Week 4.

6.26 Returning From Marinduque

Today we traveled from Marinduque back to Manila. We waited until 3pm to leave, hoping to catch the 5pm ferry. We went into town one last time to get some dinner, we decided on pizza… rookie mistake. We were so hungry that we ended up finishing the pizza, but it was one of the grossest things ever. Lesson learned, pizza is different in the provinces. Finding a ride to the port took a lot longer than expected and it was pouring rain, so we missed our original ferry. Luckily the next ferry was leaving at 7pm, so we kept ourselves occupied by playing heads-up. Our travels back to Manila were shorter than expected because there was hardly any traffic, we got back at 1am.

6.27 Rest Day 1

Since we got back so late, we were given a rest day. We spent the day in Makati. We got brunch and finally sang karaoke. 

6.28 Rest Day 2

Today we had another day off! We all slept in for a little bit and took the day to relax in preparation for our next deployment. We spent a few hours doing laundry. This was our second time going to the same laundromat and the owner remembered all of our names! When we were doing laundry it started raining super hard and I kept getting splashed by cars while on the trike back. We met Tito Mon at Siena Park because he had a quick meeting with some other IWU interns. It was so nice to see him again! We ate dinner with Ate Steph, our onsite internship coordinator and Ate Francis, a team leader who will be traveling with us tomorrow. At dinner we discussed our travel plans and signed the necessary paperwork prior to our deployment. We ate at a Japanese restaurant which didn’t have many vegetarian options, so I tried a California roll for the first time which was very good. When we returned from dinner, I packed my bags for our upcoming travel and went to sleep as early as possible.

Pangasinan with team 4


At the bus station
Everyone wanted pictures with us

Today I woke up at 4:30am to start travel to Pangasinan. We took a charter bus all the way to Pangasinan with Ate Francis. We met a few of the people apart of team 4 to travel to our first barangay, Tobor. When we first arrived, we met all of the local officials and introduced ourselves to the subteam and the local officials. We immediately took lots of pictures, I felt like I was famous, but it was also a little overwhelming the entire time we stayed there because I was constantly being asked to take pictures. The people in Tobor were super welcoming and friendly, they immediately felt like family and I loved being there. The local officials prepared dinner for everyone and we all ate together and got to know each other. During dinner it was raining, we were eating outside under a canopy and water was leaking through- it was really not a problem at all, but a local came with an umbrella to hold over my head and wouldn’t leave until I was finished with my food. Our living arrangement while in Tobor was very nice. Lukas, Kennady, and I got our own room with AC, a bathroom with water that ran at all hours of the day, and there were men that stayed outside all night as security.


Today we transferred to be with another subteam for the day. First we completed a courtesy call for the Mayor of Malasiqui, Pangasinan. Similar to the other courtesy calls we completed, we all introduced ourselves and the team leader explained the purpose of the data collection taking place. Since the subteam in Tobor was locating houses, we went with another subteam in Pangasinan to experience a courtesy exit. Lukas, Kennady, and I then met with another subteam where we met a city council official to complete the courtesy exit in Santa Cruz, Pangasinan. Next were taken to a livestock slaughter house, where the subteam was stationed for data collection. We observed the final data collection and editing, except there was an added bonus- listening to pigs dying… just kidding this was actually a super upsetting day for me. I really had no appetite for the rest of the day. The councilwoman later invited all of us to get a snack with her and her son. She even paid for us to stay in a hotel for the night! We happily accepted the offer, we were able to swim at night, sleep in a bed, and shower with running water. This made my day a little bit better. Lukas and Kennady tried some street food, which I didn’t participate in because it was all chicken and pig and I am vegetarian. After we swam we observed how the team leader completed data consolidation, since her team was transferring to another barangay the following day. Field researchers do not work set hours, it really depends on what needs to be done each day- so when we are in the field we work strange hours, but are able to have breaks throughout the day.

Example of how we traveled from place to place with all of our belongings. It was very tight in the van!


