Friday, August 20, 2010

While I have WIFI....

Well, it seems that whenever I have time to blog, the wifi connection just isn't strong enough to allow me to create a new post. The server for this website requires a fairly good signal, I guess. So, in the past two weeks since I have blogged, I have knocked on a lot of doors (figuratively), been shot down on a lot of interview attempts, subsequently convinced to go on a weekend holiday to Hong Kong with my Filipina friend, Nalla, and actually completed some good work upon return.

Hong Kong is an amazing city. I really haven't fallen as hard for one since Seattle, although I was rather partial to Hanoi a few years back. But where Hanoi was inescapably chaotic, Hong Kong is smooth and efficient. And yet, it's always on the go. What I like best, though, is the multicultural flavor it brings to the table. There are people of all skin tones and all nationalities running around and swirling together, meeting, drinking, dancing and doing business. The night life is pretty great, too. Hong Kong is the epitome of 'work hard, play hard.' I think my dad would like it. What I liked about it was that everyone seems to go dancing all the time. My kind of nightlife.

Upon return to Cebu, I had an interview with the Agricultural Officer of Cordova, who filled me in on the history of the user's fee system of the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary. Then a few days later I traveled to Dumaguete, where I met with the Municipal Planning and Development Officer of Dauin, who shared similar information for the sanctuaries of their municipality. Today, I completed my 10th interview with a professor at Silliman University, who has been studying the social implications of various aspects of tourism here in the Philippines for quite some time. I return to Moalboal tomorrow to hopefully complete the last of my interviews that will comprise the primary portion of my data collection. Here's hoping everything goes well! Below, I have attached some photos of this beautiful old church here in Dumaguete. I have been too busy working to be much of a tourist, but Bridget and I stumbled across it while going out for dinner one night.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Boring Blog Post

Well, I am here for work and not non-stop adventure, so this post will be short and dull. I have been trying to get a lot of work done on my project as I feel the time slipping away from me. My efforts have been mostly unsuccessful. I am worried about how many interviews are still left to complete, but I am trying to remember that it is expected for things to not run smoothly when you are working in a place like the Philippines. These facts are harder to remember when I can't get any work done because the power is out all day, or when there is no water and I desperately want to take a shower. A member of my organization was supposed to come up and translate for me, but unfortunately fell ill. I have also been trying to get interviews with members of the government, however, I feel a bit like I am getting the run around. We will see how this progresses. So, I have mostly been sitting here in Moalboal, working on the computer during the day and trying to learn to play billiards at night. I am going a bit stir crazy and would like to go to the city, but I am still hopeful that I will get my interview with the mayor this week, so I will stay in town until Thursday. Oh well, at least there's always mango milkshakes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Picture Perfect

So, shortly after my dive trip, I decided to go back to the city. I had completed 5 interviews and had hit a bit of a standstill in Moalboal, so I thought Cebu might be a good change of pace. Also, I hadn't been successful in my attempts to get ahold of people from CCE (the organization that I am working with) through e-mail, so I thought I might be more successful in person. This time, I stayed in the dormitories across the street from the office, and it was really fun. And quite a bit cheaper. Being around students, it was much easier to make friends then when we had stayed at Myra's. Plus, this is where Bridget was staying and it was nice to get to hang out with her again. We quickly settled back into a routine of work, malls and short walks nearby for street food. Yum. Our favorite is this really awesome fruit market where they will cut up the mangos for you. I will never get tired of eating mangos here!

We met some girls in our dorm, and they invited us over for a celebratory dinner. One of the girls was dating an Australian guy nearby who was in the Philippines to get certified as an English teacher. The program had just ended that day. She cooked us an amazing dinner, and then the girls went dancing. I love girls night out! The next day, I joined the group from the English school in a tour of Cebu. We went all over, including a stop at TOPS, where you can see out over the city. You can also do a zip-line there, which was fun, but maybe not quite as exciting as it sounds. I've included two pictures from my day of sightseeing, I'm not really sure what the second one is. There wasn't really any explanation to accompany it. :)

I ended my week by heading to White Beach again, which is basically Moalboal, but the upscale part I can't afford to stay in. One of the women I interviewed from Project FISH is in the process of opening a resort and invited me to be her guest. I went up for a day and night of RnR and a little bit of snorkeling. Her resort is JUST BEAUTIFUL, and the snorkeling was AMAZING. I've put in a picture at the bottom of this post. Looks like a postcard, doesn't it? Honestly, it's hard to pick a favorite site when all the snorkeling is just so good. I guess that's why the Philippines is known as the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. And why I am doing my thesis research here. It doesn't hurt that the water here is the perfect temperature, a beautiful turquoise, and super clear. I also managed to do some transcribing at night, so I felt productive in addition to spoiled. After picking up my stuff in the city, I headed back down to Panagsama, where I will be in full force work mode. A coworker will hopefully be headed down this weekend to translate so I can interview the fishermen and the presidents of the local People's Organizations. And I am working up the nerve to request interviews from the mayor and vice-mayor and a few other government officials. So wish me luck. Love, Jenn