Ilocos pt. 2

Ilocos Pt. 2

            On July 16th, we left for Ilocos Norte for the second time during these two months here in the Philippines. But, this day was more than a travel day… it was my birthday! I was having a great day already, and everyone made me feel so special when we met up with the team. Little did I know that they were secretly planning my birthday party! I had no idea what was going on, I simply thought we were going to Jollibee for dinner. When we walked upstairs, and they blindfolded me, I knew something was up. I never expected all of Team 3 to be there! Team 3 is who we were with the first time we were in the field, in Benguet and Ilocos. It was such an amazing surprise to see everyone that I was missing so much! It was the best birthday ever, and I am so very grateful for these incredible people that made my birthday so perfect. That night, Marcia had her first balut. It was overall an outstanding day and I could not have asked for a better birthday and first day in Ilocos Norte!

Jollibee party!

            After the wonderful first day, it was time to get to work. We went to our next barangay, Dupitac. I was back with my first team, with Mam Reina and Sir Allain! It was so great to be able to see them again. This barangay was deep in the mountains. Houses were quite spread apart, so we had to walk long distances to get to the households occasionally. I got to weigh food for the first time, as well as some interviewing and recording. At the end of our time with this team, we had a free day and went to the Piddig sunflower garden! It was so lovely there.

            I was sad to leave this team, but luckily, we had another free day with our new team! We had the wonderful opportunity to go to Pagudpud. It was so beautiful there! We first went to Hannah’s Beach, which had the most beautiful clear water I had ever been in. It was so fun to be with the team and just be able to relax on the beach. My face was so red and peeling by the end of the day! After going to this beach, we visited an important landmark in Ilocos Norte. This was the Bangui Wind Farm. The windmills we saw here provide some of the energy for this part of Ilocos Norte. Just down the road from this wind farm were stunning white rocks. Here is a picture including both the windmills and the white rocks:

White rocks & windmill

            I had heard so much about the beautiful windmills in Ilocos, I was so happy I got to experience this. After these two fun days, it was time to get back to work! We moved to our new barangay, called Nalvo. We were now with a subteam we had never been with, which was subteam 6. I had my earliest morning here. One of our households had breakfast at 4, meaning we had to leave by 3:45 am. I woke up at 3 am and got ready to go to the house. After going to the household, I went straight back to sleep and slept for a few more hours.

            At barangay Nalvo, our subteam leader was Mam Kenneth. She taught us so many things about the Philippines, and took us to some educational places in the area. For example, we visited a salt refinery where they take salt water and remove the salt from it! We also visited a breeding farm, where there were lots of pigs and chickens! Mam Kenneth herself taught us about some of the history of the Philippines. She’s also from Ilocos Sur, so she taught us some Ilocano, the local language! Not only did she teach us about the Philippines, but she also taught Marcia and I how to do our laundry by hand. This was something I had never done before, and I was so grateful she took the time to teach us this important life skill. I wasn’t very good at it, but I’m so glad she taught us this!

            Barangay Nalvo was actually our last barangay that we were working at in the field. On the last day before we left, team 3 threw us a going away party. We had a boodle fight, which is essentially where they place banana leaves on the table a put a bunch of rice and food on it. Everyone sits together and eats with their hands, usually. We played games together, ate cake, and did some karaoke! Some of the team members also said some heartwarming messages to us. It was lovely getting to see some of the people we spent time with and getting to say our final goodbyes. It was so sad to have to leave these people that I’ve grown so close to in the past two months.

            On our very last day, Mam Juliet drove us to the airport. However, we made a few pit stops along the way. The first was a church, called the Church of Paoay. Here is the information about it:

It was very cool to go see a part of Ilocos Norte that had so much history! We got some ice cream & ice scramble (some of the best street food in the Philippines) and started on our way to the next stop, which was the Bacsil Sand Dunes. This was one of the most exciting things I have ever done! It was super fun but slightly scary. We then headed out to the airport and it was time to say goodbye to Ilocos Norte & the field.

This was our very last trip to the field. It was a very bittersweet feeling to know that we were done. I am so grateful for the experience I have gained from being in the field. It was so cool to be able to travel all around the Philippines and see places I never would have been able to see. However, I am glad that I’ll (hopefully) never have to shower with a bucket again!

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