PDM Conference and Island Hopping in the Visayas

Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
Trip End Oct 05, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Friday, February 9, 2007

Greetings to All!

As I mentioned in my last entry I was able to attend a Peace Corps Project Design and Management Conference last week in the wonderful little town of Dumaguete on Negros Island. Last Sunday very late, or I should say very early Monday morning (our bus left at 2 am for Manila) another Northern Luzon PCV and I (along with our Filipino counterparts) headed to the conference. Not only was the conference a huge success but it was so fun to get to catch up with the PCV's in the Visayas that I never get to see.

The conference was basically a three day intensive workshop learning step by step how to design, delegate, implement and monitor a successful project. While I have attended many similar workshops and even conducted a smaller scale PDM with the cave guides here, it was a wonderful process to go through and a very clear step by step process. My supervisor and I created a draft project proposal to get Bio-Sand Water Filters built in my community. Lack of potable water is a huge problem throughout the Philippines and these household size water filters are simple technology that has proven to provide households all over the world with safe drinking, cooking and bathing water. Our plan is to present the project to the Provincial Board in hopes that they will fund the building of the molds, which is the largest expense of the project. We will use Tublay (my Municipality) as the pilot area and once we train people there, we can conduct training's throughout the other Municipalities. I will keep you posted on how this project progresses.

On Friday morning a group of us headed to the beautiful little mountain municipality of Valencia about a half hour from Dumaguete. "Aunt" Peggy (PCV) as I fondly call her is assigned there and it truly is a wonderful site. It is a first class Municipality meaning it has received the highest rating and has strong infrastructure projects as well as population size and income. There were street signs, well paved roads and even cobblestone sidewalks, and no trash in site. Needless to say, many of us felt in a half hour jeepney ride we had been airlifted out of the Philippines. It was nice to see a success story of community action and development. Plus the waterfall we hiked to was incredible!! (Check out the pictures)

On Saturday we took a rocky Banka Boat over to Apo Island about an hour south of Dumaguete. Apo Island truly was island paradise!! White sand beaches, our rooms had huge doors that opened to the water so we heard the sound of the waves the whole night as we slept, and the snorkeling was out this world. Apo Island is home to the first established Marine Sanctuary in the Philippines that a former PCV helped develop. The coral was huge and so beautiful, and I saw so many fish I could hardly believe it!! Needless to say a very fun day and evening spent there. On Sunday we hopped on a boat and then a bus to get to Cebu City on Cebu Island (east of Negros). We spent the night there and after along day of traveling all we wanted to do when we arrived was sleep. Monday morning we met up with a crew of other PCV's at an Ex-Pat Spots Bar to watch the Super Bowl. While I have not followed football this year, (if ever), it was fun to kick back and watch the game, even with the large amounts of testosterone present. It was the first time since I arrived that white men have out numbered the Filipino's in a room. I am not used to that must testosterone and football energy but it was fun nonetheless and "Cousin" Peyton won so all was good.

I had a wonderful week in the Visayas and it was great to get to see some new scenery. I am looking forward to heading back down to Apo Island with my sister when she arrives in Mid March for a visit.

As always sending love and hugs to all, hope each of you are doing well!


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