A Usual Week in the Philippines

This past week in the Philippines I relaxed from all my activities the previous weeks. On Monday nobody was around so I just napped and got some food after work. I had dnd Monday as away which was my favorite session yet. I had read up on my characters attacks a lot and it paid off because we got into a big fight where I was able to protect my team and kill the enemies without taking a lot of damage. At work I started my next media article along with my infographic which takes up my time. I also have been spending time at work catching up on my blogs and schoolwork. Tuesday Abi, Lukas and Kennady got back into town and I met them after work at a restaurant and then we went and sung karaoke! We had Wednesday off for a holiday so I was able to sleep in! We then went and did our laundry and I got a burger from the place we went last time we did laundry. Tito Mon came up to Manila to help me out with the getting locked out of the apartment situation and gave me a key which is great and fixes everything! I road a trike in the pouring rain and lightning and it was pretty wet but fun 🙂 . I hung out at the clubhousing looking on my phone for awhile and then met back up with Kennady, Abi and Lukas and we watched a movie and hung out. They had to leave in the morning again so it was an early night and I got to talk to my friends from highschool on the phone which was really fun! Faith and Sam invited me back to their place that weekend for Sam’s birthday so I got a grab down to Santo Tomas which took forever in the traffic. We went to a chicken place and they had the most elaborate birthday celebration for Sam! We then went home and talked for a while and got starbucks in the morning! The Starbucks is really good here I don’t know why, but Kennady graciously bought me some earlier in the week and I got Faith’s order when we all went Saturday. We were originally going to go to the beach but we couldn’t so we decided to see what the Irri also from Wesleyan people were up to. We got a Grab over there and went to dinner at a Korean place that had a really yummy latte. We then went to a dance place after and had a great time! The owner showed me and Sam a place we could stay overnight and it was nice and cheap. I took a nice hot shower and watched a movie on Netflix! On Sunday we went back to the mall and got breakfast. We then went back home and planned our trips to Palawan and Japan and ordered lunch before I went home. I was snoozing on the ride home and went right to bed when I got there. I ate some leftovers and went to bed early in preparation for my work day Monday. A basic good week!

– Hunter

The Best Week

This week was great! My dnd session on Monday was a ton of fun and we’re on a total cliffhanger to the monster we’re going to fight in the caves. I took a trike this weekend and it was great! It was Fast and efficient! I also had a great burger and found out the ice tea here is great because they put pineapple and orange juice in it. There are a couple kitties that hang outside the burger place. I fed them both some burger and the one loves all the scratches I have her. Apartment is still flooding :/ . Sam, Faith and I booked tickets for Japan July 15th through 18th! I can’t wait to try the food, see the city lit up and take a bullet train down to Kyoto! I also want to see a bunch of Buddhist and Shinto temples and go to the Pokemon center. I’m sure also that Faith and Sam will have fun stuff they’ll want to do. I bought a cute pig stuffed animal who’s in a little bee hoodie!!! ahhh!! On Tuesday we took a work trip to La Union in the north. The drive was something like 5 hours but I had my book, my tunes and lunch. Kuya Reden our driver was great! He gave me snacks and we hung out at night, along with Sir Julius and Sir Joseph who worked in La Union. They were all really funny and very sarcastic. We swam in the pool and hung out on the balcony of the great place we stayed watching the beautiful sunsets. I tried Tupig which was pretty good! I also got fried shrimp at lunch and wantons which were delicious. On the side of the road I spied a statue of a Clash of Clans Valkyrie and I had to take a picture next to it! At some of their churches here they have a bunch of statues out front who I assume are some Apostles or Saints but they carry some pretty gnarling axes and flails along with swords. We went to eat breakfast and there was a hungry cat who’d jump up on you 🙂 . I fed him food. The next day was a work day and I observed a presentation Ate Josie gave about food insecurity and food preparation along with guest speakers talking about breastfeeding. During the second day I was able to play basketball 2 on 2 with some highschoolers which was really small. I was nailing some 3s all over them and going crazy so they just scored on my tiny teammate instead of having my guard them. The room the first night was really hot but the days after that they brought in air conditioners. The guys liked to take selfies with me and I got some with them too. The mountains were beautiful. When we got back to Manila I took a bus to Santo Tomas in Batangas to go see Sam and Faith. When I had already purchased a ticket for the bus, I asked a guy by me in line if I could go grab some food and he said the bus probably wouldn’t be there for a bit. When I came back not too long after though the line was way shorter so a bus left so I don’t know if that guy tricked me or the bus just came early. I just caught the next bus not too long after. My Grab was also telling me how you could bribe the cops out of a speeding ticket for only 100 pesos or 2 bucks. Sam and Faith met me at the mall and took me to a really cool bar and grill. We took a jeepney which was cool, cheap and convenient. There were two guys at the restaurant doing a drinking challenge up on the stage where they puked everywhere but we got a tshirt and a mug out of it! Saturday we slept in and got some breakfast. We have really great conversations just about everything! We then got a bus to Tagaytay where you can see an active volcano and the views are great. We road a ferris wheel and took some pictures and got a great dinner at a steakhouse! It was around 9pm after all this and we then discovered that the buses and the taxis had stopped running outside of Tagaytay :O ! So we asked a security guard to help us out and he found a trike that looked a lot like a tuk tuk to drive us back to Santo Tomas. It felt pretty scetchy at first but the drivers were chill and they got us there really fast! We gave them a big tip and they were really happy about it. Sunday we got a late breakfast and went to the mall. We got massages, looked around at stores and got Korean Barbeque. It was my first time going to Korean Barbeque and it was cool cooking the food and all the stuff you got to mix it with. We ate a lot of meat. I then got a Grab back home which was a whole lot easier than the bus. When I got home the door was locked as it often is and nobody was opening the door. I just climbed in the window as I so often have to do and didn’t think about it much. Good week.

