July 31- August 8th: Palawan & babay FNRI, thanks for the adventure!

July 31st

Just call me a lab rat: Today at the FNRI, we were given a tour of the labs which test vast amounts micronutrients and macronutrients, hematocrit and hemoglobin levels, water quality and so much more. One of my favorite labs tested for the prescence of Iodine in the salt that was collected by the survey I was a part of! It was cool to see the salt samples that was collected during the data collection magically end up in a lab at FNRI. One of my favorite lab was on the biochemical which tested for the presence of hemoglobin in blood samples that was also collected by the survey. My experience touring the labs was cut too short because there was still so much to learn about this crucial step in the process of research!

August 1st

Travel to Palawan!: Got up at 3:15AM to get up for our early morning flight. Had the most enjoyable landing in Porta Princesa in addition to a great view of the aqua blue water down below just before we touched down. The water looked so pristine I was giddy sitting in my seat. We surely had a day of travel because after we got off the flight we hopped on a six hour bus ride which would take us to our first destination of Palawan.  I was not surprised that we yet again had another race car driver for a bus driver who swerved all the way to El Nido. Once we arrived, we were able to see hundreds of Bangkas lining the water and a beautiful view of the islands surrounding us. It was a great start today but I am more excited about island hopping tomorrow!

August 2nd

Island Hopping & Goofy Weather: Today had some hiccups, but it was still a lot of fun. We were greeted by our tour guide at 8AM and headed to the waterfront to find out that the tour we were scheduled to be on had gotten cancelled by the coastguard because the weather conditions were too dangerous. We ended up switching to a different tour package and went on our way on the Bangka with tourists on our boat from all different backgrounds from French, Irish, Spanish, UK, and possibly Italian. I quickly learned why coastguard cancelled our tour when we got past the island which protected us from the wind. I am sure glad I brought sunglasses and a face cloth with me which had a new purpose of protecting my face from splashing water by the waves continuously crashing into our boat.  I was a little wet but I had a fun ride to our first destination, the big lagoon. The big lagoon baffled me because I was able to kayak on the most beautiful water I had ever seen. It was interesting to watch how the outfitters brought us our kayaks because one man managed to pull six kayaks behind him in considerably choppy water. Impressive. I wish I could have kayaking in the big lagoon all day since kayaking is one of my favorite pastimes.  alongside at least forty other kayaks. The next island we hopped over to we went snorkeling! I felt so accomplished when I finally found Nemo. I was told by the Irish woman on the boat that clown fish bite so I am glad I did not get very close to their anemone. We finished the El Nido tour on an beautiful island beach where I swung on a tree swing and started up a beach volleyball game with the boat crew. This was a close second favorite but kayaking was the highlight of the day hands down. Overall, I am glad that we made it back to shore in one piece and after the tour was over we hopped right back on a bus to Porta Princesa where we would have our next adventure.

August 3rd

Underground River & Testy Weather: Started the day at 8AM towards the Underground River named one of the Seven Wonders of Nature! Right up my alley! We arrived at the port and I absorbed the environment around me: the variety of ethnicities, the swells of waves hitting up against the retention wall, and the coolest thing was a mountain formation the locals liked to call the ‘large giant,’ naturally formed from the mountain’s silhouette. As we waited for our Bangka, locals would try to sell us knickknacks, dry bags, food from our chair. They succeeded in treating me like a queen by fetching iced coffee while I didn’t have to lift a finger. As we were sipping on our iced coffee we managed to strike up conversation with the couple of tourists who would be sharing the Underground River experience with us. It turns out, they were they were my kind of people because they too had a set of their own world experiences. I loved hearing about all of the places they had travelled to and thought that some day I might travel there too. We got on the Bangka and had a fairly peaceful ride to the Underground River where we got onto a smaller boat where our guide would paddle up to seven times his own weight through the majestic underground cave. Wow what an adventure! I was fascinated by the rock formations and the desolate world the bats and birds roamed free in. I refrained from opening my mouth open too wide when I looked up at the ceiling of the cave for the fear of drops of water and bat dropping from landing in my mouth. The rock formations were compared to fruits, vegetables, and religious figures (some saying it is was a religious experience). After we got out of the cave the weather started to get a little Typhoony so we had to wait two hours to get back! While waiting for our Bangka to save us, we hung out in this little metal hut where we had to be always hanging onto our belongings because the fear a monkey might run up a tree with it. Sure enough, while I was talking to the adventurous man from the port, I saw a monkey heading straight for his bag, and thankfully he acted fast enough to snatch it away before the monkey could get to it. We were finally able to catch our Bangka back to the mainland, and I am relieved we made it back safe.  We proceeded with the final part of our tour where we feasted and sang along with with band. I accompanied Kate with a tambourine (haha I have no rhythm) while she sang with the band.

August 4th

Crocodile Rock: Woke up this morning with a bit of a cold. Probably due to the cold and wet Bangka ride we had on the way back to the mainland. We finished our Palawan experience with a city tour visiting a crocodile farm (one of the rescued crocodiles ate 8 children… eeek!), a beautiful church, and bakers hill. We spent the rest of the day at SM and took our flight back to Manila. Oh! And I am really into this book recommended to me by the adventurous man yesterday. I never read books for fun, so this is a big step in the life of Kenzie.

August 5th

Today was spent in the office doing working earnestly on the finishing touches to our projects and papers.

August 6th

Illusion Museum & MEGAmall Today we convinced the office to get the day off because we already had worked over 250 hours in the field! We spent the day and a super cool illusionist museum downtown and went to the best mall of all—The SM MEGAMALL. It was six floors spanning three massive building of any store you could ever imagine! I was just excited that it had a taco bell–only to disappoint me by not selling Baja blast.

August 7th

 Today the interns and I had presented on our experiences to officials and staff of the FNRI.  I didn’t realized how emotionally attached I was to the internship until I started to give my personal take-aways on my experience in the Philippines. I started to choke up while elaborating on my takeaways that could be simply stated as: 1. Fieldwork is fun: Everyday was a new and unique day in field each filled with its own adventure whether it be trying a new food, taking a new form of transportation, or learning a new skill. Fieldwork was fun because I felt more connected to the people within a short period of time which made a lasting impression. 2. Filipinos can feast: I loved the food. In the beginning of my experience, I always portioned off a small amount of rice for my meals and by the end of my experience here in the Philippines I think I could call myself a Filipino by heaping rice onto my plate. I enjoyed the food (except bitter melon and Balut). I really appreciated being in the rural provinces because the food was freshly picked or caught, not prepackaged like you would find in a large box store. The generosity was refreshing because you would go to a respondent’s home and come back with food you could not refuse.  3. Friendships were formed: With every team I joined, I was welcomed with open arms. I am forever thankful for the laughs shared among team members and the memories created from a summer that was one not like any other, one I will never forget. I think my heart near sunk to the floor when they played the video our past team members from the field had created. I cherish all of the kind words and gifts given by my second family at the FNRI.

