Monday, June 7, 2010

Pot Sherds and Palaweños

I could have never expected my experience on Palawan, as clichéd as it sounds. Leaving Seattle, I knew I would meet some great people and have a blast but there’s always that unexpected element to any new adventure. Tropical beaches, cave exploration, and jungles complete with monkeys, snakes, and the occasional scorpion. Besides finding myself in a brilliant location, the people weren’t half bad either.
We had some good times together: swimming in the Soule Sea, with a bottle of Tanduay; becoming extremely burnt from swimming in the Soule Sea; playing the beloved game of “Avoid the Branches” while riding on top of jeepneys; hanging out on deserted islands; swimming in the South China Sea, at sunset, drinking some San Miguel; exploring caves; intense games of charades; the list goes on and on. There were times I could have gone without, such as stepping on a rusty nail the first week we were onsite or being stung by a jellyfish (which I still have the mark from, over a month later now) or ever so gracefully stepping on a deadly snake in the jungle.
As bad as these were, or could have been, I found myself not just surrounded by people on my program but people who had come to be my friends and who would help me out whenever I needed it, whether it be bandaging my foot (while trying not to freak out) or graciously offering to pee on my jellyfish sting. Aside from all the action, adventure, and danger that accompanied our field school, the best times I had were sitting around the bamboo table, drinking some San Miguel or our invented Palaweño’s , talking and laughing and sharing stories (the best ones of course coming from Greg). Here it was evident that you were surrounded by a great group of people.
My 55 day expedition to the Philippines was the best field school I could have imagined. It was the perfect mix of academic learning and social down time, sometimes mixing the two, either over theoretical discussions complimented by a bottle of Tanduay or nightly lectures accompanied by San Miguel, the unofficial sponsor of our field school. I loved the adventure, discovery, and people on this field school. One thing I won’t miss however: checking the showers for cobras.

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