Our field research got pushed back to a later date, which was disappointing since it was one of the major things of the internship I were looking forward to. The ethic’s committee was unable to find a time to meet and review the proposal, so NAMD had to push the field research back a few days. Since our group was told this information over the past weekend, we didn’t have much work in the office. We spent most of the week reviewing past research findings, and we attended the World Trade Center for DOST’s National Science and Technology Week. The National Science and Technology Week was comprised of a number of booths showing, well things related so science and technology. There was a portion of nutrition and health awareness presented by FNRI, tsunamis and earthquakes presented by another division in DOST, environmental sustainability, and so on.
Speaking of earthquakes, we recently found out FNRI stands on a fault line, and it’s expected that there’s going to be an earthquake at this area within the next ten years. While we (the interns) only have a few weeks left, we seemed more concerned about this information than the our co-workers who are going to be here for the next few years. But don’t worry, our co-workers reassuringly told us that there’s nothing to worry about since they have monthly earthquake drills. In terms of relocation, I don’t know the details, but I do know that they’re currently building a new FNRI.
This past Friday, we had some of our co-workers over for dinner, and we celebrated Rod’s birthday. He’s the co-worker that has Cooper and I adjust to NAMD. He’s our right-hand man, guide, babysitter, and basically anything else you can think of while in the Philippines. He was nice enough to make dinner for us at our condo, and afterwards we, along with our other officemates and a few interns from other sites went for videoke. On Saturday, I went to the Mall of Asia, and on Sunday, I hiked for the first time at Mount Maculot in Batangas. It’s the mountain neighboring Taal Volcano, and we were able to see Taal’s lake from the top of Mount Maculot. The fact that I never took exercising seriously bit me in the butt on this trip as I had difficulty pulling myself from rock-to-rock by the second half of the climb. That, along with the petty excuse of a granola bar for breakfast had me struggling. “Laban! Laban!,” which means “fight on” was the mantra of our climb. The second part of the climb was a little more bearable because Tiger, a dog that hangs around the trail, joined us for a portion of the climb. Eventually, we reached the top, and the view was well worth the climb. While I thought the worst was over, little did I know the going down was going to be more of a challenge than climbing up. Because it had rained the previous night, the path was quite slippery, and my shoes picked up more and more mud to the point that they had zero traction. That’s when it started to go downhill, literally. I fell a total of three times, each time gaining more purple bruises and each time getting demoted to a more embarrassing way of finishing the hike. The first time I fell, I was given a hiking stick. The second time I fell I was babysat by our guide and one of our pro-hiker co-workers. The third time I slipped and fell, I was told to hold on to our guide’s backpack as he basically took me step-by-step down the mountain. While my body (and my ego) may be a bit bruised, I enjoyed the hike and the awesome view at the top. And if I learned anything from this trip, it’s that I may be Indian, but I’m no Mowgli.