Weekend in La Union 7.21-7.23
La Union is the province around 7 hours north of Parañaque, where our condo is. It is known for surfing. On Friday morning we decided to head to a nearby bus terminal to figure out how to get to La Union. We knew we would have to take multiple busses, but we were unable to plan which busses to take in advance. Lukas, Hunter, Kennedy and I figured out the first bus, but when we got dropped off at the next bus terminal we couldn’t figure out how long we would have to wait for the bus we needed to get on next. We decided to just take a private van to La Union, this was a much faster option but it did cost a bit more than the buses would have. We made it to our hostel which had no air conditioning and one singular fan, we also slept with mosquito nets because there were no windows. We dropped our things off at the hostel and got ready for dinner because we were all super hungry. We tried a top rated restaurant in the area, which didn’t live up to its expectations; however, it was located on the beach so the view did make up for it. On Saturday morning, we woke up around 7am to go to surf! We first made a stop at the nearby 7-eleven for sunscreen. Sunscreen is expensive here and it’s hard to find any skin care products without skin whitening in it. Before surfing we ate a late breakfast. We went up to a tent on the beach that said surfing lessons and took an hour surfing lesson. It was my first time and I was a little nervous, but my instructor was so helpful and cheered me on even when I fell. The back of my legs and lower back got super sunburnt unfortunately, but no worries I brought aloe! I surprisingly liked surfing even though I wasn’t the best at it, I still had a lot of fun. After surfing we went to get something to drink before heading back to the hostel for showers. Later we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant and randomly got a free ride back to our hostel because it was raining. On Sunday, we checked out of the hostel and went to make pottery! We took a trike to get to the pottery lesson and the driver and I exchanged numbers so he could pick us up later and drive us to the bus terminal. I had never used a potters wheel to make anything with clay so I was super excited, it was really hard to come up with ideas especially because I was a bit limited with my skills. Since it was our last day in La Union, we couldn’t leave our pieces to get fired in the kiln so we are just going to have to let them air dry and hope they make it back to the US safety! After pottery, we found a restaurant called Casa Margarita. You might be thinking it’s Mexican restaurant. We did too and were really disappointed to find out it was just Filipino food, but we made still ate an early dinner there and figured out which bus we would try to get on to go home. I contacted the same trike driver and he picked us up and dropped us off at the bus terminal. We talked with a few of the workers and waited about 30 minutes before we were informed that all the buses heading south were full. We only had one option, take a shared van to a bus terminal near Parañaque. We all squeezed in the van for a 7 hour ride back home. Earlier in the day we were informed that we had the following day off because of the typhoon that was coming. Typhoon Egay is now classified as a super typhoon, but I haven’t really seen much of its effects because it has hit harder more north and toward the coast. There has been some very hard rain and it has been much more humid out, but thankfully everything is okay.
7.24 Today we had the day off because the DOST office was closed due to the typhoon. I was able to sleep in a little and unpack my backpack from the weekend. Later in the day we went to see the Barbie movie! Today was a much needed relaxed day.
7.25 Today we reported to the office, we only have three more days left of our internship. We spent the day with another division within NAMD (nutrition assessment monitoring division), Nutrition Statistics and Informatics Section (NSIS). This division has a statistics unit and informatics unit. The statics unit is “responsible for the data management of the NNS (national nutrition survey) data; develops statistical methodologies and designs for nutrition survey and special studies conducted by the division; and conducts statistical and collaborative studies related to nutrition”. The informatics unit has “developed information systems for the conduct of nutrition surveys; manages all data generated from the nutrition surveys and provides saftey nets toward its sustainability and maximum utilization; and provides nutrition survey/assessment tools and services through latest information and communication technologies.” The eDCS is the information system that anthropometry, dietary, and biomedical researchers use to input data. After lunch we were taught how to use stata software which is a statistical software. We tried to use state to recreate results from the NNS (national nutrition survey) by using data sets found on the FNRI enutrition website.
7.26 Today we worked from home to create and complete our presentations. On our last day we will present an overview of our internship and time in the Philippines. This presentation included learnings, challenges, skills developed, and pictures from our three deployments as well as reports on our time in the office and at the seminar series. To conclude my presentation I included my overall internship experience and general recommendations for the future. Overall, this has truly been an amazing experience and I have had a wonderful time in the Philippines. I am so thankful that I was able to travel throughout the Philippines with this internship and meet so many new people. Not only was I able to learn about the National Nutrition Survey and all of the components that go into it, but I was also able to meet locals who changed my outlook on life. I am very grateful for all the FNRI staff that took us in and treated us like family, it made my time in the Philippines so special. I have learned what it’s like to be a nutritionist/dietitians in the field and along the way have learned a lot more about living a happy and rewarding life. Each of the sub teams got along so well because they avoided conflicts and helped each other out. The US has a much more fast paced way of life. Spending my summer in the Philippines has been very beneficial to how I view life; being kind is always possible and goes along way, do what you truly enjoy and what makes you happy, take each day as it comes, and take lots of pictures!
