Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quick Work Update

Our coral gardening training in Sagay was really amazing. I hope I will be able to duplicate some of it at site, but if nothing else it was a great time with all the CRM volunteers and our counterparts in a beautiful marine reserve that is actually working. Here are some pics:
                    (And just look at how blue and beautiful that water looks!)
One of the coral nurseries we constructed. Hopefully in a year these pieces will be big enough to transplant.
See Rob’s blog for more info and pics from the training. (http://robert-offthegrid.blogspot.com/)

When I came back to site, it was time to do my own coastal assessments, looking at fish, seagrasses and corals. With the help of my BantayDagat crew (local coast guard), counterpart and three PCV friends who visited to help with assessments, we got the job done!

Laying down the transect line for coral reef assessments (the coral were pretty poor in this area).


Crown of thorns starfish - they love to eat corals and run amuck in areas of low fish abundancy.
Blue starfish so pretty!
(all that underwater work left us hungry for some rice and fish, Yum!)

Enjoyka and halong!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Manggahan and more!

Happy Manggahan Festival!

Manggahan is a week long festival in Guimaras celebrating the much loved Guimaras Mango! Guimaras is very proud of their mangos, and even is quarantined from the bringing of outside mangos to the island. It is rumored (on wikipedia so it must be true) that Guimaras mangos have been served in the White House and Buckingham Palace.

Yummy Guimaras Mangos!

The week started out as any other Filipino festival does, with a parade!

Mango tribe

Corn tribe

Indigenous tribe

Every day was a different event, including local band competition, Ms. Guimaras Competition, island talent show and more, all culminating into the famous and much anticipated Eat-all-you-can-mangos (for 60 pesos lang)!

However the eat-all-you-can-mangos were a little too popular as they quickly ran out of mangos! My friends and I were certainly not going to let that stop us from our eating contest, so we ran to buy the little bit of sweet mangos they had left (they had plenty of green/unripe mangos that Filipinos also love to eat... with soy sauce) and bought enough to have our own mango eating competition. In this case I think pictures really do describe more than words....

He is really into the competition

Finishing off another mango!

juicy and sweet!

Digging in to mangos!

And of course the garbage compactor that is Jensen ruled us all by eating 7 mangos (about a kilo and a half). Needless to say we had a pretty great time hanging out with other visiting PC and JICA volunteers. My roommate and I even wore kimonos to the festival one night! (I mean how many opportunities do you get to wear a kimono?)

Kimono time

The weekend following the Manggahan Festival was Easter weekend, which Filipinos like to celebrate by attending a Pagtaltal event. Pagtalal is a reenactment of the crucifiction of Jesus. Jordan has their own well known version of such an event, attracting visitors and tourist every year. It is quite a day since it starts out in the morning at the bottom of the the island and then you follow the actors as they act out the events leading up to the crucifixtion, at the top of one of the highest points of Jordan. It was a very hot and sunny 6 hour walk but quite the experience. The people who perform do it every year as volunteers for their church. Def not something you see in the states!


So as you can imagine with all of these events going on, there has not been much work to do, but I have my PC training going on for the next two weeks, followed by biophysical assessments, and my parents and brother visiting in June (yeah!).

I will keep you posted!
Halong gid!

P.S. Hope everyone had a Happy Earth Day! I know I did! I helped my Provincial Gov plant over 800 mangroves in one of my coastal barangays.

Celebrating Earth Day with my co-workers and community members

planting those mangroves!