 Today the interns and I had presented on our experiences to officials and staff of the FNRI.  I didn’t realized how emotionally attached I was to the internship until I started to give my personal take-aways on my experience in the Philippines. I started to choke up while elaborating on my takeaways that could be simply stated as: 1. Fieldwork is fun: Everyday was a new and unique day in field each filled with its own adventure whether it be trying a new food, taking a new form of transportation, or learning a new skill. Fieldwork was fun because I felt more connected to the people within a short period of time which made a lasting impression. 2. Filipinos can feast: I loved the food. In the beginning of my experience, I always portioned off a small amount of rice for my meals and by the end of my experience here in the Philippines I think I could call myself a Filipino by heaping rice onto my plate. I enjoyed the food (except bitter melon and Balut). I really appreciated being in the rural provinces because the food was freshly picked or caught, not prepackaged like you would find in a large box store. The generosity was refreshing because you would go to a respondent’s home and come back with food you could not refuse.  3. Friendships were formed: With every team I joined, I was welcomed with open arms. I am forever thankful for the laughs shared among team members and the memories created from a summer that was one not like any other, one I will never forget. I think my heart near sunk to the floor when they played the video our past team members from the field had created. I cherish all of the kind words and gifts given by my second family at the FNRI.

July 24-30th: Adventures in the field come to an end.

July 24th

Final Team Transfer & Dengue Fever: This morning Ma’am JJ made eggs with a side of MEATLOAF for breakfast which actually tasted pretty good.  I have also noticed that I have eaten a lot more rice than usual so it makes me believe I am slowly turning into a Filipino. Mimi and I joined our final team and located some houses. Later we stuffed ourselves in yet again another trike and went to the market with Rachel. One of the things that I learned about the nursing profession this evening while talking to a previous hospital nurse, is that nursing is not valued by the Filipino government.  Nurses in Public hospitals are paid about $6 a day and each nurse is responsible for 30 patients! The team nurse explained that he gets paid more working in the field and is relieved from lots of stress. I also learned earlier that he was one of the team members that had gotten Dengue fever! Essentially, Dengue fever is a virus that is transmitted by mosquitos which can cause symptoms such as headache, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, etc. It was debated as to whether he was going to get checked into the hospital at one point because his Hematocrit and platelet levels kept fluctuating.  The team member finally got his appetite back (after not having it for a week) and was slowly gaining back the eight pounds that he had lost with the sickness! One of the healthcare workers who I had spoken with in Benguet, had shared with me eating ripe papaya including the seeds, other than sleep and healthy liquids, is good with treating Dengue fever.

July 25th

Sexy Beach Day: The funniest part of my day was learning about the name of the beach we were going to. Instead of pronouncing the word beach as it normally should, Filipinos tend to pronounce the letter ‘e’ as an ‘i’ sound and ‘ach’ as a ‘tch.’ So this morning at breakfast while I am eating my dried fish and rice, my supervisor comes up to me and says… “Are you ready for Sexy B*tch?” I just looked at her in shock and then we laughed hysterically after realizing what she just said. Before going to the beach we made courtesy call to the municipal major, who turns out upheld a 70-year lineage of being major in that barangay. Neato! When we went to the beach we ate lunch boodle fight style. A boodle fight is named after how men ate army eating with their hands and a palm leaf is used to put the food on. The milk, eggplant, and buko (coconut) water was yummy! After I was done with our lunch, to no surprise I was the first in the water to ride some waves! The fresh coconut water was so refreshing after accidently drinking some of the Philippine Sea.  At dinner tonight I tried squid with the ink for the first time. After eating at least ten squid, I was busog (full) and had a mouth full of black teeth! Masarap!

July 26th

7 hours of KTV & Boodle Fight: Today is our last official day out in the field. We got up at 5 AM and walked over this narrow footbridge to get to the respondent’s house. On the way back from the respondent’s house, we briefly went to the beach and tried to fish in the river for tilapia borrowing the respondent’s 10 foot fishing pole! It did not take us very long to realize that fishing was not our calling in life and quickly gave up. Later in the morning, Kenneth and Rachel took us to a poultry farm and sea salt refinery. We the girls and I went to our farewell despedida (party). I had so much fun, we played games and had a boodle fight. Now what made my stomach uneasy about the boodle fight was that we ate Lechon, broiled pig, right after we went to a poultry farm full of baby pigs.  The pork was so good! We had a feast! After the teams went back to work, the girls, Ma’am JJ, and I all played KTV for 7 hours straight! I didn’t think I could karaoke for that long…

July 27th

Sand Dunes & Flight home

As I swept the barangay hall, I thought about the impact the field researchers made on my life. Just as the team left the barangay hall better than they found it, the same could be said for each team’s impact on my life. With every team I encountered I was showered with unconditional love and laughter. It was so easy to connect with the team members who I am thankful for helping me learn and grow. Not only have I learned the whereabouts of fieldwork but the living environment that comes with it. I will always cherish the memories shared with team members. By sleeping on the floor together, sharing meals together, and working around the clock together it didn’t take long to create bonds with many I can call my friends. I wish I could share one more ‘rest,’ one more boodle fight, one more mountain hike, and one (million) more selfies with these beautiful people of the FNRI. I am forever thankful for everyone who made me feel at home and loved and will all have a very special place in my heart. After the goodbyes and before our flight, Ma’am JJ took us to BACSIL ONSE REEF Sand Dunes. Dune buggying was a BLAST! Never would I have thought I would have been standing on the back of a jeep that I am pretty sure had no shocks and no seatbelts! I would love to do this again. Thankfully we survived the dunes and finished the adventure sandboarding! I will definitely try to recreate their sand board at home and try it at Warren Dunes. We made our flight back to Manila wishing I never left Ilocos Norte.

July 28th

Attended my first Catholic Mass in the Philippines conveniently located in the clubhouse of my condo. Spent the rest of the day at the mall where I had a delicious croissant and saw the movie “Yesterday” with the girls.

July 29th

FNRI Data analysis & Encoding Tutorial: Update, if I haven’t emphasized it enough already, I miss my co-workers in the field and wish I could go back right now. Instead of going back to the field, we have the opportunity to learn how the NAMD researchers encode, clean, and analyze the data that I helped collect in the field. The key word to this job is meticulous, it takes a special person to edit this data for hours on end and actually enjoy it.

