the island of Panay.,_Iloilo 
I will be learning their local language called Hiligaynon.  I am a little bummed out that I did not get placed in the Taglog speaking group, but our teacher said Hiligaynon was not that difficult of a language to learn.  We will be departing from Manila tomorrow morning at 6 A.M. to catch a flight to our city.  Our city is classified as a 4th class municipality which means it is on the poorer side.  Cities here are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the richest with the most resources and 5 having the least.  So, it will be interesting to see what awaits me when I arrive tomorrow.

Yesterday a bunch of us went to the Mall of Asia here in Manila.  It was the first time we were able to get out of the resort on our own.  A group of 4 of us (Sarah, Morgan, and Thomas) took a jeepney to the mall.  It was quite the experience hopping on the jeepney for the first time.  The round trip costed us 16 pesos which like less than a quarter, so very cheap.  Our driver was very aggressive to say the least seemed like we were always an inch away from hitting another bus or motorcycle.  Once we arrived at the mall Thomas and I immediately went to Wendys and ordered double cheeseburgers.  We got the combo meal and our fries and drink were ridiculously small.  I think I got about 12 fries accompanied with about a 6 oz. drink, however it tasted exactly the same as back home.  We stuck out like sore thumbs while walking through the mall attracting the interest of all the female workers.  I am not kidding when I say every 10 seconds someone would say to us "good afternoons sirs" with a big smile.  From what I can gather they are very happy go lucky people that don't have alot, but love life. 

A group of us will all being going out tonight because the Coastal Resource Management volunteers will be going to three different parts of the P.I.  So, we will not bea ble to see each other for a couple months.  I will continue to update as much as I can, but I do not know what my training site will be like.  Hopefully it will have some Internet access readily available, but with it being a class 4th municaplity who knows...  Well I need to run to grab some lunch so I am going to sign off. 
Until the next update..

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Hey everybody I thought I would try and do a quick blog post before we have to go back to orientation.  We arrived in the P.I. on Sunday night around 1 AM.  After a 2 hour delay in Detroit we made it to Japan about 12.5 hours later, then it was on to Manila for a 3.5 hour flight.  We are in a resort just outside Manila and they are keeping us held up in here pretty good for now.  I think we get to leave the "compound" on Wednesday to do some water safety training.  I am developing some close bonds already with some of my fellow volunteers.  THe food is pretty good so far, but since were at a resort I want to reserve judgement.  It is not even the hot season yet and the weather is insanely hot!  Some of us played soccer yesterday during a break and it was rather difficult breathing with the heavy air.  However, it did start to rain during the game which provided some relief.  Ok I have run out of time need to get back to orientation.  Will try do post something again soon.  Hope all is well back home inthe States
Salamat !