– Hunter

Settling into the Philippines

Back to work this week and time to start working on my media article about food insecurity in the Philippines. The arms on my office chair are really hard and hurting my elbows and forearms which I am not too thrilled about. I’ve got my own computer with a monitor, which helps me do my work a whole lot easier with a keyboard and big screen. I downloaded League of Legends and have been getting some games in on my breaks 🙂 . For breakfast each morning I normally get a ham, egg and cheese sandwich but I’ve had the rice and sweat sausages with an over easy egg. It’s great and it helps me start my day happy! I bet anything would make me happy because I’m drenched every morning from the walk. I’ve started wearing shorts and a t-shirt and then changing into my work clothes when I get to work. I do have a fan at my desk which I quite enjoy! There is not very much work to complete so I find myself having a lot of time to look online and at my phone. I hung out most of the nights with Lukas, Kennady and Abi. On Friday Sam and Faith took a bus up from San Tomas (about an hour south) and we went back to the Gatsby restaurant. The food and music was great again and I loved getting to know Sam and Faith more! We talked about maybe all going to Japan with our 4 day weekend. Lukas and them don’t have many days off. Their job seems cool but I prefer all the free time I have! This week I discovered the wonders of Grab doordash. All the restaurants here take a long time to make your food and I have to walk to the SM to get everything. The beauty of Grab is that for only a buck delivery cost you can sit in the pool and order all your food right to you! It’s cheap and still hot so there’s really no reason for me to go out and get food by myself when its so convenient. They even do groceries so if I want some chocolate milk or a Gatorade I just order it up and some dude drops it off on a motorcycle. I’ve been playing Dnd with my friends back in the states and I’m loving it. I’ve always wanted to play but just never found the people. I play a giant tree ogre named Argor the Banisher and I spent a lot of my free work time reading the rule book and getting to know everything inside out! We had this combat session with the updated system and I totally carried it. I didn’t take nearly any damage and I was helping out my teammates too. Not to mention dropping some earth splitting demon cutters on our enemies! I can’t wait until next session! I drew up a whole google doc of stuff about my character. I slept at the pool because nobody answered the door to my apartment and everybody thought I was missing. It’s turning into this huge thing :/ . On Saturday Faith, Sam and I spent the morning at the mall getting food and looking around. I got this super cute stuffed animal and it makes me happy:) ! We then spent the afternoon in the pool and talk about everything! I love it! Sunday morning Sam and me went to breakfast which was great. I need to order from there again. Maybe I will tonight? I’m getting used to everything here and I’m happy I can still get some American food and have some great friends!