July 30th

More Data Analysis at FRNI: Today in the office, we were able to work hands-on with data encoded in 2018. We got a crash course on how to use STATA software which was kind of fun but also kinda stressful.  I was thankful that the NAMD workers took time out of their day to try and explain how encoding and analysis works.

July 16-23: Adventure is Jollibee parties and beachin’ in Illocos Norte

July 16th

Filipinos arrive early to the airport for a reason//HBD Kate: When the locals say arrive to the airport three hours early to the airport, Filipinos mean it. This morning we stressed ourselves out by cutting it a little too close to our flight departure. We were a little slow this morning because we went to bed at 2AM and we got up at 8AM, in order to catch up on sleep. Thankfully, we made it on our flight.  Ma’am JJ and Sir Lyle picked us up from the airport where we were crammed in the cab of a pickup truck for a short ride to our accommodation for a night.  It was nice to see old team members again and it was a change of pace to be staying at a mansion-like accommodation for the night. Little did we know after we arrived ma’am JJ had planned a surprise birthday party for Kate’s 20th! It turns out, Jollibee throws the best birthday parties and Filipinos sure know how to party. I was very surprised to find four sub teams that I had worked with in the past were all at the party. What a blast!

July 17th

Today Mimi and I moved to our new barangay where we will stay for today. We drove to a team who I worked within the past such as Chan, Jen, Mac, Louie, Kuya Mike, and Kuya Arvin. It was nice see some familiar faces as well as play basketball with the kids in the barangay. Instead of calling for the basketball by yelling, “me!” I taught all of the neighbor kids to call for the ball yelling “ball!” (which ended up sounding like “baol” instead of ball). I loved working with these kids as well as this little girl that I worked with at the clinic later that day. This two year old girl let me twirl her around and had the cutest laugh. Desert at dinner today was delicious because I got to try fresh dragon fruit and other fruit for the first time. A little too sweet for my taste but still good. After dinner I was able to help Cha encode information into the computer which was fun! My favorite part of the day was eating Avocado with powdered milk and drinking Mac’s Iced coffee… Masarap!!

Avocado with powdered milk!

July 18th

Instead of going to the respondant’s house today Mimi and I tagged along with Mac and Ma’am JJ  to the next barangay hall to prepare for the new respondents and to Robinson’s mall. We ended up having a nice conversation with one of the chairmen in Ilocos Norte’s city hall and the one thing that caught my attention was the rise of dengyuey fever in the area. The vice municipal major was nice to talk to in replacement for the municipal major in absence for the municipal major who had to take care of a crisis with the Typhoon. We crammed four of us in the very small trike to transport to eat Chowking at the mall and immediately went to eat a free merienda at one of the local’s restaurants… I now understand the meaning of what they call, “the rainy season.” In the Philippines they only have two seasons, the summer season and the rainy season where the rainy season is raining all day! For dinner we had Munggo (lentils), they were Sarap!

July 19th

Beetles for Breakfast: This morning for breakfast one of the locals brought over Salaguma (beetles) to complement our eggs and sausage. The taste of the beetle reminded Mimi of pistachos, while it reminded me the taste of Isow (chicken intestines), either way I realized will not be touching that ‘delicacy’ until a zombie apocalypse. I was able try corn on the cob from a street vendor it was not the same as Illinois’ sweet corn! The cob was chewier and smaller! I thought of my old job (working at a farmer’s market) and their sweet corn is 1000% better! In the evening, I went with Louie to a respondent’s house and surveyed an extensive amount on topics such as cancer history, smoking history, medical history, etc. Not that your keeping tabs or anything, I yet again played with an adorable little girl. Playing with all of these adorable kids in the Philippines makes me want one of my own!  After our work was done, Louie and I came home to Mac singing to Karaoke! We played karaoke and volleyball and later went to go watch the Lion King. After we came back from the mall and they were still playing KTV at 9PM loud enough so the neighbors could clearly hear them. We played for so long. For dinner, I ate what Ilocos Norte is famous for… empanadas! So sarap!

July 20th

Woke up early the next morning and helped one of the dietary researchers go weigh food, which just seems like a regular routine nowadays.  After we had weighed food, I accompanied one of the team members to go fetch her laundry at someone else’s house.  All three of us went on a motorcycle and went on a little impromptu adventure where the local took us to the river! I fell in love with the river… it was so blue! I saw a zip line and bike on a tight rope which I was very tempted to try. I refrained because I got the impression that we would like wash our clothes and take a bath in the river. Later that evening I went out with Pau to go weigh leftovers with her where I got to hold the cutest baby!  The night ended on a high note because I was able to see a beautiful rainbow and I felt like a rock star ‘singing’ KTV. I think I am addicted…

July 21st

Karaoke & Cheese Lumpia: This morning we yet again woke up to karaoke. This made me laugh because this was the fourth KTV I did in the past three days! I now believe that every morning should start with KTV, it is such a happy start to the day. We went to a new barangay and located households in the mountains. This was FUN. The barangay captain’s son had a birthday so of course we had to celebrate with him (just like everyone else in the barangay). We ate some sarap food one of my favorites being homemade cheese lumpia which reminded me a whole lot of taquitos. I also ate pancit miki, Puto, pork lumpia, biko, Filipino spaghetti, and macaroni salad. I was frustrated at the end of the day today because I couldn’t quite get the hang of editing forms! Better luck tomorrow. I have my alarm set for 4:15AM.

July 22nd

Gutting Talapia: Since I’ve been up since 4:15, (so about 18 hours) I have got a lot to say. Before the break of dawn, SI, a couple local aids, and I were walking in the street to the first household. At this time, it was still dark so some drunk men on a moto almost hit one of the local aids! After I came back, I helped recording anthropometric measurements and then did my favorite activity o the day, preparing tilapia. I got to gut the fish I felt so accomplished for acquiring this new skill. The other dish I prepared was adobo sitaw (string beans with Filipino sauce). The fried fish and adobo sitaw was so masarap, I was so proud of myself! After lunch we located respondents and I got to sit on the bed of the pickup truck while we drove through the mountains. I felt so free. When we got to the respondent’s house I had eaten so many fruits I had never even heard of and picked my own Guava. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to wash our clothes in the river so I am left a little more stinky than usual. Overall, it was a great day.

