Weeks 1 and 2 – Getting Oriented and First Excursion

It has been quite an adventure so far. 

We had a 31 hour trip from O’Hare to Manila. A 13 hour flight from O’hare to Doha Airport, a 9 hour layover, and an 8 hour flight from Doha to Manila. During the layover, I explored the airport and it was very pretty. 

Once in Manila, we met with Tito Mon and ate dinner. If you don’t know I have a gluten allergy. I was very scared of finding gluten free food but it turned out to not be a big deal. Most restaurants serve rice, vegetables, and meat. The term “gluten-free” is not well known but a lot of food are naturally gluten free so I just eat that. Most times I eat rice and some meat like chicken, beef, or pork. 

We had our orientation at the University of the Philippines – Los Banos for two days. After our flight we arrived at 10pm and started at 10am. We had a crash course on filipino culture, and Tagalog. On our last day at orientation, we had dinner and everyone started to leave. First, the interns at Cabrini left, then the interns at IRRI left. The interns at FNRI (us) left last. 

We live at Siena Park residences, a fancy condo with a swimming pool. We went out to buy groceries and a wifi box. After that we were settled and rested for a bit. 

Our first few days of work were a bit of an adjustment, to say the least, but we got through it. We had two full days of work from 8-5 then on our third day we left early at 12. The day after we had our first excursion, we left at 10 pm and arrived at Candon, Ilocus Sur, at 6 am. 

We had a great first day touring the town. The second day, we shadowed medical technologists while they conducted surveys on some households in underprivileged communities. We also learned how to take blood pressure and take measurements. It was very interesting to see and learn about. I can’t wait to do this in the field. Today, we toured Vigan, Ilocus Sur. It had a lot of Spanish style buildings presumably due to Spanish colonialism in the past. 

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