Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rainy Season in the Pines

I knew before coming to the Philippines that there were only two basic seasons here: wet and dry. However I did not understand that this is not an even divide. Over half the year is considered rainy while the "summer" months are usually considered to be March, April and May, with June starting the rainy season again. For the past month or so we have been under virtually constant cloud cover and stop and go rain everyday. Especially for the past two weeks we have had one storm after another roll over the Philippines. As soon as one passes through or dissipates, another is on its way.

Sometimes I do wake up to the sun shining and it starts to get hot again. There seems to be not a cloud in the sky and I think to myself maybe its over. Wrong. It is at that point when you start to make outside plans like going to the beach, going on a bike ride, or doing work on the boat that it will suddenly begin to darken and pour!

Most storm systems that come through come from the east and hit the eastern Visayas and Luzon (northern Philippines). And I mean they get dumped on! My friends in these regions have to walk around in knee high waters (usually mixed with oil and other pollutants - yuck!) and even evacuate to higher ground at times. PC is pretty good about keeping us informed though. We all get text messages updating us on the status of any storm approaching the 'Pines and what areas need to prepare for the worst of it. We also have to check in with them after any typhoons. (So to friends and family out there - no worries :).

I never thought I would want the Philippine heat but really I just miss the sun on my face (oh and doing laundry would be a heck of a lot easier too).

Work update: I am in the process of submitting a grant for my municipality to establish a Marine Protected Area. The grant monies will include enough to build a guardhouse and purchase assessment materials. I am really excited about the reserve and training the locals on how to perform coastal surveys. I hope this will be a way to instill a sense of community participation in the management of their resources.

Also I recently went to Barotoc Nueva, a small town in Iloilo province, along with 4 other CRM volunteers. There is a fisheries college there, where all of our Filipino counterparts went to school. We gave a lecture on Coastal Resource Management to the fisheries and tourism students. We were very well received and it was really fun talking with the students. During the question/answer period after the lecture, our first questions was from a student asking us how he can help us with our projects. It was really great to see so many students interested in sustainable management of the environment.

Halong everyone and stay dry!