July 23rd

Pagudpud Beach Day: Had the most blissful beach day where the team crammed into a jeepney and an ‘owner’ jeep (my new favorite adventure vehicle)  for two hour trip to the northern part of the Philippines. Just a pro tip to all of the jeepney riders in the back to bring a cloth to cover your face from all of the exhaust! Along the way, the local aids kept stopping the car to pick up street foods for lunch and I was also able to try fresh squid! Masarap! After we arrived, we did what most every Filipino does, eat! I ate a delicious dessert called Hopia and then I took off for the beautiful blue water. Later I played volleyball, went on a flying fish, walked on the coral, and got burnt to a crisp! On the way home was quite the adventure because we stopped at the windmills (it felt like Bloomington), stopped by the shore and explored what they called the “white rock,” and after the sun went down our headlights went out and it was pouring rain! We all live to tell tale.

July 13-15: Adventure is jumping off 50 foot cliffs…

July 13th

Day 1 in Cebu: This morning I woke up in this mildly creepy hotel but I only care that I got plenty of sleep and complimentary breakfast… We ended up going to SM (over this mall thing) and then to Happy Beach which was animated and full of activities. However, I would not recommend any beach in Lapu lapu because I have been told the beaches in the south are so much better. The girls and I learned to roll with the punches since Happy Beach was not on our original agenda. We were able to relax and I was able to find a blue star fish and much more marine life while I was wandering in the water close to the shore. Besides the starfish, my favorite part was watching the fire show at the end of the night. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Exploring the shore of Happy Beach resort

July 14th

Snorkeling + Canyoneering = Best day ever: Started the day at 4AM where our driver picked us to embark on quite an adventure! Marvin (our driver) took us to our first activity in Moalboal to go snorkeling! Our guides took us out to Pescador Island by this really loud boat called a (Bangka) which seemed to be the main mode of water transportation in the area.  It was the best snorkeling experience that I ever had! (Even though I didn’t really use the snorkel at all… lol) It was essential to have flippers because I was able to swim so much deeper and was able to see so much more marine life! Absolutely flabbergasted by all of the colors but was soon shocked when my guide had swam deep down and ripped off one of the blue star fish from the reef! After Pescador Island the guides with cigarettes in their mouth drove us to our next snorkel, the sardine run. The animators from Finding Nemo had portrayed it in the movie right… I was in awe when I was admiring the schools of sardines swimming deep down as far as the eye could see. It was fun to swim down and break apart the school of fish and no matter how fast I swam; I couldn’t touch them! We hopped back on the boat where our guides took us to our final snorkel to the sea turtles! I really enjoyed experiencing the life of a sea turtle.  Watching the sea turtles eat sea was like watching a chicken peck at feed! I was thoroughly amused and I was able to get within a couple feet of those beautiful creatures! It was an experience for a lifetime which I am forever grateful. At the end of our snorkel adventure, our guides shipped us back to the mainland on our very loud Bangka where I was able to admire the view for one last time and mentally prepare myself for our next adventure—canyoneering…

                  Jumping off a 50-foot cliff had my adrenaline pumping, more so than skydiving! After our driver dropped us off at our beachside location, we were unexpectedly thrown onto a motorcycle where I was living on the edge (literally bouncing off the back seat) and had the best mountain motorcycle ride! Now the fun had just began…  We then proceeded on a brief 30 min hike down where I could hear people yelling, making me think that this was gonna be fun…! I was immediately struck by how blue the water was and the diverse group of people that were participating in this fun activity. Essentially, the guides made sure we would safely jump off the seven cliffs (20ft, 30ft, 45, 45, 50ft) as well as be our trusty photographers! I felt like a kid in a candy store, jumping off the cliffs, going down the rockslides backwards, swinging on a rope swing, and swimming through the incredible blue water. The wildest part of the adventure was jumping off of the 50 foot cliff where I had my “oh sh*t” moment! Looking back at it now it doesn’t even seem that far of a drop… We then went to Kawasan Falls was so neat to swim under and was another incredible view. I wish I could stay there forever and repeat the day over and over again!

July 15th

Best day not best for last in Cebu…: So the last day in Cebu didn’t go as expected… I unfortunately got sick for reasons that I am still trying to figure out myself… I started out the day by walking up a long flight of stairs to a Taoist temple which I didn’t quite understand but it drew my interest to learn about the religion. I was able to respect the Taoist sanctuary with silence and solemnity while others prayed and meditated while walking up to the main altar.  After the temple, we had to bargain for a good deal to get us up to the top of the mountain to see the Temple of Leah, a must see. When we finally arrived to the top, I got sick… Well, at least I can say I literally made my ‘mark’ on the Temple of Leah and a flower bush in the Siaro garden! HA! I slept most of the morning in the taxi cab that drove us up the mountain. Finally, after we came down from the mountain I felt a little better and was able to tour my favorite place of the day, Magellan’s cross (remember Ferdinand Magellan, the dude that circumnavigated the world in 1512? Yeah neither do I). It is kind of crazy to think this explorer established Catholicism in Cebu over 500 years ago! I enjoyed spending time in the Basilica del Santo Nino with fellow believers. The day ended travelling back to Manila where we would take a quick rest to be able to head back tomorrow to Ilocos Norte.

Taoist Temple
Late night flight back to Manila

July 7-12: Adventure is trike riding in the streets of Marikina

July 7th

This morning I got up at 4:45AM to shower up and go to a household where we woke up six kids at 6AM sleeping like sardines in a crammed room. I quickly got to learn more about the six kids and their way of life. The kids ranged from five to fourteen years old. I don’t believe the family had food for us to weigh which made me believe there may not been food available at all. Going to this house made me more appreciative of spacious living quarters that is without cockroaches! Later I had joined a anthropometric researcher where we had to get creative when setting up measurement tools in confined living spaces. It was nice to come back to headquarters for a rest because it was so hot today and our room had A/C! The team and I had later gone to lunch at BonChon where I tried my new favorite Filipino dessert of Bingsu! However the best part about the afternoon was playing lots of badminton with the team and nearly sweating through my shorts! So fun! (except for the sweating part)

Being crammed into a trike isn’t as bad with a nice view

July 8th

Today we ate lunch at a more American famous fast food chain of KFC and then grabbed some iced coffee at DD bar. The coffee that Dunkin sells in the Philippines is lacks variety because they do not sell different flavored coffees, only cream and sugar. During our KFC lunch Kate and I were able to have a great conversation with Crystal and Quiness about their jobs as dietitians/nutritionists. As dietitians, they have a greater responsibility because they have a lot more paperwork to fill out when working with the families. Crystal reported that editing could take about four hours per family when she could normally be assigned to six families per site! It is mind boggling that their ‘desks’ are located right at their beds! The researchers are able to travel with their job but are technically working 7 days a week in order to complete collections and be flexible with the respondent’s schedule.  Played more badminton and then went to eat at the riverside and I ate some delicious pork sisig! On the way back from dinner we walked by this comedy show at the mall. I stood there for less than two minutes and they called me out all the way from the back. They said some stuff in Tagalog after I spoke then everyone laughed at me (maybe a lil public humiliation).