7.27 Today was our final day in at FNRI. We took our last walk to FNRI, surprisingly not as hot as it typically is because it is still windy from the typhoon. All six IWU interns at FNRI gave presentations about their internship experience and overall time in the Philippines. I was really nervous to give my presentation, but it went okay and I am glad it’s over. We at KFC together for lunch, got certificates of completion, and received our impressions and final remarks from our supervisors at NAMD. After lunch Lukas, Kennedy, and I headed back to the NAMD office to say our final goodbyes to everyone. It was so bittersweet especially because it really doesn’t feel like I have been here for two months already. Sir Boy made sure to give us coffee and snacks before we left and Ate Steph, our internship coordinator gave us all a little gift before we left. Of course we took a few pictures with the NAMD staff before we went back to our condo. Hunter, Lukas, Kennedy, and I are planning on going out for one final dinner together because Kennedy is leaving on Saturday and the rest of us are planning on going to Batangas for a few days before we go home. Our flight is at 6 pm on Tuesday. In between now and then besides our weekend in Batangas, I have to figure out what I am leaving behind, packing my bags, and cleaning the condo. I can’t believe my time in the Philippines is coming to an end. I am excited to go home, but also sad to be leaving. I truly have had an amazing summer in the Philippines. To celebrate the end of our internship we went back to Yingying Teahouse, a Chinese restaurant we went to earlier in our trip.
Final Weekend plans — We had four days between the end of our internship and our flight home. Hunter, Lukas, and I decided to spend our last weekend going to Batangas. Batangas is known for scuba diving and is only a few hours south of Manila. On Friday we took a grab to the bus terminal in Manila and got on a charter bus headed for Batangas. We had nothing planned. We didn’t have a hostel booked or know where we would be able to scuba dive without being certified. On the bus ride, I was looking up hostels to see where we could stay. My phone battery was slowly dying and none of the hostels I was looking at had websites or working phone numbers. I had to use facebook messenger to contacts four different hostels to see if there was room for us to stay the entire weekend. Luckily one place responded, I told them we were on the way and my phone died. Collectively we only had one phone with phone battery. When we arrived at the Batangas bus terminal we figured out that we were 45 minutes away from the hostel in Mabini. By this time it was 9pm and we were trying to figure out how to get there. Thankfully some trike drivers came up to us asking where we needed to go and one of them was able to drive us all the way there. After we got off the trike, we had to search for the hostel. We went through peoples backyards and finally made it. The hostel workers I had been messaging had stayed up waiting for us to arrive! The three of us were really hungry so we looked up food nearby, there was Italian restaurant a short walk away still open so we walked there. During our walk, we realized that the town we were in wasn’t very touristy and didn’t have much going on. When we arrived at the restaurant, it wasn’t open so we walked back to the hostel feeling defeated. In the morning, we got breakfast at the hostel. I got Bangsilog, which consists of bangus (milkfish), garlic fried rice, and 2 over-easy eggs. Silog is a typical breakfast dish in the Philippines with some sort of meat, rice, and eggs. At breakfast we asked a few of the workers about scuba diving, one of them told us her father in law does scuba lessons and we could go tomorrow. For lunch we went back to the Italian restaurant, this time it was open and we stayed there for a few hours. The hostel was located right on the water and rented out fins and goggles to snorkel/free dive. Between lunch and dinner we went in the water and I talked with the hostel workers about how we ended up at their hostel. We went to a resort for dinner, it was one of the only places open around us. After dinner we had to ask on of the workers to drive us (in his trike) to the nearest ATM. Everywhere in this town was cash only so we were running very low on cash. He drove us 20 minutes north to the ATM and drove us back to our hostel. The next day we woke up and got breakfast at another resort before scuba diving. A trike picked us up at the hostel and drove us 20 minutes south to the very tip of Mabini. When we arrived we put wetsuits on and all of the gear. I was very nervous, but the instructors taught us the basics before we went in the water. I spent about 30-40 minutes scuba diving before I decided to go back in. It was a lot of fun and I was able to see a lot of fish! After scuba diving, we took a nap and went to a nearby hostel for dinner. The next morning, Hunter and I went back to the ATM for cash to pay for the hostel. It was our last full day in the Philippines and we were headed back to Manila. We took out just enough cash to pay for the hostel, but when we got back to the hostel they gave us a bill for 3,000 pesos over what we anticipated. Luckily I asked if this was a mistake and it was! After we checked out, we took a trike to the jeepney terminal. A jeepney is a form of public transportation. It is like a long car with an open back for passengers to hop in and out. We got in a jeepney headed toward the bus terminal. By this point I was running so low on pesos that I had to pay in all coins for the jeepney. To get off the jeepney you just say ‘para po’ which means this is my stop and the driver pulls over. To pay your fare, you pass your money to the next passenger until it reaches the driver, along the way you say say ‘bayad po’ meaning here is my fare (it sounds like buy it so it was easy for me to remember). Before getting to the bus terminal we went to McDonalds for a quick meal. Of course we had to get one last coke float and bff fry. We took a charter bus back to Manila, but realized the bus terminal was farther than where we lived so we asked to get off early. At this point it was around 8pm and we were hungry so we found a nearby Japanese restaurant. After dinner we took a grab back to our condo. I packed up most of my things and headed to bed for the last time in the Philippines. In the morning I finished packing and the three of us headed to FNRI to collect our certificates of completion. When we returned from FNRI it was almost time to leave for the airport so I turned in my keys to the tenant. My dads friend, Jo came to pick us up and drive us to the airport. There was so much traffic, but we made it to the airport and through security with an hour to spare. This is the end of