Though our condo is in Manila, these two weeks (7/1-7/12) were the longest time we have actually stayed in Manila. The first week was at the FNRI Seminar Series, and the second week was our field immersion in Marikina. This blog will be a recount of our wonderful time spent in the city!
The seminar series exceeded our expectations from the start. It was located at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, which is a beautiful city to begin with. We drove past Mall of Asia, which we knew we had to visit later. We then got to the building, where there were nutrition booths everywhere and FNRI friends. We entered a big hall, and there was a stage and multicolored lights shining everywhere. There was a lady on the stage asking questions and giving out prizes. We then watched the presenters, which was really interesting. These people had all done a project to help with nutrition and fitness in the Philippines. One that stuck out to me was a lady that worked with Robinson’s Supermarket. She described how they changed tags on certain foods to the color red, which meant that it was approved by DOST as a healthy option. I think this would be a great thing to implement in the United States, as I personally have trouble finding healthier options and I know many others do too. The rest of the seminar consisted of speakers and more prizes. We enjoyed watching people present their research, like Ma’am Chona Patalen, one of the heads of FNRI.
After this fun week, it was time to head back to the field. This time, instead of a 5 hour drive, it was only one hour. We were in Marikina! We quickly found out that field work in an urban area is vastly different from the rural area. We went out to eat for almost every meal in the city, which we rarely did in Benguet and Ilocos. There was also a large difference in respondents in the city versus in the provinces. Those in the city tended to be more hesitant to participate in the survey, whereas in the provinces, people were happy to join in and even eager. There were some people that, though I could not understand them, I was told they spoke rudely to the team members to leave their household. But, I still met so many amazing respondents in Marikina. And the team members, of course, were incredible. They were so helpful and so fun to hang out with outside of work. One night, we all went out to eat and they surprised me with a cake for my birthday!
We had an incredible last day with the team. We started the day with an amazing breakfast at Rustic Morning. Then we visited the shoe museum! I wanted to go to this museum because Marikina is actually the shoe capital of the Philippines. This place had a collection of former first lady, Imelda Marcos’s, shoes. She had a lot… she left behind around 3,000 pairs of shoes after leaving Malacañang Palace. She is even in the Guinness World Record book for the most pairs of shoes. So I knew we had to go! She definitely owned a lot of extravagant shoes. Dare I say they were a tad bit impractical.
I am so thankful to the team for allowing us to do these fun activities. It was so great spending time with them for our last day in Marikina! After the museum, it’s was time to had back home to Bicutan and prepare for our next trip… Cebu! I will write all about that trip as well as our second time in Ilocos Norte in my next blog… stay tuned!