July 9th

This morning we got up to move to a new barangay which was located right next to the river! I love this barangay already… We started out the day with a courtesy call and spent the afternoon locating houses with the team. The one thing I couldn’t miss was the SM building towering over the others which appears to be the main place where the locals get their supplies besides the Sari Sari stores (these are small stores sprinkled throughout barangays). I found out that we are sleeping in a room with A/C and I am so excited about it.

Researcher’s Migration Pattern:

Step 1: Prepare Supplies & Team (~10 members)

Step 2: Courtesy Call & Local Aid Meeting

Step 3: Locate Household & Explanation of survey

Step 4: Go back to households (~26 households), where they will receive anthropometric measurements while only half of the households will receive dietary measurements and food recall.

-5 days may not always be enough time to cover 26 households depending on the distance to the households. Some households could take 3 hours to reach because the researchers may have to travel by boat or hike high up into the mountains only to find that respondent has moved households or are not interested in the survey.

Step 5: Incentives… Each family who complies with the survey receives a gift of 150Pesos (~$5 worth) of food!

Step 6: Editing… Throughout the week, dietitians work on their papers which may take up to 4 hours a family depending on how many family members they have… (in other words, it takes a long time). The medical technicians have to prepare all of the blood and urine samples so they are about to send it to the lab for testing before going to the next barangay. Eventually, all of these papers are sent back to the main office where the data collected will be encoded and analyzed!

Step 7: Pack up & Move on to the next barangay

July 10th

Early morning in Marikina: Today I got up at the crack of dawn in the intent to observe Ralf’s technique when extracting blood! He did a great job extracting blood except that I freaked out when I realized that he wasn’t wearing any gloves! I guess it worked out okay because he was very careful. One of the babies who had to get bloodwork done was bribed with treats so that he wouldn’t move and wouldn’t cry. The respondent was a single mother with two kids had two kids and lived in a home about the same size as my bedroom. This was humbling… After a long morning’s work going to houses, we went to the mall where I got a local taste of the penne pasta which was not even close to as good as home. Kate and I were with our team now which I lik a lot so far, Our location has air conditioning AND WiFi! How lucky we are. As I was blogging, I overheard music playing loudly outside the barangay hall which turned out to be Zumba! Every night from 6-8pm Zumba occurs outside of the barangay hall… If I had time I would go back because it was such a blast! The team ripped me away for dinner and I finally had my first ever Balut! I ordered it with hesitation but the fertilized duck egg (aka Balut) wasn’t that terrible even though I felt guilty for eating it. While I was blogging at headquarters the municipal major comes us to me and asks me how I am doing and we had a conversation about the caribou in his town and more importantly what it was like to swim in the River sixty years ago before the tsunami had hit the area. It reminded me to be thankful for not being a part of a natural disaster…

July 11th

Happy Birthday Madi! (My best friend): Today I followed the dietitians, weighed food, and observed Ralf extract blood! I was very impressed on how Ralf was able to extract blood without problem which made me hope that I may be good at extracting blood one day. At our final household for the day, I was conducting an interview for a family and as I was doing that, the little boy and girl had kissed me on the cheek! Absolutely adorable I was about to pack those munchkins home with me.  Later in the interview, the respondent had started talking about his job as a paramedic and I found it interesting that the biggest cause of accident’s and hit and run deaths are due to drunk drivers.  At the end of the day two teams came together and we had a nice dinner where I was able to try their lasagna (it was still good, I was not impressed by the sad amount of cheese). I also devoured a mango graham cracker fritz! So sarap! After our dinner, we got to participate in activity I had been anxiously awaiting to try… KTV (Karaoke)! It was everything I hoped for and more. I had a blast with Kate as I accompanied her in singing Bohemian Rhapsody which was by for my favorite song of the night. Overall, it was another great day.

July 12th

 Last day in Marikina & off to Cebu: We started off the day at a delicious restaurant called Rustic Mornings which reminded me of home. I definitely will inspire my own home to look like this place. After stuffing down some massive pancakes the team toured around the town starting with what the Marikina was known for… shoes! The shoes sold in the stores were made locally, made out of real leather, and selling them for cheap! I refrained from buying these shoes because I wanted to save money for my trip for Cebu which we leave for tonight!  Honestly, I am a little nervous because we planned it ourselves very last minute. Regardless of all the things that could go wrong, I am ready for the beach and the adventure that goes along with it! Wish me luck for this 11:30 PM departure flight!

July 1-6: Adventure is acting like a nerd at a research conference…

July 1st

Day off: Wow! I can’t believe that it is already July! After getting back from our long commute from Illocos Norte we were asked to come to the office to get an orientation on the seminar series this week. I am looking forward to learning new aspects about nutrition to improve overall health. Spent the rest of my day off getting some exercise at the pool. It didn’t take long for me to talk to someone I didn’t know. Meeting the middle school girls gave me a better insight of Filipino culture. The girls strained that the want to have pointy noses and paler skin (it’s funny how it is the opposite in the USA). I can’t believe June is already over, I guess time flies when you’re having fun!  I am filled to the brim with excitement for the Adventures that July has to offer.

July 2nd

Seminar Series Opener & Mall of Asia Extravaganza: After the girls and I got back from the field, we changed our role as field research workers to attendants to the Annual Seminar series where one is able to view results from previous years as well as other outstanding studies. My favorite part of the day was voting for the best poster presentation which was conducted by graduate researchers.  Taking a Research Methods course I had a greater appreciation viewing and critiquing the work done by the graduate students. I really enjoyed reading research regarding the effectiveness of the tea Tsaang Gubat (Ehretia microphylla) on losing weight.  Even though it was a great topic, the research still had many opportunities for further investigation. I felt that after taking my research course I was better able to the critique and appreciate the posters completed by the graduate students.

  Another presentation that I found interesting was a way to measure body composition using Deuterium Oxide Dilution Techniques. This technique is used to measure total body water which is found by the equation (Total Body Mass-Fat Free Mass=Total Body Water). This is important to learn because it another way to assess if a person is overweight and shows alternate strategies to measure body composition.

A topic that I learned more about is the impact of natural disasters (Typhoons, floods, etc.) on food security and overall nutrition. I found it interesting that the results showed there was a stunt in growth associated with Typhoons with children 0-59 months of age. The presentation also found that there was a CED (Chronic Energy Deficient) in which there was a significant change in nutrient deficiency with exposures to natural disasters. It is hard to relate to natural disasters living in the Midwest but I have a glimpse of understanding with my new set of experiences working in the provinces of how challenging food security may be after a natural disaster. Having this internship in the Philippines makes me wonder how well disaster relief programs are able to provide relief in already impoverished areas.  This presentation not only made me think about Philippine cultures but other part of the world but my own culture that share the same issues.  

