EcologyNKK Lab Report

My New Life in the Philippines 3
August 2012

Reporter: Daisuke Horii

IDEC Summer Course 2012 was held at University of the Philippines, Diliman, from 6th to 16th August, 2012 under the theme gDEVELOPMENT WITHIN A LOW CARBON WORLD: Preparing Professionals for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptationh. The participants were 44 people come from 11 countries. We were divided into 8 groups. Each group was assigned one study area to write a report about by the last day of the course. My groupmates were two Filipinos, one American, one German, one Indonesian, and one Japanese. Our study area was in Marikina City. Marikina City is known for being affected by flooding. We planned to evaluate the Laws and Acts for flood control management being implemented in Marikina City when the non-stop monsoon rain occurred on the first day of the course. So we changed our research plan into building evaluation methodology regarding quality of evacuation centers based on interview surveys. Once the rain stopped, we went to an evacuation center, which was an elementary school, to conduct our survey. We were actually worried if evacuees were willing to respond our interviews or not. Surprisingly, the evacuees we talked to were very cooperative with our survey. We observed that they wanted to talk about what they felt during and after flooding. According to the interviews, the main concerns of the evacuation center were bathrooms and food. There were only 11 bathrooms allotted for 4000 evacuees. Nevertheless water supply was enough in both quantity and quality level. However, food was not enough for all of them. Physical fights for food were reported. A few days later, we went to a barangay to continue to conduct our survey because the evacuation center was closed then. We looked for people who were at the evacuation center. It turned to be an unforgettable experience because we saw the community, their life and the buildings which were seriously affected by flooding. We obtained more than fifty responses.


On the last day of the course, we were required to give presentations. My group was so happy to have received the first place. The two weeks of conference put pressure on us physically and mentally. We definitely gained new knowledge and interests from the course. In addition, we met friends all over the world and got to know each other. Friends, who overcame a challenge together, are precious in my life. Our group decided to publish our report to IDEC journal. I am so excited. By the way, I met some of the alumni of NKK lab in the summer course- BK-san, Brand-san and Mabuhay-san.



On the 3rd of September, I visited the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City. It was one of the social awareness projects planned by my Malaysian friend and I was one of the coordinators.
The facility was different from what I thought what a prison was. The facility focuses more on rehabilitation program rather than putting inmates under pressures or punishments. We organized time to communicate with the inmates. There were awkward moments during the interaction. Even though we had talked about what to ask to the inmates, we could not ask the questions directly.

We were permitted to enter the maximum security area. What I saw there was that the living condition was better than what I saw in some barangays in Metro Manila. Some say that the inmates have too much freedom. Other says that inmates have limited freedom because they even cannot see their family when they want to see. I suppose there are four bottom lines in this issue. First, inmates committed crimes. Second, they also have human rights. Third, people can change. Fourth, some of inmates end up committing crimes due to their difficult circumstance. After the visit, we discussed what we thought about it. The discussion could not be concluded. However, I thought this project succeeded because we gained insights and realized things we have never realized before.

My hands were full with the many things I had to do. Apart from my academic duties, I also became the vice president of UPICA (University of the Philippines International Center Association). Although I understand this position is challenging to my time management, once I accepted the position. Although I understand this position is challenging to my time management once I accepted the position. Nevertheless I will do my best. Since the new board members were selected, we began to organize some activities such as table tennis championship, lectures from residents about their countries and others.

In one lecture session, the lecturer was from Bhutan. He mainly talked about GNH (Gross National Happiness). We hardly knew the country itself and GNH. Therefore, I believed that the lecture meant a lot for participants. Because the residents of IC are mainly foreigners, it was difficult to manage the group. This was a very challenging opportunity. Yet, I am sure it is going to contribute to my future in some way.?

The first semester has almost one month left to go. I have already started to think about my short break in October. I am planning to travel in Southeast Asia during the beak time. I cannot wait!