Week 3 – Surveying and Traveling

This week, we went on several rural excursions.

We first went to San Jose where we got settled and basically toured the city. After that, we had our first actual deployment to Danuman West, Santa Maria. At every location, we stay at a “Barangay Hall”. A “Barangay” is the most minor administrative division in the Phillippines typically overlooking a village. The hall always has a basketball court with a large roof covering it, if that makes sense. We shadowed researchers and medical technicians as they interviewed locals to assess food insecurity. The survey they used was the “Expanded National Nutrition Survey”. It consists of several sections assessing the food people eat, and their living conditions.

Our next stop was Biao, Santa Maria, a few minutes away. Over here we didn’t have good data, we only got somewhat good data near the beach, but not near where we stayed. It was a good experience though. We had so much fun with our coworkers and the locals. Immersing myself in their living style and culture was transformative. Living without wifi was not bad at all because there was always something to do. We did the same surveys, and also took measurements of people like their height and weight. Our adventures were fun, there are so many stray animals like dogs and cats. I love cats a lot and playing with stray cats is fun. We went to the top of a beautiful waterfall where we could see the river below.

Caburao, Santiago was our next stop. We did the same tasks such as surveying and taking measurements. Of course, meeting locals was the highlight of my trip. However, a notable second was that I found a purple dragonfruit. It was exhilarating. I only see white dragonfruits in the US. It was super pretty.

I am currently in Cabugbugan, Tagudin. Yesterday, to get to the Barangay we had to cross a river using a boat made of bamboo. That was an experience. Our surveying and measuring were the same. I enjoyed talking with the locals again. Some of them are super interesting. Notably, two of them had family members working in Qatar which I thought was cool.

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