One of the presentations that I look forward to hearing about tomorrow is the correlation between the neck circumference and hypertension!

July 3rd

Seminar Series Day 2: One of the presentations I found interesting discussed the tools for monitoring maternal nutritional status. The presentation emphasized what I learned in Dr. Hopkin’s childhood development class about the importance of intervening with nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life because this is the time that children are most vulnerable in development. One of the problems the Philippines face is identifying if a Filipino child is underweight or overweight. The Philippines has the Republic Act 11148 Section 8 is the law which protects the lives of the children by preventing malnutrition using early identification tools as well as early malnutrition counseling.  One of the main points the speaker discussed was the use of the weight for height table to determine if a child or mother is underweight. The table used by the Filipinos today was developed by the American government in 1988. The issue that surfaced was the overall weight shift in the Filipino population. To elaborate, according to the 2015 survey, on average, there was a 2.8kg increase on the Filipino weight chart from 1988 to 2015.  With this source of information, the FNRI is re-examining the reference weight which should be used that ultimately alters cutoff ranges for low birth weight. Hearing this presentation raised the question whether the standard weight for the height and weight scale should change with time. Even though the scale had not been altered in over thirty years, I do not believe that the scale should be changed in response to increase in body size of Filipinos. Keeping the scale would allow monitoring of the increased overweight population in the Philippines.

I was most excited for the presentation which talked about the association of neck circumference with elevated blood pressure among Filipino Adolescents. During the 2013 data collection, neck circumference was measured from 25,700 adolescents (6-19 years old) to potentially determine links to obesity. Significant results indicated that boys are taller, girls had higher body mass index (BMI), and boys have a stronger correlation of neck circumference with hypertension. I found this research intriguing because it is an inexpensive screening tool to determine potential risks for being overweight or obese. This technique could be potentially used in my nursing practice if it was deemed to be statistically significant.  I am intrigued to do further research on this topic because there is a presence of ‘globesity.’  After the research was presented by Ma’am Chona, I was fascinated by the anatomy associated when taking the neck measurements to determine hypertension. Doctor Morales had described the tape measure should be placed below the thyroid cartilage or below laryngeal cartilage (men) as well as factors influencing neck circumference such as thyroid enlargement, tuberculosis, or other disorders that may impact the neck circumference.

July 4th

Happy Fourth of July! I did not see any fireworks today but I found out that Filipinos sure know how to have fun! The final night of the conference consisted of the Stakeholder’s dinner with a celebration following the dinner. At this dinner, partners with the FNRI-DOST were able to express their gratitude for their partnership and spoke about the impact his or her company has made on the Philippines. It made me proud to work for a company who has made great strides in enhancing the nutrition and overall wellbeing of Filipinos. One of the stakeholders shared that their missionary work was enabled by the help of the FNRI and were able to feed countless hungry people. I ended the night singing and dancing with some FNRI staff. I am convincing that just about all Filipinos can sing!

July 5th

Sushi & Singin’ Sir Albert: Slept in for the morning and then went to grab some delicious sushi at Terriaki Boy. Then we met with Czarina about getting time off to go to Palawan which required writing a letter to the boss of NAMD. That took longer than expected so we ended up going to Korean BBQ with some co-workers! I enjoyed the delicious Korean food which was accompanied by K-pop music such as my new favorite artist, BlackPink! Sir Albert had serenaded us when I had asked him to sing. He is so talented!

July 6th

Movin’ to Marikina: The girls and I got up to move to our next barangay and meet our new team. The drive was only an hour but it seems that we have adapted, as researchers do, to sleep anytime, anywhere. After we had met the team they seemed to be a little shy but super sweet. I really enjoyed the accommodation that we are staying in because they have an OFFICIAL BADMINTON COURT! I am looking forward to playing on this court as well as eating the food from yet another family that has offered to cook for us. The family was so sweet and further convinced me of the amazing hospitality the family offered.

June 24-30: Adventure is trying lots of new foods

June 24th

Courtesy Call & Baguio City Tour: Spent the majority of the courtesy call on my phone so I could answer my emails and pay my bills! Went to Baguio City and visited the Art museum called Tam Awan village and I bought a t-shirt with the face of one of Philippine’s greatest treasures who is a 100-year-old tattoo artist who is the last member in her village to use a certain technique. We later went to a botanical garden and I got gipped by the old ladies! It was worth it though. Suddenly it started to rain and people kept insisting I use an umbrella! After we played dance dance revolution in the arcade at the mall some of the girls taught us the Dalagang Filipino challenge while we are strawberry shortcake and J. Co donuts! We ate at Grumpy Joe’s and at some delicious spicy pasta and pizza! Spending time with this team went by really fast and made me realize that time files in the Philippines!

June 25th

Rest Day: We had a late start but we began the day by trying to catch a Taxi to SM and it turns out that we are very bad at it. When we got to the mall I enjoyed my pita bread crabby cake and my winter melon boba Tea. Walked around the mall again which I am getting tired of. Finally got out of the mall and walked to Burnham Park and rented a row boat. It was weird when people kept looking at us and paddling towards us saying, “Welcome to the Philippines! and “Where are you from?” That caused kind of a havoc in our boat because people kept coming close to hitting our boat. However, I wasn’t worried, I would choose row boating over the mall any day. It was wild to realized that it only cost us 130 Pesos ($3) to get back from a 20-minute taxi ride.

June 26th

Early Morning, Courtesy Call, & Beach Day: Left for the next location at 5 AM towards Ilocos Norte with average temperatures reaching the 90s. Marcia and I were assigned to a location 5 minutes from the beach! (God is good) I was about 5-6 hours to Badoc (which is named after a plant) and is a center of worship for Catholics! Today we bought this dessert from this boy driving a trike which was like artificial flavored strawberry (or bubble gum) with powered milk and mini marshmallows sprinkled on top. My first impression of the powered milk was not all that bad (but I still miss the pasteurized milk). Another dessert they eat a lot is sticky rice with sugar. After finally arriving to headquarters my favorite part of the day was going to the beach! I did not imagine that I would be walking through a field of cows to get to the beach! Also, the sand was black (white beaches are more frequent on the east side of Luzon) and I have never experienced water that was so warm! It was like bath water! I had a blissful time!

