September 7, 2003 - Personal Web Page: Peace Corps Volunteer Meg Hall served in the Philippines

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: September 7, 2003 - Personal Web Page: Peace Corps Volunteer Meg Hall served in the Philippines

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 5:38 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Meg Hall served in the Philippines

Peace Corps Volunteer Meg Hall served in the Philippines

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat! (In Tagalog, Good day to you all!) Hello, my name is Meg Hall and I am a Peace Corps volunteer serving in the Philippines. Originally from Machias, Maine in the United States, I arrived here in the Philippines in April 1999.

My first 2 months in the Philippines were spent on the island of Panay in the Visayas, in a city called Iloilo. During our training, we had 3 major components; technical, language, and cultural. Through our technical training, we learned about the biodiversity of the Philippines, as well as how to plan community and school based events. We were fortunate enough to travel to the sites of current volunteers in Palawan and Sibuyan islands to see their work in progress. We also had the opportunity to gain practical experience by sponsoring a community based environmental cleanup, a teacher training workshop, and an environmental day camp.

A large portion of our training consisted of learning our respective languages. Because I am assigned to the province of Cavite on the island of Luzon, I leaned Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. Finally, as part of our cultural training, we lived with wonderful host families in Iloilo. Through them, we were introduced to Filipino foods, customs, and ways of life.

For those of you who do not know much about the geography of the Philippines, here's some quick background. The Philippines consists of 7107 islands and is very diverse ecologically. We have many coastal communities, beaches, and coral reefs, but we also have mountain provinces and the rice terraces, the eighth wonder of the world. There are 4 major island groupings; Luzon, Mindanao, the Visayas, and Palawan.

Some suggestions for Peace Corps Volunteers going to the Philippines

To be emotionally prepared:

* Come without preconceived expectations
* Come with an open mind and a willingness to try new things.

Other ways to prepare:

* I would suggest learning some Tagalog before you arrive here. Although it is likely that you will end up learning another dialect, Tagalog is the national language and is widely understood. Also, it will help you when you are in Manila.

* Talk to returned PCVs if you can., they can provide you with tons of insight on what life in the Peace Corps is really like.

Packing, what to bring:

* A good rule of thumb is to bring what you like, but wouldn't be incredibly upset if it was lost, ruined. or stolen.

* There are HUGE malls here and you can pretty much buy what you need.

* Clothing - keep in mind that it is usually hot and raining or hot and dry. Clothes that are light, wash easily, and dry quickly are the best. Don't bring too many white things, they get irreversibly dirty. Bring the clothing and styles that you like, things that are comfortable to you. Also, remember that it is hard to find average to large American sizes here.

* For women, bring extra bras.

* Bring some funky outfits for some disco dancing and clubbing (if that is your thing).

* Money-good for traveling, buying additional items, going out.

* Thermarest - very hard to find here and indispensable if you are sleeping on bamboo.

* If you are into camping, bring your own equipment, it is hard to find it here.

* For women, TAMPONS - very hard to find.

* Field guides.

* Books.

* Walkman and portable speakers.

* A large backpack and a daypack.

* Little gifts from home - keychains, etc.-to give to your host families.

Packing, what not to bring:

* Household items like sheets, etc.

* Sunscreen, generic medications - Peace Corps will supply.

* Heavy clothing that is hard to wash.

* Flip flops - there are tons her

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Story Source: Personal Web Page

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; PCVs in the Field - Philippines



By Marya Innis ( on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 4:06 pm: Edit Post

I would like to talk to a RPCV about the school system in the Philippines. I'm particulaly interested in Los Banos Rural High School or an equivalent 7-10th grade institution. My father has set up a scholarship for students in the community of Los Banos, as he was rescued from the civilian prison camp there in 1945. I'm in Central California. M. Innis

By Joyce Gorsuch ( - on Saturday, October 01, 2005 - 9:06 pm: Edit Post

Magandang hapon Meg! So you spent some time in Los Banos. I lived and worked in Los Banos as a consultant during the time that you were in the Philippines, from 1999 to 2002. I am happy to find your website because, like you, I grew a lot as a person during my time in the Philippines. Returning to the US was more of an adjustment than was moving to the Philippines, probably because it was easier to expect that things would be radically different when moving to a new country. The patience that I cultivated over there served me well during the transition back to life in the US. I am still in touch with good friends I made during my time there, and I am now considering the Peace Corps as the next adventure I want to undertake. If I may pick your brain a bit... Did you visit the island of Mindoro and/or try scuba diving? How do you think that the experience of living and working at IRRI would translate into a positive experience in the Peace Corps, wherever I might be sent? How has your own transition back to US living been for you? What are you doing now? Thank you for creating this page to share your experiences with us visitors!

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