Our fieldwork for Year 1 of our research project started in earnest last January then proceeded nonstop until July. In those seven months, I’ve been to 11 municipalities in nine provinces all over the country. My Philippine map is looking pretty good!
It’s been an exhausting seven months, filled with interviews, focus group discussions, market surveys, fish landing surveys, fishery intercepts, fish visual census, and benthic cover surveys. Oh, and report writing. Can’t forget the dreaded report writing.
Memorable experiences range from hilarious to rage-inducing and everything in between. The municipal staff and barangay captains who wholeheartedly welcomed our research team (special thanks to Bais City for the tablea chocolate!). The nicest fish buyer ever (who we met in Cebu), who offered us coffee and bread to eat while waiting for fishermen to bring their catch to her. The special Tatay in Santiago who offered us fruit from his trees. The boat operator in Lian who insisted that we rent his bigger boat (so that he could use the smaller one to carry tourists), which meant swimming 50 meters from the boat to the dive site because of the larger boat’s larger draft. The pension house owner in Taytay who yelled at our hapless officemate, even though it was the owner’s fault that she confused “breakfast should be ready by 6am” with “we’re leaving at 6am [after breakfast]”. The boat crew in Cebu who were going to LEAVE US AT THE DIVE SITE while they went to an island and ferry tourists. The fish vendors in Bolinao who wouldn’t talk to us unless we bought something from their market stall. All the stuff that happens when you’re out there meeting people for the first time.
What’s happening in Year 2? How does 40 municipalities from September 2015 to July 2016 sound?
I’m going to get a whole lot browner.