Don’t forget the keys!

Post classification: 
Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes

Finally back in Manila you would think the bad luck would have stayed in the Visayan (central) Islands. Just so you all know, if you plan on joining a friend outside your apartment after midnight while he smokes a cigarette, remember to bring the keys to your apartment because some apartment doors lock on their own when shut. Oh yeah, and wear more than just your boxers.

Stranded on Lapinig

Post classification: 
Flora and Fauna
Fieldnotes
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Towards the end of our March expedition through the Visayas, we headed to Bohol Island. While Bohol Island is in close proximity to the other islands we visited on the trip (Cebu and Negros), it has a completely different fauna, or diversity of animals. The species on Bohol more closely resemble those found in many of the southeastern Philippine islands, or the Mindanao Faunal Region. Bohol is one of the few places in the Philippines that has done a good job in developing income based on ecotourism.

Mystical Forest Creatures

Post classification: 
Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes

One of my favorite aspects of doing fieldwork in the Philippines is learning about the local folklore and beliefs. The Philippines actually has a strong history of believing in spirits and forest-dwelling creatures, and adhering to superstitious beliefs. They even have an island in the central Philippines (Siquijor Island), which is famous for its sorcerers and witchcraft. The island celebrates an annual witch festival where you can buy all sorts of potions.

Legend of the Hot Springs Resort

Post classification: 
Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes

One of the first sites I had on my schedule while in the Philippines was an island called Marinduque. It is actually just south of mainland Luzon Island (not that this description is helping for the 99% of you that don’t study in the Philippines). All you have to realize is that it is one of the closer islands to Manila. So as you guessed, it only took about 12 hours to reach our destination. Unlike our Aurora bus trip though, the Marinduque voyage was broken up nicely into four, three-hour segments—Bus, Boat, Bus, Jeepney...and water buffalo.

The New X-Games

Post classification: 
By Train, Plane, and Camel
Fieldnotes

There must be lists. Somewhere on the internet, you must be able to find out what countries rank among the scariest places to take a taxi ride. With confidence, I would bet that Manila is in the top 3. My first month here has included several short trips to local islands, presentations to universities and protected areas management boards, and of course, numerous taxi rides around the city of Manila. I honestly do not know why Philippine taxi driving is not an event at the X-Games.

A Slow and Painful Reminder

Post classification: 
By Train, Plane, and Camel
Fieldnotes

It is not clear to me what point in time I became incapable of comfortably traveling long distances by bus, boat, and small, motorized jeeps. However, last week I was quickly reminded of just how old my overweight body feels at the ripe age of 28 (I really need to lay off the queso). I traveled with my friend and collaborator Dr. Arvin Diesmos to Aurora Province on Luzon Island. We are setting up our next site for the large KU biodiversity expedition planned for May and June of this year.

Cheating Death

Post classification: 
By Train, Plane, and Camel
Fieldnotes

If you were to take a little drive around a city in the Philippines, several things might strike you as creative ways of taunting death. First, it appears to be a challenge to see who can fit the most people on their little motorized scooters. I mean, it’s unbelievable. I have seen as many as six people on one scooter bike. Of course this usually entails two of the kids to be sitting on the parent’s lap, a baby in one parent’s arm and the other child delicately balancing on the rear seat while juggling three oranges.

Fun with Tropical Diseases

Post classification: 
Adventures Afield
Fieldnotes

I thought that I should at least give you some background in the amazing world of tropical diseases, from my own experiences of course. It never ceases to amaze me how many stomach problems I develop on any typical trip to the Philippines. For instance, it took me all of 4 days here on this trip to be back on antibiotics. Four days! I mean, come on, that is ridiculous. For the most part I try to stick to bottled water as much as possible. When we are surveying mountain sites, the pristine river water is just fine, and it is usually the city water that gives me problems.

Everything Under the Kitchen Sink

Post classification: 
Fieldwork How To
Fieldnotes

There is leaving for an expedition, and then there is leaving for a nine-month expedition. Where to begin packing is a question I am always asking myself. The airlines have not made it any easier. While we used to be able to check-in two enormous 70-pound bags, we are now only allowed two 50-pound bags. This means I will be leaving my car at home this year. I would say that I get a little too meticulous about packing. Everything has to be placed out on the floor organized by size, and then by color.

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