My First Week in the Philippines

I’ve spelled Philippines so much I almost always spell it right now! So, the flight was long and uncomfortable and I forgot my book, but I succeeded in filling my head with Lana Del Rey for a week. I also made friends with a guy from India who was sitting next to me. He said I looked like I was 16 which I thought was funny. Abu Dhabi was dry and hot but our hotel was really nice and I got a banana shake out on the pool. I then fell asleep for a few hours and I combed through the international channels. There were so many depicting prayer at a place called Mecca which I never heard of which is sacred to the Muslim faith. It was about 9pm and we still had 5 hours until our flight so me and Lukas ate pizza and got coffee up at the rooftop bar where Julia and Faith joined us. We sat out and enjoyed the comfy night air until it was time to leave. I forgot my extra pizza in the taxi 🙁 At the Airport Kennady bought me a cute pen with a little Abu Dhabi guy on top of it because it had just turned my birthday. I’m now 22 and I’m a little bummed we weren’t able to all go out on my birthday to travel 🙁 The flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila was much more comfortable with more leg space, but they didn’t serve food until more than 6 hours into the flight so I was FAMISHED. A bright side of that flight was I got to watch American Sniper which was amazing and I made friends with the little girl next to me. She was 4 and we played games where we tried to make each other laugh with funny faces and she asked me to call like a rooster while she pretended to get woken up. That made my birthday. When we got into Manila we had to wait in the airport forever for some other people and I was so groggy. We got dinner at Denny’s where I had some big pancakes and the Gatorade flavors were different. It was my first massage at a place. Everything is so cheap compared to the states! My pancakes were only like 5 buck. Kennady and Faith got a massage and I was jealous so I went and got a short 15 minute one which was great. We then drove to Los Banos with Tito Mon who is great. The driving is all over the place here and there are a lot of dogs and cats all around. They look pretty skinny. I feel bad for them I wish they could get all there shots and have food but still be free. I was going to say like us, but a lot of people here live a lower quality of life compared to the US. I want the same for them, healthy and happy lives. I fell asleep as soon as we got to Los Banos. We stayed at the University of the Philippines Los Banos for 2 days. I stayed in a room with Lukas and Sam who I both like a lot! The next day had a meeting where learned some Tagalog and then went out to eat and got a bunch of traditional Filipino dishes. Hannah told me about all these different kinds of bananas and I’m excited to try them. We also sung a random guy happy birthday. He was pretty happy about it but they didn’t offer us any cake? Lame-o. The next day we went to FNRI and our apartments. I got a queen bed to myself which is sick! (but I later learned my air conditioner and shower didn’t work, along with my room flooding when the shower is turned on 🙂 ) FNRI was cool. I learned that I’ll be writing research articles and doing social media which I look forward too! They brought us some good fried chicken and I was so thirsty I drank a pepsi. Lukas, Abi, Kennady sat around playing games which was fun! After work they walked us back to our apartment the way we will walk everyday. It was hot and I was drenched by the time we got back. That night we also went to the SM, which is the mall and picked up some stuff and had dinner. I’m not used to working with people with food restrictions so it was hard to find a place. I think they should just eat it. The next few days passed and I went to work and got my first media assignment of food insecurity. It’s not too charming but the research FNRI is doing to prevent this problem is great I really love their mission and am happy to be a part of it! I’ve been hanging out with Lukas, Abi and Kennady and we all went down and jumped in the pool spur of the moment. Little did we know it was closed and the guard told us to get out :(. On further attempts to enter the pool we were also rebuffed given that we aren’t staying here for more than 6 months. I thought this was pretty ridiculous and went and talked to the nice girl at the office who told me the same thing, but when she pulled up my file it said I was all good to swim, so yay! Our shower only has cold water :/ On Friday my department at work had a training and teambuilding day which was really fun. I got to really meet all my coworkers and experience a Filipino workspace! It’s so personable and fun! They all tell jokes and I tell jokes and we laugh and talk the whole time. They asked me if I’m single or not… I get asked that a lot here… We did teambuilding competitions, so I joined a random team with people about my age and we made a fight song and played games like telephone and trying to