Bridget (another student at the School of Marine Affairs) and I made it to Manila safely last night and found our guesthouse pretty easily. The plane rides were long and the food was.. interesting. For our snack, they served kimchi and ice cream, which I've never had served together. I'm trying to remain optimistic about the food in the Philippines but I am a little nervous. Oh well, we'll see. There's not much to say about Manila so far. It has a distinctly latin flavor to it, and reminds me more of Panama City than it reminds me of Bangkok. I've been told that the farther north you get in the country, the more you notice the Spanish influence. So, I'm curious to see how Cebu compares (farther south). We fly there tonight and from there will meet up with the CCE: the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, the organization that will be helping us with the logistics of our thesis research.
At the request of my mom, I will describe the work that I will be doing this summer. I am still in the planning stages, and will meet with my thesis adviser in a few days and iron out a few of the details. In the Philippines, ecotourism programs are a part of natural resource management, as many of the fish populations are overfished and ecotourism provides non-consumptive alternative sources of income to local fishermen. Or that's the idea. In some places, this works better than others. So I will be conducting interviews of communities where different ecotourism programs are located to find out why some work and why some don't. The goal is to ultimately discover factors that influence the long-term success of these programs.