June 27th

Locating Respondents & Rest Day: This morning Jersy, Jen, Cha, and I walked with the locals to locate the houses. While we were walking I noticed this yard full of small t-pee looking huts which turned out to to belong to our respondent’s. The respondent explained to us that the hut housed roosters for cock fighting! Learning that the man had raised these animals took me by surprise but may have been a reason why he had nicer home. The team had interviewed the respondents in Tagalog so I did my best to understand. Another house that we located we had to walk through a rice field and once we got there I tried a fruit called Camias also known as bilimby. The nice woman who let me try the fruit off her tree said that she liked dipping Camias into salt and vinegar to offset the sour taste. Now let me tell you, this was one of the sourest fruits I had ever tasted and I nearly cried! Even though I didn’t understand the local very well she was kind and happy to meet me. After we had located the respondents, we went back to take a ‘nap.’ At this time, I wish I was at the beach but we instead went downtown in a trike (these things are made for larger people) to pick up some groceries. Marcia and I had tried an empanada which is made of egg and papaya which was masarap (delicious)! The trike ride back was better because I didn’t hit my head this time and then ate the best homemade fried chicken for dinner!

June 28th

The highlight of my day today was spontaneously agreeing to go a respondent’s house to weigh food where we later found out that there was a party being thrown next door. It would be rude to deny the invitation to the party just about the whole barangay was invited to! This party gave another great opportunity to try some new foods! The family had flooded our table with food and I ate pancit, chop suey, veggies, menudo (masarap), heart of banana (it was shredded banana, noodles, and shrimp), fried chicken and meringue for dessert. I also appreciated that they served the beverages in glass bottles which is more expensive but more sustainable than plastic!

June 29th

Blood Pressures, Big Feasts, and Beautiful Beaches:

This morning I had gotten up and helped the team by taking blood pressure for the respondent families that were scheduled. I had learned in nursing school that we are supposed to alternate arms when taking blood pressure because the reading may be falsely too high or too low if measured on the same arm consecutively. Since I had to take the respondent’s blood pressure three times, I had noticed small fluctuations blood pressure. I enjoyed interacting with the families and taking blood pressure for random team members. One of the locals had asked if I had taken his blood pressure and his readings were considered hypertensive.  The nurse had educated the local person in Tagalog about hypertension and harped especially on sodium consumption. Salty and fatty foods (pork & chicken) are eaten regularly are big contributors to hypertension and heart disease in this country. For lunch I was excited to eat like a local (with my hands) and feast on a wide spread of foods! I soon became nervous once I saw the different kinds of fish (catfish scared me) but I eventually build up the courage the foods and everything was delicious! Even the catfish!  Trying to eat with my hands for this meal may have been awkward but it ultimately made me feel closer to Pilipino culture. Some of the researchers relayed this is how they ate with their families. I felt by putting in the effort of trying a basic cultural practice that surround big cultural values of food and family gave me a better understanding of how Filipinos live. We ended the day with taking Mimi and Kate to the beach and getting to the see the Philippine Sea which stirred me heart with excitement and content.  

June 30th

Hard Goodbyes & back to Manila: Had to say goodbye to another great team. It is so easy to connect to the team members because they were a fun-loving group! Spent 10 hours traveling from Illocos Norte on a bus and watched 5 movies! On our travels back we drove through San Fernando City, a popular surfing location, where I hope stop on our next excursion to catch some waves!

June 17-23: Adventure is being content with uncertainty…

Jun. 17th

This morning the girls and I got on our 6AM bus to embark on our 13 day adventure. We made it to the bottom of the mountain range and it only became more beautiful as we went up. I got a glimpse of some rice terraces and what is like to live about the clouds. Today we met Mum Juliet Julia, the sweetest human on the planet, who gave us a tour of Baguio City! We later met some of our teammates and visited a strawberry farm and ate dinner with the team. It didn’t take long for me to realize how lucky I was to be here. The team was very welcoming and it was easy to get along with them. We ate dinner at The Good Taste, where Lyle, one of my teammates, had a plate full of size which made my eyes pop out of my head! Who knew someone could eat so much rice! This family style dinner was a great opportunity for me to try lots of new foods my favorite being pork adobo. This restaurant had about 6 floors and the main floor was their bakery and I ordered for what I thought was a slice of Ube Cake… I accidentally ended up ordering the whole cake! Overall this day has been awesome due to the awesome views and hospitable people.

Strawberry Farm in Baguio City with Sir Lyle, Marcia, Me, Mimi, Ally, Kate, Allen

June 18-19th

Today we got shipped off to our first location in Tublay to work with the researchers! The travel to get there was definitely quite the adventure because it came down to a one lane road, no side rails, and a steep drop. Glad to say we made it safe to headquarter where we met our first research team! At the first respondent’s house, I was able to help out the team by taking blood pressure of the respondents and I listened to one of the team members interview the respondent in the local dialect of Tagalog. We spent the the next day hiking to our respondent’s location for interviews and ended the day watching a breathtaking sunset on the side of a mountain. We slept on tile floor in a municipal hall of Tublay where I was woken up by multiple bugs. Best part of today was trying to reenact a picture my grandfather had taken with a cow when he was my age on the side of a mountain.

Jun. 20th

Going to bed right now but I must stress how great today was. I got up at @5 am so I could go weigh food for this household would was food insecure. Magdalan was one of the nicest people and made me realize what poverty in this country meant in relation to hospitality. I had asked her questions in relation to her food insecurity such as skipping one, or two means a day for consecutive days in the past 3 months because the family did not have the means to pay for it. I nearly cried from her response even though she had nothing she offered everything that she had to make me feel welcome. Generosity, hard work, sacrifice and most importantly hospitality are core values of the Filipino people. After work the team had gotten a doctor’s note from their local health center… Then our favorite major ran a earthquake drill where they had victims taken away in an ambulance and we took a picture after! I went with hope to do another house where they lived in a concrete ‘house’ with four people living there at least! They had a machine shop right outside their house and one of the men was paralyzed from the waist down because he was shot by a drug lord in the T4 while trying to break up a fight. At 2:30 we will get up to go hike Mt. Pulag –wish me luck I will miss the amazing hospitality and generosity of Tublay. Also enjoys talking about public health with Lydia (leecha). There closest hospital was one hour away! Her husband does dialysis … Mcleen “We love you guys” at our farewell meeting one of the townsmen had said something along the lines of, “we won’t kidnap you…” I was like.. get me out!