get the oreo from your forehead to you mouth. I was one of only 3 people who did it! The game was then tied and each team chose a champion. I got chosen and had to compete in a sing and dance off against a girl. She had all these Tik Tok dances memorized which I think is kinda cheating but I brought out some great improv to “Let it Go.” Somehow we tied again, probably not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings but I then won rock paper scissors. I mind gamed her and knew what she’d throw. i had to win. For my team. and for myself. We won and I got some mints and a piece of paper! (woo :/ ) Overall great day at work and I love their work environment here! Friday night Lucas, Abi, Kennady and I went to this nice rooftop restaurant that had great food and drinks! It was Great Gatsby themed which I love because I love the book. We then tried to go to a similar place but when we sat down in a mostly empty place an army of people came over and was asking us about a list. They told us it was a private party and we all laughed because they hadn’t stopped us from coming in and ordering drinks! We left and tried to go to a club but Kennady had Choco’s on and the guards weren’t having it O.O . We went to a bar down the street where they put us in this big glass room in the middle of the bar by ourselves??? I guess it’s because we are white. We couldn’t really hear the music and we all felt like specimens in a cage! I feel that way a bit here but I’m getting used to it. We went out and danced and immediately realized it was a gay bar from the lack of women lol. They played great music though and we danced the night away! We went home from there and all slept in the backseat. I’m glad Lukas was able to navigate us, he’s great at planning! We all just went to sleep when we got back. The next day we all went out and got food. I had mushroom chicken and a banana shake which was great! I love talking and hanging out with these people. We then went a got a massage which was good but not as good as the on in the airport. I was a bit apprehensive about taking all my clothes off but they only had us take our shirts and socks off. They greased Lukas up and he was shiny and his hair looked funny when we left. I wonder if it was something with his skin or just his lady? They did this thing where they pulled on our hair which I liked but Lukas and Kennady said they didn’t. I then got Ramen with Lucas and I talked about my gaming stuff and showed him some funny videos of myself. We then went home and I was locked out and all greasy from the massage. It’s really hard to get in touch with my roommates given that I can’t text them at all. The next day we 4 went to Intramuros (The walled city), the oldest China town and Fort Santiago. The food in China town was great with this delicious pineapple bread that I could eat everyday for a week. The walled city was kinda cool but just had a bunch of museums we didn’t want to go in. We found Fort Santiago which was an old Spanish Fort and paid to get in. It was cool architecture but the tower house was destroyed at some point :/ . There were a bunch of bonsai trees which I loved. On the way back we walked down a side street and some locals asked us to play basketball so me and Lukas played 3v3 with them. We think we won but Abi said we didn’t 😛 .We did. She and Kennady were preoccupied playing with the kids which looked fun because they have these clacky ball toys I want to try. After basketball I was soaked again but then it started to rain and it felt great. We sat under a bridge for awhile and finally took shelter at Mcdonalds. We then went home and went to sleep because early the next morning on our holiday we would be taking a hike! We took an hour long Grab ride (Uber) Northish to some little town nestled in the mountains. Everybody pointed us towards this office where they had guides for hikes and we got matched up with a dude for only a buck each. The hike was the hardest I have ever done. First it was muddy and I was sliding all over the place. Next there were tons of big rocks and hard foot and hand holds. It was amazing and I felt that conquering nature feeling! I led the pack and we made it to the top in about 2 hours. The view was beautiful! We took some great pictures! On the way down it was half climbing half sliding. We also saw monkeys and some plants that close their leaves when you touch them. When we got to the bottom I had a chocolate boba tea which tasted like the best thing in the world after that long hike! I was so hot and sweaty that I was actually steaming in cool places on the mountain like NFL players in the Winter! That was my first week I had a great time and I look forward to everything else to come!

– Hunter

Introductory Blog Post!

Hey! I’m making this blog post to announce my enrollment in the IWU Freeman Asia Program! I’m going to be working at the FNRI or the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in Manila in the Philippines! I will have many more interesting things to say next time! I look forward to it.