© 2014 Lindsay Cope

Bagyo Glenda

Another exciting week has passed in the Philippines.  My sector, Coastal Resource Management, went on an excursion on Tuesday to Catalagan, Batangas.  We met the local leadership for environmental protection, went snorkeling, and toured a protected mangrove.  We were worried that we would have to cancel all or part of our field trip because of the approaching Typhoon (Bagyo in Tagalog), but fortunately we were able to take in all the exciting biodiversity!


Some trash that as collected in the Mangroves. Clean-ups occur after Typhoon Season.

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In the wake of Bagyo Glenda

The reef was impressive.  It was very shallow, even snorkeling you could see a lot and you didn’t have to free dive more than a few feet to get a closer look.  I saw many reef fish, including a cornet fish and a cute little wiggly fish called sweetlips.  I also saw a giant clam!  When you touched it, its filters contracted.  It was incredible.  There was such a wide array of corals, some were brightly colored, though they were mostly muted hues.  Check out the pictures!  This reef is pretty healthy with minimal coral bleaching and it is vast.  The fish were sparse however and they were mostly juvenile due to overfishing of the fisheries.


The typhoon arrived early in the morning hours on Wednesday as a category 3 typhoon.  The wind was intense and the rain was relentless.  No one slept very well that night.  We awoke during the eye of the storm around 6 a.m. and consolidated at breakfast in the cafeteria.  The second half of the storm hit around 8 a.m. and lasted just a few hours.  The damage around the compound was impressive, a lot of fallen branches and strewn debris.  We are still without power and have run out of water, so no more showers until we have water again.  We still have water to drink so don’t be alarmed.  We are also using an electric generator so we can still access the internet, charge electronics, and enjoy the cooling effects of oscillating fans.  I am extremely impressed at the resolve of Philippinos in the wake of such destruction.  The staff still showed up to work here at IIRR despite damage to their homes, and even during the eye of the storm, people were out trying to clear the large debris blocking the road.  All of the volunteers participated in the clean up, which resulted in many ant bites (both fire ants and pharoah ants).  We were happy to pitch in and adapt to the communal Philippino culture, this is our home for the next two years.


Departure for Pre-Service Training has been postponed.  We were meant to leave on Sunday to begin staying with our first host family, but Bataan was the last area to be hit by the storm and they are also without water and electricity.  We will leave on Wednesday for our new sites.  Until then I will be available to facetime or text with anyone who wants to contact me (please note the time difference, usually between 6-8 a.m. and anytime after 5 p.m. here is convenient).  My new site will be Poblacion, Morong, Bataan, I will fill you in with more details when I get there.


Love. L.

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