EcologyNKK Lab Report

My New Life in the Philippines 1
June 2012

Reporter: Daisuke Horii

Hello, everyone! This is the first in the series of monthly write- ups about my life in the Philippines.

I have been an exchange student in the University of the Philippines, Diliman since the 30th of May this year. I will stay in this country until the month of March next year 2013. Although I am getting used to living in the Philippines, I still find new experiences and realizations every day.

The dormitory that I currently live in is called the International Center (IC). It was built more than 50 years ago and will be replaced soon. Because of its planned rebuilding, some of the broken facilities like faucets were not replaced anymore. From observations like this I cannot say that the building itself is good. However, the people in IC are wonderful.

The IC is a dormitory for foreign students. Around 20 nationalities are living here at the moment, with around half of them being Korean and Japanese. Right now, I do not have any roommates because they have returned to their countries. I had one roommate and two bathroom mates. It means that dormers living in two rooms share a single bathroom. Pedro, a Brazilian, Antonie, French and Kahir, who is British, came to UP under their respective universityfs research program. Each of them was unique and I had a really great time with them.

I have a total of five classes this first semester: two are on environmental science and the other two on urban and regional planning. The other one is a Physical Education course, which is tap dancing. My load seems heavy compared to Japanese classes because of the length of time of each class. Classes in the University of the Philippines are much longer. Still, I will do my best.

It is a fortunate coincidence that the lecturer of one of my classes is an IDEC alumna. In addition, Dr. Karen Ann B. Jago-on will be in charge of IDEC summer course 2012, the one that I will be joining this coming August.
(url: http://hicec.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/ja/201204162619/).

I have also started taking weekly lessons in Filipino language. I am motivated for several reasons. First, I am interested in the language. Second, I think learning the language will help me understand the local people better. Third, some locals do not understand English. I hope learning Filipino will help me understand the Philippines more.

There are several other reasons why I came to the Philippines. However, the most important one is my wish to help developing countries. This desire began when I was twenty years old. I have been aware of some problems that such countries have but it was only through available literature. I decided to actually experience the realities in a developing country. I hope that with this study program in UP, I could find out what I hope to do in the future.

This early on I have travelled to a few places in the country. I went to both Batangas and Tagaytay on two separate day trips. My Filipino friend brought me to this wonderful beach in the province of Batangas. I and my friends spent some time relaxing there. On the other hand, I learned that Tagaytay is where we could find Taal Volcano, the smallest active volcano in the world. We managed to reach the summit by riding a taxi, a bus, a jeep, a tricycle, a boat and a horse! Even though the transportation time accounts for seventy percent of the trip, my friends and I enjoyed the adventure and discovered more about the Philippines.

Since classes have just begun, I could not report about my courses yet. With respect to my graduate thesis, the Ifugao region in the northern part of Luzon is a probable research site. Honestly, there is no significant progress about my research as of the moment but I hope to write more about it in my next report. I am hoping for more experiences that will make my life more filled with adventure.

English of this report is supervised by Ms. Ched Magaspar, NKK Lab English Instructor/Faculty at Ateneo de Manila Grade School