Tools used for 24hr food recall, to help respondents provide accurate servings/amounts

Today we traveled back to Tobor, where we were originally. Tobor is very rural, so the ride from Santa Cruz to Tobor was long and bumpy. I got super motion sick, but luckily when we got to the barangay, a local official gifted me with katinko oil to put on my wrists so I wouldn’t feel nauseous. The katinko oil has come in handy many times since and it can be used for other things such as bug bites! For field work today, as a group we went to one house and watch and perform interviews. The three of us along with the team leader, a local official, and two researchers walked to a household with 6 family members. This subteam had a slightly different way to complete their interviews, but it seemed a lot more efficient. All of the demographic interviews and 24 hr food recalls were completed for each of the family members. These interviews take a long time so we all took turns interviewing the respondents. We tried crickets that the family had… very interesting! When we finished with this household, it was about to rain so we just headed back to the barangay hall. Lukas and Kennady tried balut from someone on the street. Balut is a fertilized developing egg embryo.


We spent the morning observing the biomedical component. This was really interesting because it was the first time things were really explained to us. As a nursing major, I enjoyed this part, the biomedical research taught us how to take blood two different ways. Next we went to three different households to complete the demographic interviews and 24 hr food recalls. Again we went to these households as a group, and it seemed very efficient. At one of the households, we completed a mental health interview. This was the first time we actually completed this interview; it was very thorough, and the women I interviewed didn’t speak very good English, so Sir Erwin (the team leader) helped translate. When we finished our work for the day, a local invited us to see his garden and gifted us with pineapple! When we returned to the barangay hall, the power went out for a few hours because of how hard it had rained. To pass time a few of the researchers and I ate pomelo fruit with suka (vinegar with garlic and hot peppers).

Observing the biomedical component. Blood draw and urine sample collection.
Taking blood pressure
Pomelo fruit
Harvesting pineapple


On our fourth and final day, we woke up very early to complete the morning food weighing for three households. All the condiments are weighed in the morning and at night to see how much is used throughout the day. At each of the households, we took the respondents’ second day blood pressure. This consisted of taking three consecutive blood pressures, waiting two minutes in between each. We went back to two households for food weighing before they prepared lunch, neither of them had any plate waste so we were able to head back to the barangay hall for lunch. One of the households gifted us with pancit which was so good. Pancit is a traditional Filipino noodle dish with mixed veggies and meat. After lunch, we had time to interact with the locals. I took my first motorbike ride and played volleyball with local kids. At night, the local officials prepared food for a boodle fight! A boodle fight is big feast where people gather around a table covered in banana leaves. What is on the leaves depends on how it is prepared, our feast had rice and an assortment of food like vegetables, fish, tofu, spring rolls, and salted eggs. When you eat off banana leaves, you are supposed to eat all the food in front of you. We took lots of pictures and ate so much food. We spent our last night dancing with locals for a few hours, they taught us some common dances and it was so much fun.


Today we traveled back to Manila. We woke up and packed our things. As soon as we left our room all of the local officials took pictures with us for nearly an hour straight. They were all so sad that we were leaving and some even started crying. They told us not to forget them, but I don’t think I will ever forget such a wonderful group of women. All of the people I met in Tobor were extremely generous and inspirational. We said our goodbyes to the subteam and took a charter bus back to Manila. When we got back we unpacked our bags and went to the SM to get clothes in preparation for a two day seminar.

7.5 & 7.6 The 49th DOST-FNRI Seminar Series: Innovative, Accessible, and Affordable Diet for All: Products of R&D and S&T Services

During the two day seminar series we heard from multiple presenters and learned about research conducted and new technologies developed within the last year. We learned so much from all the presenters and poster board presentations. There was a wide variety of information covered throughout the two days. There was a technical sessions about Combatting malnutrition and increasing immunity against infection; Iron Symposium; Paving roads towards better health for women and children; Improving Methods to Assess Health and Nutrition; Advancing food safety, food quality strategies, and innovative technologies to reduce malnutrition and foodborne illnesses; Development of Amino Acid Method for Generation of Philippine Food Composition Data; What’s in Your Food; Development and Innovation on Functional Food Products for Improved Health and Nutrition; Tools to develop a healthy and affordable diet; Healthy Diet; A Guide to a Healthier You Symposium. I found it especially interesting that information from the ENNS (Expanded National Nutrition Survey) was used for the basis of much of the research presented during this seminar. We received a USB drive with a collection of all the abstracts from the two day seminar series, this is a useful guide to go back to and look at especially if I missed something. On the second day of the seminar series I won a raffle, but it was all canned meat- so I gave it to someone else sitting at our table. After the seminar was over we headed to the SM Mall of Asia for the first time, it had so many stores and I hope to go back before we leave.

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