Arrival in Tacloban!

After several weeks touring in Southeast Asia, I arrived in Tacloban in the Philippines at 6 am on Monday, April 21. I flew on Philippines Air, which was a great ride. Some observations were made on the way from Singapore to Manila to Tacloban. Filipinos are very friendly people and love to smile, with an openness that is refreshing. Tacloban is still devastated from the typhoon that hit in November 2013. The airport was the most rudimentary I’ve ever seen.

I was met at the airport by a worker for the Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV), the organization through which I would be directly working. He took me and several other volunteers to our home placements where we met the family we would stay with for the length of our volunteer work in the Tacloban area. The Philippines can be divided into three regions - Luzon is north, Visayans is middle, and Mindanao is south. Our work is centered on the Visayans on the island of Leyte near the city of Tacloban.

There are multiple different projects that VFV oversees. These include a dumpsite project to remove children from working at dumpsites and place them in educational, enriching environments; medical assistance in rural areas and at hospitals; a nutrition project to encourage healthy eating habits amongst children and appropriate weight gain; construction work; and various enrichment activities including music and dance for children.

Being in medicine, my work will center on assistance to a clinic in a rural health unit outside Tacloban in Tabontabon.