Marcia and I talked to Lydia about public health in Tublay

 June 21st

So miscommunication… Mt. Pulag is actually being climbed tomorrow @ 1 AM in hopes to see the ‘sea of clouds!’ Our hike should take about 4-5 hours and is about a 4-5 mile hike. It’s 7:30PM so I have 4.5 hours to sleep tonight! I got four hours last night so lets see how this goes! This morning Sir Lyle threw up because our driver must have been from NASCAR. I am not surprised that we didn’t fall of the edge because there were no siderails and you had no idea really when someone was coming around the bend. My favorite part about today was singing country road take me home on the way to the ranger station (I started it no big deal). The ranger had told us about our hike and claimed that the native people keep trying to turn the land into farmland which is ruining the park wildlife. In order to keep the locals happy and prevent them from using more land as farmland the nature conservatory for Mt. Pulag gave them the job as being guides for the Mountain. I am excited for this hike especially because the view right now from our campsite is marvelous. Even though I am a little nervous for the hike, I have been reading my book, NOLs Mountaineering which made me feel a little more mentally prepared. After we ate lunch we played the game 1,2,3, pass which is a fun version of spoons almost. While I was admiring the cloud formations, I was able to speak to all the nutritionist and they are all so sweet and generous people. I love spending time with them and I will miss them so much!

June 22nd Best day and the longest day ever! Got up at 12:30 AM to leave for my hike to the summit of Mt. Pulag. Not sure exactly how far we hiked but the Babadak Trail was challenging enough! Mt. Pulag is the 3rd highest Mountain in the Philippines (not by much) reaching a whooping 2926 MASL. The beginning of the hike was pretty smooth sailing. I was worried about Mimi because this was her first mountain hike! It is quite the amazing feat and I am so proud of her! I felt really proud of myself on the way up because I was holding up quite well. It was pitch black the majority of the hike up so I was so focused on not falling on the jagged trail I didn’t the drop that was right next to me! I was the epitome of the ‘loud American’ because I could help myself from letting out a “Wohoo!” when I finally reached the top of at 4:30AM. The sunrise was perfect. I loved the change of colors and the progression of the fog clearing exposing new parts about the mountains. I really enjoyed the change of ecosystems from the mossy forest to the grass lands. I bet dad would have liked the different ecosystems a lot and the story of how we got up to the top. I thought of Oma when I saw the Adilvice and when I saw the cow right on our path on the way up. I thought of Mom in just about every decision I had made. Mom drilled in my memory street smarts and I noticed a lot of people followed my lead and looked up to me (figuratively & literally) and being in that environment felt right. Being in the woods  just felt right and I really enjoyed every moment of it. I made so many memories  with these people already and I cannot express the never ending generosity and kindness I have felt from the team. Group 1 (og team) took me under their wing and they felt like family. Chan, Sir Lyle, Hope, Rich, Tess, ‘Twin Irene’ Juliet Julia, Chandra were great team members and I look forward to working with them again soon. I will miss that team so much. The researchers are so hardworking for countless days in a row and I do not know how they do it! The day after the hike I had taken so many naps and basically living on fumes while my team was already working on the next site! Whelp I have nearly been up for 24 hours now. It was so nice so see Tess’s family. What a fun filled time with some great people. P.S. I loved the milk tea float at MCD’s. My favorite part of today was the feeling of empowerment and accomplishment of hiking Mt. Pulag and the drive to hike more.

June 23rd

Today we rested. We went to our new team in Benguet today and they were not the same as the OG squad. Pau was very nice and the team was welcoming. Basically spent the day eating and sleeping which was a needed recovery day. While at one of the houses I noticed that one of the researchers did not tare after weighing. This made me realize that there is a margin for error the the researching being conducted. Before we were to the house we went to this karaoke Bar called Francis’s Restobar. I loved their Pork Sisig and Chicarones (fried pork). I really like Calamansi because it tastes like lemon and it grows fresh here. After we went to the house we though we were going on a ‘short walk’ but ended up going up a 40 degree uphill! After Mt. Pulag, any uphill battle looked easy. It has been an overall relaxing day.

June 11-16th: Adventure is being brave and afraid at the exact same time…

This was taken flying over the Bering Sea

June 11th: The first day in the Philippines we travelled to Los Baños from Metro Manila and a few things stuck out to me… What scared me the most (still scares me) is the driving in the Philippines. I feared for my life because cars drove so close together I thought we were going to crash! Common forms of transportation of the Philippines include jeepneys, trikes, and by foot. On another note, I was shocked by the hot and humid climate and the poverty in the area. We made it safely through the Makilling Rainforest to Los Baños.

Trike in Metro Manila

June 12th: Since I was very much jet lagged we were able to get up early and explore the University of the Philippines Los Banos. It was cool to observe the Independence Day activities and it was weird to see everyone up at 7 AM when I thought I was up early… we learned about the history of the Philippines in their native language of Tagalog, my favorite word being ‘beshies’ (best friend). I got to try some of their local foods. With rice accompanying almost every meal, I tried pork, tilapia (with the head), part of a chili pepper (bad decision), and halo halo for dessert.

June 13th: Today we had orientation for FNRI-NAMD which was pretty long because the campus is huge! I enjoyed learning a little bit from Tita Ana on how the Knowledge diffusion division uses plastic food visuals to teach the people portion sizes. I found the FNRI’s diet teaching plan simple but effective and hope to implement it into my practice as a nurse. All of the people were very welcoming which made me excited to spend time in the office however, I will not be spending a lot of time in the office. Majority of my time will be spent doing fieldwork collecting data in the Provinces of Benguet, Locos Norte, and Marikina in the Philippines. After a tour of the FNRI, Tita was nice enough to take us to SM Mall where we ate at Mang Inasal. I really enjoyed eating sisig ( pork, rice, fried tofu) where you could get Unlimited Rice!

June 14th: today was the penny me of culture shock one part about Filipino culture but stuck out to me was that their non-confrontational. Today at work I was really frustrated because the interns kept getting moved around the building and communication was indirect. In the mitts of my frustration I realize that I had to keep an open mind and go with the flow.

June 15-16: Even google maps doesn’t help… The FNRI interns had gotten lost trying to get to our condo which was hard but it was all worth it because where we are staying is beautiful. We spent majority of the weekend at the SM mall and preparing for our 13-day trip to Benguet. I am so excited to learn how to be a field work researcher and maybe get to some cooler climate… See you soon! (When I have service maybe

This is why studying abroad is rewarding

Welcome! Come learn about my health and nutrition research in the Philippines!

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

William Shakespeare

June 5: Preparing for the Philippines

Excitement is filling my heart as I pack for my internship to the Philippines (at this point half my closet is coming with me). Wish me luck in my pursuit to pack simply! I am mentally preparing myself for the heat because as of right now it is a ‘chilly’ 96 degrees in Manila! All I know is that am looking forward to the opportunities and all of what Filipino culture has to offer!