the end of my 9th
months in Kalibo. In no other country have I ever spent so much time.
Just this week the first one of our Australian Volunteers from Kalibo
has finished her assignment and returned to Australia. Most others
will follow in at the end of November. Which will leave only Allister
and me behind, two Aussies left in Kalibo.
respects October has been a
typical month without any significant highs or lows. In many ways I
am starting slowly to prepare for my return to Sydney. After my ATM
card disappeared last week I closed my bank account, I can live
without for the remaining three months. When my housemate Jen moves
out at the end of November I will move out too, no more need for a
big house and only one person. Every box in my assignment description
has been ticket which means everything has been at least started. And
many things will take years to develop. The remaining three months of
my presence in Kalibo will be spent in continuation of things
started, in completion of some of the items and repetition and
training of what has been covered before. It's an interesting time
it is also still a very
good time and very happy. Now that the wet season is officially
finished we have fiestas again. In early October we had one in Banga,
where my supervisor Sir Galo lives. O we all went to his house and
had a good day of eating, drinking and Videoke. Made special by my
first ever earthquake, a category 5 quake with an epicentre at around
100km from us. For the first time ever I experienced how it feels
when the ground is shaking underneath your feet, there was a clear
sideways movement. Forth and back, forth and back. Just for a few
seconds. But still undeniably recognisable as an earthquake.
fiesta did happen towards the
end of October in the town of Balete. Some of our rescue volunteers
live in Balete and we went there to watch the fiesta and visited the
house of the local disaster risk reduction officer to have lots and
lots of good home made Philippino food. Fiesta in Balete means the
'Enchanting Balete Festival”, a whole day of parade, music,
dancing. Mostly of school kids of the various schools from the area
around Balete and the villages.
the same time as the Balete
Fiesta Kalibo celebrated the opening of the Ati-Atihan season. The
actual Ati-Atihan festival will only be on January 18. But the
celebration for it starts three months early. We were literally
caught in the middle of various parades crossing each other, in
counterflow through the narrow Kalibo streets. Deafening drum music
accompanied dancers in colourful costumes, a spectacle to watch and
listen to. And so much energy in the people, in their movements, in
their enjoyments. When you're there you are automatically happy, just
can't not be.
only imagine now how big the
actual Ati-Atihan festival will be. According to Lonely Planet it is
the mother of all festivals in the Philippines, with it's beginning
far before any European occupation of the islands. It will most
likely be my glorious final highlight before returning home to Sydney
food during a fiesta - spit roast pork or 'Litchon Baboy'
october four of us Australiens did a motorbike trip to the neighboring
island of Guimaras. It started as a good adventure with a tropical
deluge pouring down on us, so much rain that we could not see properly
anymore and had to stop. Rain or not, I like the tropical climate, the
hot humid air and the quick change between sunshine and rain. What I
like most is that is is never cold. So even when you are soaked by the
rain, it will still feel warm.
when it is sunny, the Philippines are just paradise. This photo was
taken at our overnight stay on Guimaras Island, beautiful clear water,
perfect temperature to stay in for a long long time.
amazing how clear the ocean is in the Philippines.
riding motorbikes is always good fun. I love this little 125ccm bike,
we already travelled more than 7000km together. And even though the
bike is philippine made and of no big brand, it is still decent enough
quality to have not had any issues so far.
beautiful beach in Guimaras Island
island if Guimaras is famous for it's mango plantations. You will find
century old and huge mango trees growing at the roadside. And there is
even a National Mango Research Centre, we just had to take a photo of
of rescuers and officials in preparation for a mass casualty exercise.
My supervisor and agency manager here in Kalibo, Sir Galo, is standing
in the middle right next to me.
the mass casualty exercise - a simulated plane crash resulting in 50
casualties. It was a really professionally performed exercise involving
multiple rescue agencies
posing photo of the four delegates of our office in Kalibo after the
mass casualty exercise in Iloilo City
now and then I have also the opportunity to conduct some work of my old
career as a surveyor. Here we used survey instruments to establish
flood levels for various areas in the town of Madalag. As such we
linked these areas to the flood gauge on the bridge in the background
of this photo. So the people in Madalag know now which number on the
flood gauge corresponds with the flood waters reaching their area.
the Enchanting Balete festival
Queen of Balete