EcologyNKK Lab Report

My New Life in the Philippines 2
July 2012

Reporter: Daisuke Horii

In the recent days I found my hands full with the many things I had to do. I have joined many activities and projects that challenged my time management skills. As a result, it became difficult handle my schedule and I could not have enough time for my graduate research anymore. That is why I am rearranging my schedule at the moment. I started with five subjects and one Tagalog lesson. At this moment, however, I am taking three subjects and one Tagalog lesson. The reason I dropped out from my other two subjects is that I could not handle my schedule due to heavy loads of assignments and restricted time.

Let me share my experience in classes in UP. While one of classes that I dropped out from was too hard to follow, the time I spent for the class was most valuable time in the Philippines so far. During the class, we discussed one of topics relating with environmental problems according to papers which we were required to read every week. The class itself was the most academic debate class I had ever experienced. However, the quantity of the assignments was physically many, so I could not handle other things but reading the papers.

The other class that I am currently taking requires an individual report and a group work. The individual report will be materials for other students to prepare for an exam. Therefore, we have to deeply consider which information is necessary and which is not. With respect to the group work, we are required to decide a study site which we could visit and then conduct a research on. One of my professors said that classes in UP are following both U.S. style, which is discussion basis, and Asian one, which is lectures and paper exams basis, so the requirements are relatively heavy. This coming August, I am going to join the IDEC summer course. I worry about my schedule because my classes in UP proceed as usual. In addition, mid-term exam will be conducted at the period. I will do my best.

Left : Road to study site of group work ? ? ?? Right : ? Interview at a municipality

As I am a member of the social awareness project, I joined a study tour regarding urban poor. I visited at two kinds of areas. One was the evacuation centers for informal settlers who suffered from the typhoon last year. The other one was informal settlement area located under a bridge and on a sea.

At the evacuation centers, we were separated into groups. We distributed food and stationaries to first and second grade children. At the time, we had an opportunity to talk with the residents and look around their evacuation houses. The spaces were very narrow. However, each family has around 8 people. The reason why they still stay at the evacuation centers is that they were informal settlers before the typhoon. Therefore, they do not have enough money to move out. The government, according to our coordinators, is trying to help people to move to new houses with very low rents. Some politicians are also trying to help them individually, but it is because an election is approaching. In fact, they were waiting for the timing to offer to help them. I did not feel good to hear about such political action in order to gain votes.

On the other hand, we visited an informal settlement located under a bridge and on a sea. We observed their living condition and talked with some families who live there. We especially talked about their history, difficulties and future.

This study tour made me understand the Philippines more. I recognized that both studying on a desk and hearing from people who actually experience difficulties cannot be separated. Interaction between them is crucial to understand the reality. Our next project is gPrison Visith which I am in charge of. I am working on it at the moment. This is my first experience to write business letters and call in formal way in English. I feel anxious carrying a lot of responsibility, but I am sure this experience will be priceless.

Recently, dengue fever and flu are prevailing in my dormitory. All residents have to apply insect repellants and other creams all the time. The dorm manager told us that there were more than 20 students who suffered dengue fever last year. The most of patients were Japanese and Korean. As a matter of fact, I had high fever for a few days towards the end of July. Fortunately, it was neither dengue fever nor flu.

Exchange students from other countries come to study in UP for several reasons. For example, onefs purpose is to study languages while anotherfs is to be a dancing champion in the Philippines. We, exchange students, have each purpose. Our main task of us is to accomplish objectives. As I mentioned on my first report, my most important purpose is finding out what I really hope to do in the future. I hope that I am on the right track.

To sum up this report, I have been struggling with my time management since the first semester started. On the other hand, I am having priceless experiences which I cannot have in Japan. My next report shall be on IDEC summer course 2012.